After the recent SCOTUS decision regarding concealed carry, can any state, in particular CA, deny a concealed weapon carry permit to its residents, who are not disqualified from gun ownership in any way?

3 Answers 3


There isn't one simple answer. The case prohibited a showing of a "special need" for a concealed weapon to allow one to have a permit. Many California concealed carry laws have similar requirements.

But, California doesn't have just one concealed carry law. There is a default rule that applies in small, rural counties, but most larger cities and counties in California have their own specific concealed carry laws and the precise grounds for denying a concealed carry permit would matter.

In all likelihood, many provisions of existing California concealed carry laws would remain grounds to deny permission to concealed carry (e.g. age, history of drug abuse, criminal record, restraining orders in place, etc.), while others provisions would no longer constitute valid grounds for a denial.

This particular decision is about denying permits based upon lack of a particularized need for one different from other members of the general public, rather than about any possible reason that the permit applicant could be deemed untrustworthy to have a permit. The decision discusses the idea that it is problematic to have unfettered discretion in issuing permits, but doesn't really base its ultimate conclusion on that ground. So, something like a general residual "good character" requirement, while vague, wouldn't be squarely within the scope of the most recent decision.

The case also doesn't itself prohibit (nor does the case law) some reasonable fee for issuance of a concealed carry permit.

Thus, the new case does not require uniform law with "constitutional carry" for everyone permitted by federal law to own a gun. But, it does prohibit limitations related to a requirement to show a need to have a concealed carry permit.


As it stands, this has no effect on California, which was not a party to the New York lawsuit. The ruling, in its wording, is addressed to "respondent" (New York). However, the reasoning could easily apply in the case of California, where a "good cause" requirement is a requirement for a license. In an earlier ruling, a 3-judge panel of the 9th Circuit court found the law unconsitutional (Peruta v. San Diego County, 2014) but in 2016, the full court upheld the law. The reasoning in the most recent NY ruling could easily translate into an overturning of the California "good cause" requirement.


The problem with California is that it's a big state with a surprisingly wide amount of political difference in the state's interior. While it has a reputation as a "blue state" that's a relatively recent trend. Between 1952 and 1992, California went for the Republican candidate in all but one Presidential Election (1964). It helped that the ticket for almost every winning Republican in this period included a California Candidate (Nixon, a former CA Rep and Senator, and Reagan, a former CA Governor) or a California adjacent ticket (Eisenhower selected Nixon as his Vice President, Ford was Nixon's Vice President (California REALLY REALLY loved Nixon), and George H.W. Bush was Reagan's Vice President).

California boasts 4 out the top 20 largest cities in the United States (Los Angelos, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco), second only to Texas (5 out of the 20) and these for major population centers tend to have voting force that overpowers the more conservative rural interior parts of California these days.

Now this all does have a point: because Califorina's permit issuing is done at local level, not state level and must be done by applying to a local level police agency. There are 58 counties in California, and a little under half of them do vote more conservative... and several more are swing counties and aren't as reliable. But none of the red ones are coastal counties. In these counties farming is a big industry and there is both agriculture and ranching... both of which draw the attention of predatory animals such as numerous big cats, coyotes, and bears, which are drawn to human farming for all the meat. Not to mention the issue of guns tends to draw flatly on the Urban/Rural divide as the former have closer proximity to emergency services and other people while the later do not... and many who live in these areas enjoy the fact that other people do not live near them. So California's various permit issuing authorities might have different standards for issuing permits along this divide.

Likely the change will force the hand of California's coastal counties, which are typically strong holds for stricter gun rights.

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