District Court Upholds Discretionary Licensing of Concealed Carrying

The opinion comes in Richards v. County of Yolo (E.D. Cal.), decided yesterday; Josh Blackman has more. The result is unsurprising, given Heller‘s statement that concealed carry bans are valid, because of the longstanding tradition of courts upholding such bans (a tradition that goes back to the 1830s, and that was pretty solidly accepted by American courts by the mid- and late 1800s).

I do think, though, that the court’s reasoning — that the law doesn’t “substantially burden” the right to keep and bear arms because “even if Plaintiffs are denied a concealed weapon license for self-defense purposes from Yolo County, they are still more than free to keep an unloaded weapon nearby their person, load it, and use it for self-defense in circumstances that may occur in a public setting” — is weak. The concealed carry ban does substantially burden the right to keep and bear arms, especially when coupled with the California ban on unlicensed carrying of loaded weapons even if they are unconcealed. See PDF pp. 74-82 of my Implementing the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Self-Defense article. If it’s constitutional, it’s constitutional because of Heller‘s announcement that the scope of the right excludes (for historical reasons) concealed carrying, not because the law is a less than substantial burden on keeping and bearing arms in self-defense.