California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 7

LEGAL Court Cites to CPCA Amicus Brief in CCW Case By Martin J. Mayer, General Counsel California Police Chiefs Association In the Fall 2013 edition of the California Police Chief magazine, we discussed the potential impact the California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) has when it submits amicus curiae briefs in the appellate courts, supporting various law enforcement issues. We set forth and discussed several cases where CPCA submitted such briefs. In one particular case, Haskell v. Harris, which dealt with the right to take DNA samples from those arrested for felonies, an en banc (11 justices) Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the legality of the California law and set forth reasoning which mirrored the legal arguments presented by CPCA. The thrust of the article, in the California Police Chief magazine, was that CPCA’s advocacy in litigation will, frequently, have a positive impact on the outcome of court decisions. Obviously, the courts do not always agree with the positions set forth by CPCA, but it is always considered by the courts in reaching their rulings. CCW Decision As many of you already know, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently ruled 2 – 1, in Peruta v. County of San Diego, that California’s law requiring the articulation of “good cause” to secure a permit to carry a concealed weapon (CCW) was an unconstitutional infringe- ment on the 2nd Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms. When San Diego County and the San Diego Sheriff were first sued by Edward Peruta, who had been denied a CCW permit, they asked for amicus curiae support from the California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA), the California State Sheriffs’ Association (CSSA), and the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA). All three associations joined together and the firm of JONES & MAYER, as general counsel to the associations, prepared and submitted a brief supporting the San Diego Sheriff’s decision to not issue the CCW permit. The thrust of the amicus brief was that the requirement by the State of California (it is not a city or county requirement) that an applicant articulate “good cause” for a permit to carry a concealed weapon did not unreasonably infringe on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The argument was, basically, “different strokes for different folks.” The brief argued that what constitutes “good cause” in one part of the state, for example a rural community with limited law enforcement support available, may be very different from what constitutes “good cause” in a densely populated urban community. Furthermore, it is the duty and responsibility of the municipal police chief or the county sheriff to makes those decisions in order to provide for the public’s safety in their respective communities. CPCA did not argue against the issuance of CCW permits, nor has it ever taken that position. CPCA has always advocated for reasonable regulations regarding handgun possession. In fact, it’s position is similar to what the U.S. Supreme Court held in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), and which the Ninth Circuit itself states in the Peruta decision, namely that “regulation of the right to bear arms is not only legitimate but quite appropriate.” The Ninth Circuit went on to say that “(w)e repeat Heller’s admonition that nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions – or carriage – of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or law imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of firearms. Nor should anything in this opinion be taken to cast doubt on the validity of measures designed to make the carrying of firearms for self-defense as safe as possible, both to SPRING 2014 | California Police Chief 7