Victory in the Courts: Yolo County CCW Law Overturned

Yolo County concealed weapons law overturned
Article from the Sacramento Bee

By Denny Walsh and Sam Stanton

Last modified: 2014-03-06T15:35:14Z
Published: Wednesday, Mar.  5, 2014 – 11:25 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, Mar.  6, 2014 –  7:35 am

In the latest victory for firearms advocates, a federal appeals court has tossed out Yolo County’s policy requiring citizens to prove they face a threat of violence or robbery before they can get a concealed weapon permit.

In an unpublished memorandum issued Wednesday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a three-judge panel found Yolo County’s “policy impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.”

The memorandum reversed a 2011 decision by a Sacramento federal judge who upheld the policy. His action, however, came nearly three years before a circuit opinion last month laying down definitive Second Amendment law in the nine Western states.

Wednesday’s appellate ruling rests on that much broader February opinion in a similar lawsuit challenging San Diego County’s policy, which essentially found that county’s sheriff and other officials throughout the sprawling circuit cannot demand proof that a citizen has “good cause” before a concealed weapon permit can be obtained.

Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain authored the opinion on San Diego’s policy and was joined by Judge Consuelo M. Callahan. Judge Sidney R. Thomas dissented, stating the county’s “good cause” policy fell squarely within the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of a regulatory measure that must be presumed to be lawful.

The same panel issued Wednesday’s ruling on Yolo County’s policy. This time Thomas, in a qualified concurrence, said he agrees with the majority, but only if the San Diego County case survives further scrutiny by an enlarged 9th Circuit panel and/or the Supreme Court.

Yolo County’s policy required applicants to show they faced “credible threats of violence” or that they carried large amounts of cash and needed enhanced protection – requirements that were once common in many counties.

The latest ruling affects only Yolo County directly and, in essence, served notice to Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto that his policy was unconstitutional under the Feb. 13 opinion in the San Diego County case.

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