Amicus Brief Filed by Law Enforcement Educators & Trainers Association Challenging San Diego CCW Policies

Amicus Brief Filed by International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association in NRA / CRPA Foundation Supported Lawsuit Challenging San Diego County’s Restrictive CCW Policies

California Gun Laws Research

San Diego, CA –-( On Monday, May 23, 2011, the CRPA Foundation and a number of San Diego residents had attorneys from Michel & Associates, PC file their opening brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in their appeal seeking to overturn a U.S. District Court ruling from December 10, 2010 that upheld San Diego Sheriff William Gore’s restrictive and unfair policies in issuing permits to carry concealed firearms.

The case is Peruta v. County of San Diego.

On May 30, 2011, the prestigious International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) and the Independence Institute joined in the Peruta appeal, filing a friend-of-the-court amicus curiae brief in support of neither party. ILEETA’s brief points out the inadequacies of unloaded open carry (“UOC”) as a self-defense strategy. The brief references some compelling videos, specifically made by ILEETA, that show under various situations why UOC is inadequate as a way to defend oneself. (See the videos here). The brief was authored by legal scholar and prolific writer, Professor David Kopel.

Under California law, a permit to carry a concealed firearm (CCW) should be issued if an applicant has “good cause.” The Peruta lawsuit asserts that under the Second Amendment, a desire to have a CCW for self-defense must constitute “good cause.” The lawsuit challenges San Diego’s requirement that an applicant demonstrate some special need or a specific threat in order to get a CCW as an unconstitutional restriction on the fundamental right to carry a firearm ready to be used for self-defense.

The District Court held that people do not need a CCW to “bear arms“-at least not loaded arms-for self-defense purposes. The court found that, “as a practical matter,” California allows you to carry an unloaded handgun openly in a holster (Penal Code Section 12025(f)) and, if attacked, you can simply load it to defend yourself (Cal. Pen. Code section 12031(j)). But as the legal briefs filed on appeal point out, and as the ILEETA videos clearly show, there is nothing “practical” about the court’s finding. In addition to the various legal restrictions on openly carrying an unloaded firearm, which require one to be in “immediate and grave danger” before a gun can be loaded, the time needed to load it makes it useless in a self-defense emergency. In short, unloaded open carry does not allow for effective self-defense, nor is it an effective way to exercise your fundamental right to be ready and able to defend yourself under the Second Amendment. Plaintiffs are asking the Ninth Circuit to overrule the district court’s decision. (See opening appellate brief here).

The ILEETA brief is the latest in a series of amicus briefs that have been filed in the case so far. On May 27, 2011, the National Rifle Association weighed in with an amicus brief authored by former Solicitor General and renowned constitutional litigator Paul Clement. The NRA’s brief reiterates the position NRA took in a previous amicus brief filed with the Ninth Circuit in the Nordyke v. King case, that infringements on the right to bear arms, must be reviewed under a strict scrutiny standard. The brief continues though, arguing that even if the “substantial burden” test, ultimately adopted by the Ninth Circuit in the Nordyke case is the proper test for reviewing Second Amendment infringements, San Diego County’s CCW issuance policy still fails. (See NRA’s amicus brief here).

On May 25, 2011, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) filedan amicus brief, authored by Second Amendment scholar and author of “The Framer’s Second Amendment,” Stephen P. Halbrook. The CORE brief emphasized how the right to “bear arms” does not stop at one’s doorstep, and gave a historical analysis of the Fourteenth Amendment, discussing how discretionary firearms licensing laws were an incident of slavery. (See CORE’s amicus brief here).

More amicus briefs are expected to be filed soon. To be kept up to date on these filings, subscribe to our alerts at

The plaintiffs in the Peruta case include several individuals who were either denied CCWs or do not qualify under the Sheriff’s strict issuance standards, as well as the CRPA Foundation. Copies of the court filings in the lawsuit and appeal can be viewed at

The lawsuit and appeal are being funded by the NRA-CRPA Foundation Legal Action Project (LAP). To fight for the self-defense civil rights of all Californians, the NRA and CRPA Foundation have joined forces. Through LAP, NRA/CRPAF attorneys fight ill-conceived gun control laws and ordinances, educate state and local officials about available programs that are effective in reducing accidents and violence without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and produce valid science about game and wildlife resource management.

To contribute to the NRA/CRPAF Legal Action Project (LAP) and support this and similar efforts and Second Amendment litigation in California, visit and

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