Handguns
Handguns collected by New York City Police. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta has advised California law enforcement agencies that the “good cause” requirement for issuing a concealed weapons permit is likely unconstitutional and should no longer be used.

The advice came in a legal alert on Friday to “all California district attorneys, police chiefs, sheriffs, county counsels and city attorneys” and follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Thursday overturning New York State’s “proper cause” requirement.

“It is the Attorney General’s view that the court’s decision renders California’s good
cause standard to secure a permit to carry a concealed weapon in most public places
unconstitutional,” wrote Bonta. “Permitting agencies may no longer require a demonstration of good cause.”

However, Bonta said that local officials can continue to enforce all other parts of California gun laws, including taking fingerprints, performing background checks, mandating training and requiring the applicant provide proof of “good moral character.”

Bonta’s advisory emphasized the importance of determining good moral character and said this should be based on “personal characteristics one reasonably expects of candidates for a public-carry license who do not pose a danger to themselves or others.”

Though the good cause requirement is removed, he said “it remains reasonable — and constitutional — to ask applicants why they are interested in carrying their firearms in public.”

The Attorney General’s action was praised Saturday by the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee, a group that advocates for gun rights.

“Since our inception, we have been saying that the proof of good cause requirement is wrong and must go,” said Michael Schwartz, executive director of the group. “Removing arbitrary, subjective hurdles from the path for sane, trained, law-abiding gun owners to carry firearms outside the home for self defense will increase the number of people who can protect themselves from dangerous criminals.”



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Ellen Bullock