Relaxed rules for carrying concealed guns in public may not be challenged by California state officials or advocacy groups, a federal appeals panel decided Wednesday.

The decision was another victory for gun rights advocates, but it was not likely to be the last word. The state has the right to appeal Wednesday’s order and legal analysts expect the state to do so. There is another pending gun case involving the right to carry concealed weapons in California and a ruling in that case could resolve the debate.

In its 2-1 ruling Wednesday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied an attempt by Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, a gun control group and law enforcement associations to intervene in a case that struck down San Diego County’s policy of tightly restricting the carrying of concealed guns. Gun owner Edward Peruta was the lead challenger of the San Diego rules.


Judges Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain and Consuelo M. Callahan — Republican appointees who are considered the most conservative jurists in the 9th Circuit — said Harris and the others waited too long to get involved. The majority also said that its February ruling did not question the constitutionality of a state law, only the way San Diego County chose to regulate guns under California law.

Judge Sidney R.Thomas, a Clinton appointee, dissented. He said the February decision affected the entire state, and California had a right to defend its policies.

“That the opinion primarily addressed state regulation of handguns could hardly be clearer,” he wrote.

David Madden, a spokesman for the 9th Circuit, said California has the right to ask an 11-judge panel to review Wednesday’s decision.

In that case, said UCLA law professor Adam Winkler, an expert on gun law, “There is a long way to go before this is settled.”


Source: Maura Dolan,