Well, damn.

We’d all had hopes that the current Supreme Court of the United States would review and overturn the Peruta decision, in which the Ninth Circuit had upheld the right of California authorities to issue concealed carry permits at will, rather than the growing modern norm of “shall issue.”  I for one was surprised when SCOTUS denied cert.  The brilliant dissent of Justice Clarence Thomas is here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/16-894_p86b.pdf.  A tip of the hat to TN_Man, a regular commenter on this blog, who was the first to post it here.

Dave Workman is an old friend and a keen observer and analyst of 2A issues.  His take on the matter is here: http://libertyparkpress.com/disfavored-right-scotus-denies-california-carry-case/.

Another long-time fighter for gun owners’ civil rights, David Hardy, weighs in here: http://armsandthelaw.com/archives/2017/06/thoughts_on_the_16.php.

There is no more outspoken advocate for 2A rights than David Codrea, who comments here: https://www.ammoland.com/2017/06/scotus-keeps-door-open-on-travel-ban-slams-it-in-faces-of-gun-carriers/#axzz4lCAyagBU.

My own take?  In too many jurisdictions, “may issue” – still the California standard – has become a synonym for “We’ll grant you the permit if you’re white, male, rich and politically connected.”  In Northern California, several elected sheriffs have gone with a de facto Shall Issue policy, and as has happened everywhere else, predictions of blood running in the streets have been proven wrong.

Under “may issue,” there are generally two standards commonly cited for granting the permit.  One is “the applicant carries large amounts of money or other valuables and is at higher risk for armed robbery.”  That’s certainly a good reason, but a tenet of American law is that life is of much greater value than “mere property” including cash.  The reason we are allowed to use deadly force against armed robbers is the accompanying threat to the victim’s life, not the cash in their pocket or bank deposit bag.  We live in a world where people are robbed and murdered for their running shoes, for God’s sake.

The other most commonly cited reason for granting the permit in May Issue states is credible death threats to the applicant.  Waiting for the death threat misses entirely the point of carrying a defensive firearm.  You don’t wait to buy a fire extinguisher for your car until the first wisps of smoke drift up from under the dashboard; it’s too late.  In the same vein, waiting to apply for a permit to carry a gun to protect yourself and your loved one is likely to leave you unarmed and helpless when the danger first strikes.

Shall Issue, now the prevailing norm, should be the universal norm, and there are good reasons why more than a dozen states now have gone a step farther and dispensed with the permit, allowing permitless carry (a/k/a Constitutional Carry) for all law-abiding citizens.

It is sad that SCOTUS turned down this opportunity to rectify this very real public safety concern.


  1. Back when the Earth was still cooling, I was the federal designee in charge and custody of classified documents at my firm. In those days, MN had a “may issue” statute with full discretion vested in the CLEO of the citizen’s community (or county) of residence.

    A carry permit seemed to be a good idea because I didn’t want to die on account of access to classified documents.

    My local PD informed me that they do not grant carry permits unless a specific threat can be demonstrated. I cited my situation. They rebutted, “That’s not adequate. If you have been threatened, you need to bring a notarized statement signed by the person who threatened you. In that case, we will consider issuing a permit.” As God is my witness, that was the criteria offered. I was rendered absolutely speechless by the absurdity. I could only hang up.

    My CEO and I presented this to the City Attorney’s office along with my appointment paperwork and asked that he contact my CLEO. A permit was immediately forthcoming.

    The CLEO in a neighboring community refused to issue carry permits to bail enforcement agents, armored car guards and security guards.

    From 2003 (passage of our shall issue law) until voted out of office in 2010, Ramsey County Sheriff Fletcher had a public position that private citizens should not be allowed to carry guns in public. Of all MN counties reporting, 45% of all denials in the entire state occurred in his county. Of those who could afford the $4k attorney fee to appeal, 42% prevailed. The law provided for reimbursement of court costs and attorney’s fees. In seven years, Sheriff Fletcher pissed away $1.4M losing gun permit appeals.

    We need our country back.

  2. In his dissent, Justice Thomas complained about the lack of movement on 2nd Amendment (2A) issues despite a pressing need for clarification. In recent years, the court has refused to hear case after case after case. Peruta is merely the most recent one on a long list.

    In my opinion, the SCOTUS is ideologically split on the 2A. There are four Leftist Justices who currently dissent from Heller and McDonald. They would overturn both these decisions, in a heartbeat, if they could only squeeze out a 5th vote.

    On the other side, we have four justices, including Justice Gorsuch now, who would uphold and expand the 2A as an individual Right.

    The final Justice straddles the fence. He sided with the 2A for Heller and McDonald. However, he may not be willing to go any further.

    It takes four Justices to vote to hear a case. Clearly, based upon their dissent, Justices Thomas and Gorsuch are willing to “roll the dice” and go for it. However, the other two (2) supporting Justices are unsure of the fence-sitter’s vote and are unwilling to say YES and risk that he will side with the Leftist 2A deniers.

    In a similar vein, the four Leftist Justices could vote to hear such a case but they fear that the fence-sitter will side with the 2A supporters again. They won’t risk any further expansion of 2A rights. In their minds, Heller and McDonald have already done too much damage to the Leftist Ideology which they worship and which they place far, far, far above the US Constitution.

    So, the 2A cases continue to be rejected and they will continue to be rejected until one of two things happens. These would be (1) the fence-sitter declares himself to be firmly in either the pro or anti-2A camps or (2) a new Justice is appointed which shifts the current balance. For example, if one of the Leftist Justices were to leave the court (due to retirement, ill-health, death, etc.) and be replaced by a new Justice, appointed by President Trump and who is in the Pro 2A camp, then the pro 2A Justices would start voting to hear 2A cases since they would now have the votes for a majority decision. The Leftists would be down to just three votes or, at most, four if the fence-sitter were to side with them.

    However, in the short term, it is clear that the SCOTUS is out of the decision-making business with respect to the 2A. 2A Rights is such a polarizing issue that it has frozen the SCOTUS into inaction.

  3. “If THIS court didn’t approve it, things are pretty dismal.”

    I agree, but think how bad things would be with a Hillary appointee. They could start undoing gains made over the last decade.

  4. Bravo Zulu, TN-MAN! The current makeup of the SCOTUS would likely have ruled there is no Constitutional imperative for “shall issue” when it comes to concealed carry. (And probably not bless open carry either).

    Now that JJ Gorsuch has “outed” himself in several cases, gunnies can rest easy with him. Hopefully J Thomas is not going anywhere soon. The best route for the 2A activists is to wait it out until one or two more younger, pro-gun justices are appointed. That could very well happen in this Trump term.

    In the meantime, people in California and other states should work to change their restrictive state laws in the legislatures and courthouses. (In other words, let Californians and NY’ers fight for their own firearms rights).

  5. SCOTUS has proved once again that America has “domestic enemies” buried deep within our government. How sad and shameful what our government has become. I am to old to fight anymore, all I can do is shake my head and wonder. The progressives have slowly and surely defeated our great nation and turned it into this caricature.

  6. My earliest political memories are the 1972 election, with Richard Nixon, George McGovern, Archie Bunker and Alice Cooper all running for President. Of course Watergate in 1973 and ’74 was a big deal, and could not be ignored. It seems that when the Left is in power, they can get things they want done. When the Right is in power, issues move at a snail’s pace, and they accomplish little, compared to the Left. However, during the past 30 years, many state governments have come around to recognize the Second Amendment, and that is encouraging. Fourteen states now have Constitutional Carry! I remember when it was only Vermont.

    I have more comments, but…………not on the Internet.

  7. @ Steven M. Harris,

    I agree. At this point, all that we supporters of the 2A can do is wait and hope that President Trump gets a chance to appoint 1 or 2 more justices who also support the 2A.

    There is a fair chance of this happening. There are three (3) elderly justices, on the SCOTUS, that are in their late 70’s or in their 80’s in terms of age. One would expect that their careers must be approaching the natural end that comes to us all.

    Furthermore, of these elderly justices, two fall in the Leftist, anti-2A camp while the third is the “fence-sitter” mentioned in my previous post. If President Trump was to replace ANY of these justices with a new justice that was firmly in the Pro-2A camp, it would be a huge gain for those who want to see the 2A recognized as a full Right rather than as the debased, devalued Right put forward by the Leftists.

  8. California and firearms. Over 15 years now since I was exploring in the Golden State. The first patrol officer I encountered put me instantly under an informal interview: “Was machen Sie hier, boeser Auslaender?” was sort of how I heard it. I just told him that as I understood the law, firearms carry and shooting were permitted within the boundaries of Bureau of Land Management-administered public lands, and that I intended to bear arms there. The officer lamented and grumbled, but did not contradict my statement. I carried a shotgun around quite a bit after that without being detained by anybody. California nonresident hunting license is $164.16, resident 47.01, tags and state land passes extra. Not much use in L.A. or Oakland, for example, but let’s know at least what we can do, now.

  9. Off-topic:

    We will never know whether Philando Castile did something stupid because he was stoned, poorly trained, just stupid, or had a momentary lapse of judgment. Whatever the cause, the actions he took were enough to alarm a LEO into shooting and killing him. (And nothing I’m about to say here is intended to either justify or condemn what the LEO did in response to Castile’s action. That’s a different subject for another discussion.) For those unaware of what happened check out the Wikipedia article:


    The fact is that the risk of a legally-armed citizen being shot by a LEO in a traffic stop or other LE encounter is high enough that many concealed carry classes spend some time teaching what to do and just plain common sense suggests that an advanced degree of caution is needed on the citizen’s part in those situations.

    But as I’ve pointed out in the past,


    LEO reaction often doesn’t take into account various kinds of lack of impaired responsibility on the part of the citizens they encounter and innocent people end up dead from those encounters. It would seem that the same is true for citizens engaging in legal carry.

    So, my question is this: Would you advise impaired people not to carry? Citizens who don’t speak English well? People who cannot reply or reply quickly enough or conform their physical reactions to what a LEO might order? How about citizens who are intellectually impaired or who have a history of mental illness, but not one which makes them a danger to themselves or others? People who are legitimately on full-time prescription medications which cause them to have less than perfect judgment?

    Elderly people who simply don’t think or react as well or as quickly as they did when they were younger? (Can’t you envision a pistol-packing granny doing exactly what Philando Castile did?)

    If you’re carrying and go out to dinner not planning to drink, but change your mind about having a drink at the last minute should you go lock your gun up in your car before imbibing just on the outside chance that some incident might bring LEO’s to the restaurant and you might not act with wholly unimpaired judgment?

    If you believe in a constitutional right to self defense with a firearm, shouldn’t all those people also have a constitutional right to carry to protect themselves without having a greater risk of being shot by a LEO because they don’t react as quickly or exactly in the fashion as they may have been ordered to do? Indeed, because of their vulnerability it could be argued that they have a greater need for armed self defense than an unipaired person.

  10. Dave, a drink with dinner doesn’t worry me. A mentally ill person or advanced Alzheimer’s patient with a gun does. Language barrier? It’s stupid to pull out a gun in front of a cop during a traffic stop in any language. As to Philando Castile, stay tuned for my next blog entry.

  11. @ Roger Willco:

    In your post (above) you point out how the Leftist always seem to accomplish more, when they are in power, compared to those on the Right.

    A big factor in this is the mainstream media (MSM). About 90% of the MSM is unabashedly Leftist. When the Left is in power, they go into propaganda mode. They act as cheerleaders for anything the Left proposes. They also act to provide cover for any missteps or outright crimes committed by the Leftists.

    When those in the Right are in power, the MSM switches to opposition mode. They fall in-line with the Leftist politicians to oppose any step the Right takes. They will magnify any missteps or crimes committed by any Non-Leftist. They are also not above engaging in innuendo and character assignation against the more effective members of the Right.

    Health care is a case in point. When it was President Obama (The Messiah to those on the Left) who was pushing Obama-care, the MSM could not say enough positive stuff about it! Opponents to Obama-care were vilified. When the Democrats rammed it through, there was no talk in the MSM that this was an “abuse of power” or that it went against being “bipartisan”. No Sir! All they did was cheer.

    Now, after several years, we see that Obama-care is a mess. President Trump and the Republicans would like to do something about it. However, ANYTHING that they suggest or float as an idea for improvement is FLAMED INSTANTLY by the Democrats AND the MSM.

    In a fair world, both sides would get an equal shot at implementing their ideas whenever THE PEOPLE elect them and hand them power. But, in America today, things do not balance out because the Leftist MSM has their thumb on the scale!

  12. Correction – I wanted to say “Character Assassination” in my previous post. Durn spell check! 🙂

  13. Re Philando Castile: I jumped the gun by posting off-topic here just before Mas chose to write on the topic. I’ve reposted my comments and Mas’ response Mas’ comments on this and if anyone cares to comment on either I’d appreciate it if they would do it there, rather than here.

  14. TN_MAN,

    Agreed. Thanks for pointing out the bias and cheerleading of the Left. It’s time journalists stop declaring themselves to be objective reporters, and simply say what their worldview is. I can be a bit objective when I am ignorant of a topic, but once I understand what is going on, I begin to take sides.

    If I’m not mistaken, the newspapers in the United Kingdom are known for being on the Left or on the Right, and they don’t hide that fact. Sounds like they are a lot more honest than the American newspapers.

    The Left wants to bring us to a state of utopia, or at least a state of utopia for our leaders. We can see how their ideas work in the real world when we look at Detroit and Venezuela.

  15. “It takes four Justices to vote to hear a case. Clearly, based upon their dissent, Justices Thomas and Gorsuch are willing to “roll the dice” and go for it. However, the other two (2) supporting Justices are unsure of the fence-sitter’s vote and are unwilling to say YES and risk that he will side with the Leftist 2A deniers”.

    So in retrospect…unpleasant as it was to me to hear that they weren’t going to hear the case maybe just as well. No telling how it might have gone; let’s wait until Kennedy retires during Trump’s term (hopefully before 2018) and he has a chance to replace him. We might even get lucky and Ginsberg joins him in retirement.

  16. @ Tim,

    It is possible that Justice Kennedy might decide to retire during President Trump’s term. However, there is no way that Justice Ginsberg would volunteer to do so. She is way, way, way into the Leftist ideology and she hates President Trump just as passionately as all the other Leftists do.

    No, only death or extreme ill-health would remove her from the bench during President Trump’s time-in-office. Of course, she is in her mid-80’s so such an outcome cannot be ruled out.

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