Sheriff Bill Gore is again defending the policy, now backed by a federal appeals court, that limited who could carry a concealed weapon publicly in San Diego County.

Sheriff Bill Gore. Photo via guns.com

People do not have a constitutional right to carry concealed weapons in public, the 9th Circuit court ruled Thursday in a case brought by a part-time San Diegan and other gun owners.

An 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals took up the case after state Attorney General Kamala Harris appealed a ruling by a smaller 9th Circuit panel that struck down a policy by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

The department had required applicants to show “good cause” why they needed a concealed weapons permit.

Harris issued a statement on Thursday’s 9th Circuit decision:

“The devastating impact gun violence has on our communities underscores the need for common sense gun safety laws,” Harris said. “The court’s decision is a victory for public safety and sensible gun safety laws. The ruling ensures that local law enforcement leaders have the tools they need to protect public safety by determining who can carry loaded, concealed weapons in our communities.”

Concealed weapon. Photo via truthrevolt.org

In its ruling, the 11-judge appeals panel said California counties may require people seeking permits for concealed guns to state specific reasons why they need the weapons.

“We hold that the Second Amendment does not preserve or protect a right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public,” according to the opinion.

The case stems from a 2009 lawsuit filed by Edward Peruta and other gun owners who were denied concealed-carry permits.

In a statement, the Sheriff’s Department said Gore “has consistently stated that it is the function of the Legislature to make the laws, the courts to interpret the laws, and law enforcement’s role to enforce the laws, regardless of their personal beliefs or biases. Throughout this legal process, Sheriff Gore has been committed to allowing the process to conclude so that clear guidance would be provided.”

The statement said the procedure of obtaining a license to carry a concealed weapon in San Diego County will continue as it has since the 1980s.

“As always, anyone who believes that they may have circumstances which place them in harm’s way, and necessitate the ability to carry a concealed firearm, can apply for a license with the sheriff’s Licensing Division. Good cause is evaluated on an individual basis.”

Instructions for applying for a concealed carry license can be found here.

Early reaction to ruling that could affect laws in nine states:

— City News Service contributed to this report.

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