Press Releases

Gun Owners PAC Taking Credit For Mention of San Diego During U.S. Supreme Court Hearing on Concealed Weapons

San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO), a political action committee (PAC) advocating for Second Amendment rights in San Diego County, is taking credit for a mention of San Diego in a recent U.S. Supreme Court hearing on a potentially landmark Second Amendment case involved the civil rights of U.S. citizens to carry concealed weapons.

According to Michael Schwartz, SDCGO executive director, the pro-Second Amendment PAC has played a substantive role in maintaining pressure on the San Diego County Sheriffs Office to continue the practice of issuing concealed weapon permits to law-abiding, trained citizens who qualify under California’s strict requirements for the CCW permit (CCW stands for concealed carry weapon).

Schwartz said for several years, the Sheriff’s Office routinely denied applications from qualified San Diego County residents for a concealed weapon permit. In 2017, the Sheriff’s Office had agreed to about 1,100 CCWs. In contrast, the number today is more than 5,600.

“We are proud and feel strongly that San Diego County Gun Owners deserves some credit for increasing the number of CCWs issued, which has made our community a safer place to live and raise our families,” said Schwartz.

In a Nov. 3 hearing, Supreme Court justices heard arguments over New York’s proper-clause rule, which requires residents to prove a special need for self-protection before obtaining a concealed carry license. It’s believed the Court’s decision will have consequences for gun owners nationwide.

In the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Assoc., Inc. vs. Kevin Bruen, who currently serves as superintendent of New York State Police, attorney Paul Clement, representing the rifle and pistol plaintiffs group, mentioned San Diego as an example of a “shall-issue” jurisdiction. The shall-issue phrase refers to a government agency, including law enforcement, granting CCW permits to qualified applicants.

Clement said San Diego is an example of a shall-issue jurisdiction that has increased the number of CCW permits issued without an increase in gun violence.

Starting on page 36 of a 134-page transcript, Justice Elena Kagan notes that Chicago is “the world’s worst city with respect to gun violence.” Clement responded by saying, “And nobody thinks that about Phoenix, and nobody thinks that about Houston, and nobody thinks that about Dallas, and nobody thinks that about San Diego, which even thought it’s in a restricted state, is a shall-issue jurisdiction.”

Schwartz explained, “Justice Kagan tried to tie Chicago gun violence from illegal guns to legal, shall-issue CCW permits. But, Clement artfully responded that other jurisdictions with a shall-issue CCW policy have not seen an increase in violence and he cites San Diego as an example.”

According to Schwartz, homicides are typically about 10 percent higher in states with restrictive CCW laws. He said crime rates in cities that allow CCW holders are statistically lower than crime rates of non-CCW holders.

“Deaths and injuries from mass shootings fall dramatically after CCW rights policies are expanded,” he said. “Tens of thousands of times per year around the country, armed civilians defend their lives using our most effective tool, a firearm.

“The right to carry a firearm in public for self defense will not result in more violence. On the contrary, the risk of a confrontation is precisely why law-abiding citizens have a right to be armed for self-defense.”

In California, existing state law gives clear requirements for those seeking a CCW, said Schwartz. Applicants are required to pass a criminal background check, complete a state-mandated curriculum on firearms safety and law, pay a fee and state a reason on the “good cause” portion of the permit application. Schwartz said the majority of California sheriffs accept “self-defense” or “personal protection” to fulfill the “good cause” requirement.

“Law-abiding people in San Diego deserve the ability to protect their lives and their dignity outside the home,” said Schwartz. “The Second Amendment is not only about the right to bear arms, but about protection of yourself, your family, and your dignity.”

At the Supreme Court hearing, the justices, citing the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment, sounded ready to strike down the New York law that authorizes state or local officials to deny gun-permits to law-abiding residents. Justice asked questions about the wide degree of discretion New York’s rules give law enforcement in granting the permits. Gun control advocates heard little to cheer about, it was widely reported.

“Think about people who work late at night in Manhattan,” said Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. “It might be somebody who cleans offices. It might be a doorman at an apartment. It might be a nurse or an orderly [or] somebody who washes dishes” who is “scared to death” to head home. “How is it consistent with the core right to self-defense” to deny that person the right to have a gun with them? he asked.

Alito also said, “Does it mean that there is a right to self-defense for celebrities and state judges and retired police officers, but pretty much not for the kind of ordinary people who have a real, felt need to carry a gun to protect themselves?”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh added that people may have a greater need to protect themselves with a gun in densely populated areas. “How many muggings take place in the forest?” Roberts asked.

Kavanaugh said the Second Amendment protects a right to have a gun for self-defense, which suggests the decision to be armed should rest with the gun owner, not a state or local licensing official. “Why isn’t it good enough to say I live in a violent area and I want to be able to defend myself?” Kavanaugh asked.

Roberts and Kavanaugh also questioned whether the state could leave the question of whether people can exercise their Second Amendment rights to the discretion of individual licensing officers, with Kavanaugh saying that “seems inconsistent” with other constitutional rights, and that he doesn’t “see any real evidence” of higher crime in places with less restrictive laws.

According to Schwartz, “A favorable ruling in support of the Second Amendment from the Supreme Court could have a direct effect in California and on many lower court decisions relating to concealed carry restrictions. In many jurisdictions around the country, it is practically impossible for an ordinary, law-abiding citizen to obtain a license to carry a handgun for self-defense.

“The stakes could not be higher. If New York’s law is struck down, the precedent will lead to overturning California’s extreme gun control laws and ease restrictions and regulations on CCWs.”

The case began when Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, who live near Albany, N.Y., applied for a CCW, but were turned down by a county judge because they allegedly did not face any special or unique danger. They were, however, licensed to carry guns for hunting or target shooting. They sued, along with the New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., alleging the restrictions violated their rights under the Second Amendment to bear arms for self-defense.

The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the New York that has been in place since 1913 and says that to carry a concealed handgun in public for self-defense, a personal apply for a license has to demonstrate proper cause, meaning an actual need to carry the weapon.

The Biden administration is backing New York state. California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island all have laws similar to New York. A decision on the case is expected by summer 2022.