California Carry Case Could Have National Implications

We’ve already covered the initial filing in California Rifle & Pistol Association v. Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department as well as taken a look at how California Attorney General Rob Bonta might try to defend the state’s ban on non-residents bearing arms once they cross the state line, but on today’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co we’re doing a deeper dive into the litigation with CRPA president Chuck Michel, who’s also the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in this case.


There have already been some developments since the lawsuit was docketed on Monday afternoon, including District Judge Sherilyn Peace Garnett being assigned to the case. Garnett, who was appointed to her position by Joe Biden last year, is relatively new to the federal bench, so she doesn’t really have a track record on 2A issues. Still, Michel says the violations in both state and federal law that are being challenged are so egregious even a judge with a predisposition towards gun control is going to have a difficult time upholding the abuses that are taking place.

California law requires concealed carry applications to be approved or denied within 120 days, for instance (it used to be 90 days, but after Bruen state legislators decided to give issuing authorities a little more time to delay the exercise of that particular right). In Los Angeles County, however, it’s routinely taking more than a year for applications to be approved. Michel says that may be due more to budgetary issues and not an anti-2A attitude on the part of Sheriff Robert Luna, but it doesn’t matter why these lengthy delays are happening. What matters is that the Supreme Court has warned that “lengthy wait times” can still make a “shall-issue” regime unconstitutional, along with “exorbitant fees” like those in place in La Verne, where it will cost you $1,000 or more just to apply for permission to exercise a fundamental right.


California isn’t the only state where applicants are being subjected to exorbitant fees or needless delays, so the outcome in CRPA v. LASD could have national implications as the case moves up the judicial ladder. It’s also not the only state that prevents non-residents from lawfully carrying. Hawaii, for instance, doesn’t recognize permits from other states or have a process for non-residents to obtain a Hawaii carry license. New York doesn’t recognize out-of-state carry licenses either, and while the state does offer a non-resident permit, to obtain one you have to either reside part-time or have your principal place of business there. There are a handful of other states that don’t recognize out-of-state permits like Maryland and Massachusetts, but they at least theoretically allow for non-residents to apply for and receive a carry license.

The next step in CRPA will be the briefings and a hearing on the request for an injunction, which Michel hopes will take place before the end of the year. The CRPA has also filed a challenge to California’s post-Bruen carry restrictions, including the numerous “sensitive places” where lawful carry is off-limits, known as May v. Bonta. The hearing on May‘s request for injunctive relief was supposed to take place this week, but on Tuesday a judge delayed arguments until later this month. With those new “gun-free zones” set to be enforced starting on January 1, time is running short for injunctive relief, but Michel believes we’ll still see a ruling from Judge Cormac J. Carney before the start of the new year.


Be sure to check out the entire conversation with Chuck Michel in the video window below, and stay tuned for more developments in the days ahead.

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