Court Tosses Rules
A few weeks ago an Associated Press headline, “Court tosses concealed-weapon rules,” immediately caught my attention.
I know headlines are designed to get our attention, to entice the reader to learn more, but in today’s world of constant social media posts and the continuous barrage of news bites, sometimes we become numb to the sensational headlines. We just don’t read past the bold print.
So, if you saw that headline without reading on, you might think that concealed weapon permits are no longer required, or worse, that it is ok to carry a loaded, concealed weapon without a permit.
That just isn’t the case.
Without a permit, it is still very much against the law to carry a concealed firearm in public, and it is against the law to carry a loaded firearm in public.
The only way to lawfully carry a loaded, concealed firearm in public is to apply for and obtain a concealed-carry weapon (CCW) permit from your local law enforcement agency.
To obtain a CCW permit, California state law requires that the applicant show good moral character, have good cause for needing a permit, and pass an approved training course.
Until this latest court ruling, California county sheriffs and city police chiefs have required a CCW applicant to demonstrate a real danger or equally compelling reason beyond simple self-defense to receive the CCW permit.
What the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently said was that the standard of “good cause” was an infringement of a constitutional right and was invalid. The Ninth Circuit court acknowledged that their ruling was in conflict with other U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal findings, and agreed that CCW permits should be reserved for “responsible, law-abiding citizens.”
Finally, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals required that the entire legal matter be returned back to a lower court for further action, consistent with the legal ruling.
As a result, California county sheriffs and city police chiefs will now re-examine their definitions of “good cause,” and wait while more court hearings, appeals, and determinations are made.
While the courts continue to debate the concealed weapon permit laws and their impacts, I thought it would be appropriate to remind people that owning a firearm creates a set of responsibilities everyone should practice.
Everyone should know that all law enforcement agencies in Mendocino County accept unwanted weapons. It’s much safer to turn in weapons for destruction rather than put them in a box in the closet, at the bottom of a drawer, or under a bed where unauthorized users can find them.
If you do wish to bring your firearm to the Ukiah Police Department or Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office for destruction, it is best if you call us first, or come in without the firearm to advise us of your plans. Bringing a firearm into police or sheriff station without notification can quickly heighten a law enforcement officer’s concern for personal safety.
If you’d prefer to sell your gun, most gun dealers can help you. If you have an unwanted firearm, consider contacting a local gun dealer and arranging a consignment sale. Not only will you be rid of an unwanted weapon, you’ll get some spending money in the transaction.
If you have a gun that you do not want to part with, but need help securing, the UPD has gunlocks available for free. These locks were graciously provided through a grant from ProjectChildSafe.org. We are extremely happy to partner with ProjectChildSafe.org to secure as many firearms as possible.
To receive a lock for your weapon, all you need to do is sign the ProjectChildSafe.org safety pledge. ProjectChildSafe.org is great program sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
ProjectChildSafe.org recommends the following steps to help us be responsible gun owners.
Storing Firearms in a Safe Manner:
As gun owners, it is our absolute responsibility to store guns in a responsible manner. We must ensure that no firearms are accessible to children or other unauthorized persons, such as someone committing a burglary. Hiding a gun in a closet or under a mattress is not responsible storage.
A place you think is a good hiding place is often the first place a burglar or child may look. Please be a responsible gun owner; store your weapons in a safe manner.
- Firearms should be unloaded before they are stored. They should be kept in a locked cabinet, gun safe or vault, or storage case. Be sure to place the locked storage case in a location inaccessible to children.
- Unloaded firearms can also be secured with a gun locking device. But, a gun lock should always be considered an additional safety precaution, and not a substitute for a locked cabinet, closet, safe, or storage container.
- Store ammunition in a locked location separate from firearms.
- Always recheck a firearm when removing it from storage to ensure it is unloaded; always treat a gun as if it were loaded.
- Remember, cost should not be a factor in safely securing firearms. A responsible gun owner is one who has made proper arrangements for storage. If you can’t afford a gun safe, consider purchasing a keyed door lock for a closet, and utilize trigger locks; or partially disassemble your firearm and store the parts in separate, locked containers.
Firearms Kept for Home Security:
The decision to maintain a firearm in the home for self-protection is a serious, personal matter. Unlike passive safety devices such as alarm systems, firearms used for home protection require significantly more involvement by the owner.
Any added safety benefit derived from a firearm depends in large measure on the owner's commitment to obtaining appropriate training and a clear understanding of safe handling and storage practices.
Are your security concerns realistic and consistent with local crime rates? Do other adults in your household support the decision to maintain a gun in the house? If they will have access to the firearm, will they join you in a firearms training and safety programs? How will you safeguard any children in the home? Do risk factors such as drug and alcohol abuse exist in your household?
If you choose to keep a firearm for home security, your objective should be to create a situation in which the firearm is readily available to you, yet inaccessible or inoperative to others. You must exercise full control and supervision over a loaded gun at all times. This means the gun must be in secure storage whenever you are not home.
Remember, your most important responsibility is ensuring that unsupervised children or intruders will not encounter a loaded firearm. The precautions you take must be completely effective. Anything less invites tragedy and is a serious violation of your responsibility as a gun owner.
Nearly all gun accidents in the home can be prevented by making sure that firearms are kept unloaded and locked up – with ammunition in a separate location. If you’d like more information about firearms safety and storage, ProjectChildSafe.org is a good place to start. On the UPD website we have posted this information and links, so you can obtain more information.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have any suggestions or comments about how we can improve, please feel free to call me, complete our online survey, or leave a crime tip on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.