Have you been charged with a weapons offense? Are you having problems associated with your CCW (carry concealed weapon) permit?
Weapons charges of any sort are serious. A criminal conviction can impact an individual's ability to get a job, to get promoted, and to obtain certain professional licenses.
Without a CCW – a concealed carry permit, it is illegal to carry a gun in public. Orange County Sheriff’s Department is one of the few departments who had relaxed the standards for issuing concealed weapons permits following the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in February 2014. In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in the case Peruta v. San Diego County that San Diego County violated the Constitution's Second Amendment by requiring residents to show "good cause" to obtain a concealed-weapons permit. "The right to bear arms includes the right to carry an operable firearm outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense," the court said in the majority opinion.
Thousands of people requested appointments to apply for permits in Orange County since the initial Peruta decision, and the OCSD was initially inundated with applications. Applicants must undergo an interview, background check, training and sometimes psychological examination prior to being issued a permit. Processing times have greatly improved. The Peruta case is currently being appealed so a final decision remains pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The final outcome and impact on newly acquired licensees is unknown.
***UPDATE 3/26/15*** Procrastination is opportunity's assassin.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to rehear the Peruta case "en banc". This means that the court considers the issue exceptionally important or wants to maintain uniformity of decisions within the circuit and the case will be heard by at least 11 judges rather than the usual panel of 3. The prior decision no longer has precedential value. The court order for rehearing can be found here.
How long will it take for the Ninth Circuit to rehear the case?
The court has scheduled to rehear the case the week of June 15, 2015. A decision typically is issued three to twelve months thereafter.
What does this mean for the issuance of permits by the Orange County Sheriff's Department?
The OCSD had previously maintained that if the Peruta case was reheard en banc, it might change its relaxed policy on issuing CCW permits back to the previous "good cause" standards which requires more than just a desire for self defense. Indeed, after notice of rehearing on Peruta, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens changed the policy on all permits approved after Thursday, March 26, 2015.
If I already have a CCW, will I be able to keep my permit?
Yes, all current licenses are lawful and will not be recalled. However, when it is time for renewal, if the court has not yet issued its decision, licensees will likely be required to provide supplemental information and documentation supporting "good cause" according to previous pre-Peruta standards to maintain their permit.
What is the current standard for "good cause" in Orange County pending rehearing?
The OCSD "good cause" standard is articulated in Policy 218.
"1. Criteria that may establish good cause include the following:
- Specific evidence that there has been or is likely to be an attempt on the part of a second party to do great bodily harm to the applicant.
- The nature of the business or occupation of the applicant is such that it is subject to high personal risk and / or criminal attack, far greater risk than the general population.
- A task of the business or occupation of the applicant requires frequent transportation of large sums of money or other valuables and alternative protective measures or security cannot be employed.
- When a business or occupation is of a high-risk nature and requires the applicant's presence in a dangerous environment.
- The occupation or business of the applicant is such that no means of protection, security or risk avoidance can mitigate the risk other than the carrying of a concealed weapon.
- Personal protection is warranted to mitigate a threat to the applicant that the applicant is able to substantiate.
- Good cause could include, but not be limited to, documented instances of threats to the personal safety of the applicant, his / her family or employees. Threats to personal safety may be verbal or demonstrated through actual harm committed in the place of work, neighborhood or regular routes of travel for business. The applicant should articulate the threat as it applies personally to the applicant, his / her family or employees.
- The finding of good cause should recognize that individuals may also face threats to their safety by virtue of their profession, business or status and by virtue of their ability to readily access materials that if forcibly taken would be a danger to society. Threats should be articulated by the applicant by virtue of his / her unique circumstances.
- Note: These examples are not intended to be all-inclusive they are provided merely for your reference. Also, state and local laws do not prohibit an adult from having a concealed firearm in their home or place of business."
Here is the statement posted on the OCSD website shortly after the notice of rehearing:
"The Peruta v. County of San Diego panel decision has been withdrawn by a decision to rehear the case en banc in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. New applicants, and those applicants currently in process, will be required to articulate their safety concerns and provide supporting documentation in accordance with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s (OCSD) Policy 218. Each application will be evaluated individually based on the merits of the applicant’s good cause statement and the totality of their circumstances. CCW Licenses issued under the previous
Peruta standard of good cause are lawful and will not be recalled. Current licensees may be required to provide supplemental information and documentation in support of their good cause statement when they attempt to renew their CCW license. All renewal applications are subject to the legal standards at the time of renewal. Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend their scheduled appointments and submit their CCW applications for consideration. Applications approved after Thursday, March 26, 2015, are subject to the good cause requirement in OCSD Policy 218."
There are numerous laws with respect to the use of firearms. Some of the laws concern weapons offenses which themselves are a crime (such as possession crimes), others laws are “enhancements” or laws that increase the penalties of other crimes if a firearm is involved.
If you have been charged with a weapons or firearms offense, whether you have a CCW or not, you should consult an experienced Orange County theft defense attorney. A defense attorney can help make sure that the charge has as little impact on your livelihood and your future as possible. At the Law Offices of Vincent J. LaBarbera, Jr., we have almost 40 years of experience defending people charged with weapons offenses and similar crimes. We understand the justice system and all of your options. We will give your case individual attention and work as an aggressive advocate on your behalf. For a confidential evaluation of your case, call us today at (949) 662-1791.