A federal appeals court agreed Thursday to reconsider its decision to strike down a California law that requires applicants for a concealed weapons permit to show "good cause" beyond self-defense.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said an expanded 11-judge panel of the court will reconsider the February 2014 decision.
The court ruled 2-1 then that California's requirement that an applicant demonstrate a real danger or other reason beyond simple self-defense to receive a concealed weapons permit violates the Second Amendment and runs afoul of a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
The case stems from a lawsuit filed against the San Diego County sheriff by several people who were denied a permit. C.D. Michel, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the 9th Circuit's decision was anticipated, and he was prepared to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
"En banc" rehearings such as the one the court agreed to on Thursday are rare and often lead to review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
"The Second Amendment protects both a right to keep and a right to bear arms," Michel said in an email.
The state Attorney General's Office and Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence applauded the decision. Both sought to intervene in the case in order to appeal the 9th Circuit's decision.
"The Second Amendment does not force the people of California to adopt the corporate gun lobby's 'guns everywhere' vision," Jonathan Lowy, director of the legal action project at the Brady Center, said in a statement.
The attorney general's office said local law enforcement agencies must have the discretion to determine who can carry concealed and loaded weapons. It urged the court to "restore this critical law enforcement authority to protect public safety."
California prohibits people from carrying handguns in public without a concealed weapons permit. State law requires applicants to show good moral character, have good cause and take a training course. It's generally up to the state's sheriffs and police chiefs to issue the permits, and most require an applicant to demonstrate a real danger or other reasons beyond simple self-defense to receive one.
The 9th Circuit also agreed Thursday to reconsider a similar concealed weapons permit ruling that was based on its decision in the San Diego County case.