Can the Government Limit Your Right to Bear Arms to Your Home?

February 17, 2014

By Keffer Hirschauer LLP

No. According to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which held on February 13, 2014, that to do so is a violation of the Constitution and would render the Second Amendment a nullity. See Peruta et al. v. County of San Diego et al., ____ F.3d ___ (9 th Cir. February 13, 2014, Cause No. 10-56971). In a seventy-seven page decision by the majority along with a forty-eight page dissenting opinion, the Court addressed a San Diego policy for concealed carry permits, which stated that concern for one’s personal safety alone is not considered good cause for receiving a permit. The policy effectively precluded or dissuaded numerous individuals from either qualifying for, or applying for, a license to carry a concealed weapon. The court addressed the issue of whether the right to self-defense outside of the home is a part of the core right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.

The majority explained that it is “well aware that, in the judgment of many governments, the safest sort of firearm-carrying regime is one which restricts the privilege to law enforcement with narrow exceptions.” However, the constitution and the protections it affords necessarily take certain policy decisions off the table. The majority found that the right to have a firearm for self-defense exists beyond the home and that San Diego’s “good cause” requirement was unconstitutional.

While the Supreme Court will likely, and ultimately, settle this debate, at least one panel of the Ninth has made it definitively clear that the right to bear arms extends beyond the walls and doors of a person’s home. If you have questions or concerns about this issue or other firearms or handgun-related legal issues, contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at (317) 857-0160.