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Second Amendment Lawsuit in L.A. County Wants New Gun Permit Policies

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

A group of Second Amendment advocates, galvanized by the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Bruen ruling last year, accused the Los Angeles County sheriff of taking too long to process applications for permits to carry a concealed weapon in public, Courthouse News reports. The California Rifle & Pistol Association and the Second Amendment Foundation, among other groups and individuals, filed a complaint Monday in federal court against the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, the La Verne Police Department, and California Attorney General Rob Bonta, challenging the constitutionality of their permit issuance policies. In the 6-3 ruling overturning a New York law that required so-called proper cause to get a permit to carry a concealed gun, the Supreme Court had said that “because any permitting scheme can be put toward abusive ends, we do not rule out constitutional challenges to shall-issue regimes where, for example, lengthy wait times in processing license applications or exorbitant fees deny ordinary citizens their right to public carry.”

According to the plaintiffs, this is what is happening in L.A. County, claiming it can take more than a year to process an application, are charged "grossly excessive fees," face highly subjective suitability criteria, and authorities refusing to honor out-of-state permits. Because the L.A. County Sheriff's Department doesn't handle permit applications for residents who live in non-contract cities, like the City of L.A., Beverly Hills, and La Verne, areas where the Sheriff's Department doesn't provide policing, applicants need to go through these cities' local law enforcement to get a permit. “It is apparent that the defendants unilaterally decided that Bruen did not apply to them and have continued to foster policies that make the process to obtain a permit as arduous as possible,” Adam Kraut, executive director of the Second Amendment Foundation, said. “The fees to process permit applications, delays in processing, and other requirements are grossly excessive and cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny.” The plaintiffs in the L.A. County case seek court rulings that the permitting policies violate their Second and 14th Amendment rights and nominal damages.


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