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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Yolo County overturns concealed weapons law

On March 5, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a memorandum to reverse a 2011 ruling by a Sacramento federal judge that weapon holders needed to show they face “credible threats of violence or carry large amounts of cash and need enhanced protection.”

A three-judge panel voted 2-1 to overturn this policy, saying that it “impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.”

Before this policy was deemed unconstitutional in Yolo County itself, it was put under scrutiny in a San Diego County case earlier in February.

The judge who voted not to overturn the policy, Judge Sidney Thomas, stated that Yolo 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.

Several factions of government, including Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto and California Attorney General Kamala Harris, are considering attempts to appeal the recent appellate decision.

Firearm policies are variable depending on county, based on local legislation. This idea of local control allows the policies to associate by necessity to the immediate members of the community.

“Local sheriffs have the authority to decide the requirements for carrying a permit. In some counties, those desiring a permit need to pass a background check, demonstrate special needs that include job necessity or threatening circumstances; some counties allow anyone to have a firearm that wants one,” said Cody Jacobs, staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Currently, according to the Concealed Weapons Law Policy of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, weapon carriers must be at least 21 years old, a resident of Yolo County, fill out the appropriate application, be free of any legal, medical and character deficiencies, own the firearm and also have proof for all of the aforementioned requirements.

Several members of the public and firearm-related organizations have strong opinions related to this legislation.

This appellation on the grounds that the “good cause” policy is “unconstitutional” has been a victory for firearm advocates and gun enthusiasts; it has influenced members of other regions to support a more relaxed firearm policy.

“For my daughter’s 16th birthday, she wanted a handgun. Kids these days need to be able to learn to protect themselves,” said Paul Gladstone, firearm advocate, tabling for relaxed firearm legislation in Contra Costa County outside of Trader Joe’s.

Others take a medial stance on the subject, supporting conditional ownership and adherence to the Second Amendment. The Yolo County Concealed Weapons Law does suggest the permit holder take a training course prior to firearm ownership.

“Growing up in Oregon, everyone has a gun. When boys are 11 years old, we sign up for a hunter safety course. After you pass, you get a .22 rifle,” said Osky Smedson, firearm owner and California resident. “I would be scared to hunt in California because I don’t want to get shot by a stray bullet. You shouldn’t own a gun unless you know how to use it.”

The blame for firearm danger has been shifted to the gun owners themselves.

“Guns aren’t the problem; the problem is people misusing the guns. People should be allowed to own guns for personal protection. There should be a test for sanity and self restraint,” said Dan Tompkins, international public health advocate and vice president of the Global Public Health Brigades.

There is still concern regarding dissolving of the stricter regulations in Yolo County.

“Our organization’s position supports allowing local authorities to have discretion; unelected judges should not be allowed to dictate the laws,” Jacobs said.

Gun safety is questioned on several grounds, including human incompetence, psychological and situational skewing and mechanical error.

According to the California Department of Health Services, Yolo County has averaged 7.9 deaths out of 100,000 residents over the last three years resulting from firearm accidents.

Legislation regarding gun usage in Yolo County has been much debated, but is awaiting possible appeals for appellate reversal.

SHANNON SMITH can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

2 COMMENTS

  1. “Our organization’s position supports allowing local authorities to have discretion; unelected judges should not be allowed to dictate the laws,” Jacobs said.

    Newsflash, Cody: It is the job of “unelected judges” to insure that the authorities and the law remain in comportment with constitutional protections of fundamental rights. Once an applicant has passed an NICS background check, there IS no discretion. The Second Amendment doesn’t read “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep arms and bear them if the issuing authority decides that there is a compelling need, shall not be infringed.”

    That’s what you’d LIKE it to read, but that is not WHAT it reads.

    Keep your eye on Drake v. Jermejian (NJ). Once the SCOTUS strikes New Jersey’s law down, yours is FINISHED.

    And there’s NOTHING you can do about it.

  2. Shannon, you have your facts mixed up in this article. The ruling was not overturned by Yolo County as the title states, it was over ruled by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on a 3-0 ruling. The 2-1 ruling you reference was Peruta v. Gore in San Diego County. The ruling in Yolo County, Richards v. Prieto, was over ruled 3-0 and heard by the same three judge panel as Peruta v. Gore.

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