Just when residents of San Diego thought they finally had won back the right to bear arms in the county, state politicians used dirty tactics to try to block it.
Late Thursday, California State Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a petition on behalf of the state to ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review and reverse its decision in Peruta v. County of San Diego. That ruling two weeks ago said the county’s restrictive concealed carry permit laws that required “good cause” were unconstitutional.
This comes just one week after San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore said he would not seek en banc review and would start issuing permits based on self-defense once the appeals court decision was finalized.
Ms. Harris wrote in the filing that the state should be allowed to intervene in the case because “this case draws into question the constitutionality of the State’s statutory scheme regulating the public carrying of firearms.” She added that the “existing parties will not adequately represent the State’s interests.”
Chuck Michel is the west coast counsel for the National Rifle Association, which funded the lawsuit. He said Ms. Harris’ motion to intervene was far out of line because her office wasn’t part of the lawsuit, despite repeated requests from both plaintiffs and Sheriff Gore to get involved.
“They are trying to improperly influence the court,” Mr. Michel said in an interview. “The are stretching the rules to file in order to get their arguments in front of the court in the hopes that a liberal judge will get the message and ask for a vote himself.”
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Since Sheriff Gore did not ask for review, the only way for a hearing by a larger panel of justices in the 9th Circuit is if one asks to go en banc.
Other gun grabbers have joined with the attorney general in this backdoor appeal. The Brady Campaign asked for consent to intervene on Thursday. A police association that was an amicus to the court, but not a party to the lawsuit, also filed an en banc review.
“Obviously, what this tells us is the folks that advocate civilian disarmament are upset about the opinion and want to throw everything they can at it to bottle up the 9th Circuit or get it overturned,” said Mr. Michel, whose firm, Michel and Associates, represented the plaintiffs in the Peruta case up to the appeals court level.
The Circuit Court judges have until March 7 to ask for a vote on rehearing the case.
California politicians are notoriously anti-gun and have had a long run on infringing on the rights of citizens on the west coast, so it should be no surprise that Ms. Harris would use deceitful tactics to try to keep hold of gun control laws that seem to be slipping from her grip.
But the justices ought not to play petty political games and let stand the ruling that gives the people of San Diego the ability to defend themselves outside the home.
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Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times and author of “Emily Gets Her Gun” (Regnery, 2013).