Video: Charles Nichols Challenges California's Open Carry Ban

On Thursday, February 13, 2014, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California's longstanding restrictions on carrying concealed handguns in public conflict with the Second Amendment, finding that California’s “may issue” standard, which requires that applicants demonstrate "good cause" for needing a concealed carry permit, undermines the Constitutional right to bear arms. Legal analysts expect the government to appeal the decision, which could send the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

This ruling was made possible, in part, by California's 2011 ban on the open carry of unloaded firearms. Without the option to carry either openly or concealed, the court had few options but to find California's gun laws overly restrictive. 

In light of this major gun rights ruling, take a look at Reason TV’s 2012 interview with Charles Nichols, president of California Right to Carry, about his legal challenges to California's gun laws. Originally released on March 19, 2012.  The original text is below.

"It's unconstitutional to ban an entire class of weapons, one that the public find most useful for self-defense," says Charles Nichols, president of California Right To Carry and the man behind the first lawsuit to challenge California's open carry gun ban.

Nichols sat down with Reason.tv's Tim Cavanaugh to discuss his lawsuit, which is actually targeting the original ban from the 1970s that prohibited the carrying of loaded weapons. They discussed his prospects for success, as well as California's extremely strict gun control laws and how they might hold up in a post-DC v. Heller world.

About 6:14 minutes.

Interview by Tim Cavanaugh. Edited by Zach Weissmueller. Shot by Paul Detrick, Anthony Fisher, and Weissmueller.

Update: Nichols, who has his own lawsuit challenging California's open carry ban pending, emailed asking that I clarify his opinion on Thursday's ruling:

The court in the Peruta decision did not rule that ""California's longstanding restrictions on carrying concealed handguns in public conflict with the Second Amendment." The court said in Peruta said:

"To be clear, we are not holding that the Second Amendment requires the states to permit concealed carry. But the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home." Peruta v. San Diego, No. 10-56971 at pg., 61... 

...Indeed, the decision merely revered and remanded the denial of a motion for summary judgment which challenged the current CCW issuance policy of the Sheriff of San Diego County.  All the Sheriff has to do is to write a new highly restrictive policy which might take him all of five minutes and Peruta will have to amend his complaint and the process will start all over again...

...I would like to take the opportunity to point out that if my Open Carry lawsuit wins, and there are many reasons it is likely to win even absent a Second Amendment, then my win moots the Peruta decision as well as any future concealed carry case.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Won't somebody think of the poor policemen, out there in the trenches of the WAR ON COPS?

    When any civilian they see might be armed, it'll be a long and fearful shift.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Won't somebody think of the poor policemen, out there in the trenches of the WAR ON COPS?"

    According to a progressive reading of the Second Amendment, cops don't have the right to carry firearms unless they're in the state militia.

  • Square||

    A lot people I know in CA would prefer that the cops didn't carry firearms, a la Britain.

  • Ken Shultz||

    A lot of cops I've known in LA would quit the force if they couldn't...

    I used to know a sheriff that worked in Watts. Sentencing a cop--or anyone else, really--to walk around in Watts dressed up like a cop, without a gun, would be cruel and unusual punishment.

    Anyway, I was just trying to point out that cops don't have any special rights for being cops--although progressives seem to think being in authority means you get special privileges.

    I was in LA the last time the cops became invisible. All those progressives condemned the police chief for making the police virtually disappear, and they all applauded when LA was effectively put under martial law.

  • Nazdrakke||

    to walk around in Watts dressed up like a cop, without a gun, would be cruel and unusual punishment.

    Which, taken as a class, is one they've certainly earned over the last 20-30 years.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Maybe.

    There are parts of the city, where I won't go. I wouldn't want to be a first responder in Watts. I certainly wouldn't want to be a sheriff in Watts, whose duties include chasing down gangbanger parole violators, people wanted for murder, etc.--in a place like Watts?

    You'd have to pay me an insane amount of money to do that.

  • Square||

    Definitely - in high school one of my best friends' dads was a retired cop from Compton - retired because shot on duty. He and his fellow officers were shot at on and off duty regularly.

    There are parts of SF, Oakland and Richmond that police won't even go to, even to respond to a 911 call. Asking cops to do their job in current conditions without some sort of heavy duty firearm is not reasonable (largely because of drug prohibition, I might add).

    I've always felt that the average CA liberal's impulse to ban guns as a solution to this problem is deeply misguided, but the smarter ones I've known are at least consistent regarding their belief that police shouldn't carry guns, either.

    How they think the guns are going to be taken from the criminals, I don't know.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I've always felt that the average CA liberal's impulse to ban guns as a solution to this problem is deeply misguided, but the smarter ones I've known are at least consistent regarding their belief that police shouldn't carry guns, either."

    Yeah, I don't think these liberals have any conception of what things are like outside of their own little world.

    I used to live on Normandie down near Compton--moved there from the beach! The first New Years I was there, I couldn't believe it, when they whole neighborhood "shot in" the new year. Being in my bedroom sounded like storming the beach at Omaha on D-Day. It sounded like everybody in my neighborhood had completely illegal and completely automatic weapons, and when they all shoot them off, all at the same time?

    When the old lady across the way told me to lay in my bathtub to be safe, I thought she was crazy. And then I started thinking, well, that's what the liberals in West Hollywood want me to do every day. All these gangsters around me are armed to the teeth and think going to jail is a way to achieve status--and they want to begrudge me a pump action shotgun with a pistol grip--why?

    If they kick my door down, and stick their AKs in my face, what am I supposed to do? Go lay down in the bathtub and hope someone calls the police?

    Nobody's gonna call the police.

  • Muzzle of Bees||

    Yep. Bay area news just did a piece on Oakland sideshows where they showed home videos of crowds of people out in the streets, some holding guns and shooting them in the air, and people were throwing bottles at police cruisers and of course there was nothing the cops could do about it so they got the fuck out of there.

  • Nazdrakke||

    And they have to be muskets.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yes, you had to be in a militia, and you only get muskets.

    The problem is that the English usage of the word "regulate" has changed. That's the point where the Progressives I know suddenly pretend to be willfully ignorant (like rednecks do on other topics, sometimes, too, just to get yer goat!) I ask them what the difference is between "regular army" and "irregular army", and what that says about the meaning of the word "regulated", and they always say, "'regulated' means regulated--it's in plain language"!

    Every other Constitutional interpretation they believe in requires footnotes and legal training, but the Second Amendment, somehow, only means what it's supposed to mean if we forget everything we know about it.

  • Square||

    I'll bite. I've also always felt the Second Amendment is fairly clear, except that I've always been somewhat confused by that first clause. The First Amendment, for example, is qualified in no way, but the Second is.

    It sounds like you are aware of a historical meaning for the phrase "well regulated militia" that I am not aware of.

    Not challenging your assertion - legitimately declaring it to be my weakest period of history. Care to share?

  • Ken Shultz||

    The word still means the same thing--it's just that the usage has changed.

    We still use the word "regular" to refer to an Army that, among other things, has been well trained, and we still refer to an untrained army as "irregulars". During the Libyan revolution, for instance, the trained, Libyan regular army was fighting to defend Gaddafi, and they had a huge advantage becasue many of the people fighting against them in the revolutionary army were regular joes who didn't have any training.

    Anyway, "regulated" means to make regular. And a well regulated militia is a militia that already knows how to use its weapons. "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..." means that in order for average people to be able to resist the dictatorship of a standing army, they already have to know how to use their weapons--beforehand.

    The framers were afraid of a couple of things. They didn't want a standing army because they thought that any time there was a standing army, it would be used, eventually, to impose dictatorship. So, if your people are already trained in weapons use, you don't need a standing army to train them. The second thing they were worried about was the people's ability to defend themselves against an American army that tried to impose a dictatorship.

    So, yes, "A well regulated citizen militia is necessary (in their minds) to a free state--and that is why we should all be free to own our own arms.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Here's an example of the framers using "well-regulated" in this way...

    "To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss."

    ---Federalist Paper #29

    Alexander Hamilton

    http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa29.htm

  • Daily Beatings||

    Penn & Teller explain this better than I can:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YY5Rj4cQ50

  • DH||

    Read william rawle and justice thomas story's thoughts on the 2nd. Especially Rawle, since he lived during that period and can tell you exactly what the founders meant.

  • Rich||

    According to a progressive reading of the Second Amendment, cops don't have the right to carry firearms unless they're in the state militia.

    That's great. I'd love to see some adherent try to make a citizen's arrest on a cop.

  • SugarFree||

    How dare you suggest the police have to exercise restraint and critical reasoning skills on the job!

    If they can't open fire as soon as they see anything that sort of looks like a gun, they might not make it home at night to beat their wives and molest their children!

  • ||

    Shut up, NutraSweet. You don't know how hard they have it. Their job is like in the top 50 most dangerous jobs or something. Maybe. I'd have to check. Respect their authoritah!

  • SugarFree||

    I guess you are volunteering for the wife-beating job.

  • ||

    I've got the shirt for it.

  • LibertarianX||

    With or without the ruleing any civilian might be armed. Only now those that are armed are criminals, and the police can expect no help from the law abiding.

  • LarryA||

    Of course the folks carrying guns that police officers actually have to worry about are carrying guns now. Concealed handgun licenses won't make any difference in that.

  • Nazdrakke||

    Have the usual suspects selected the Saturday Morning Abortion and Racism thread yet, or are they slow off the mark today?

  • RishJoMo||

    Wow gotta love those kangaroo courts lol.

    www.RealAnon.tk

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'll bite. I've also always felt the Second Amendment is fairly clear, except that I've always been somewhat confused by that first clause.

    The progressives found it necessary to substantively alter the meaning of that clause, because it explicitly recognizes the citizenry as being active participants in the affairs of government.

    Only official government agents can provide for the common defense. Any dodo knows that.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It provides a way for free Americans to fight against an overly powerful central government--and progressives hate that.

    I listened to a couple spout off about the national anthem during a gold medal ceremony the other day, too. I don't think they like that it ends, effectively, by asking whether the land under our flag is still free and, if not, whether Americans are still brave enough to do what it takes to make it free again.

  • strodestrode733||

    my buddy's step-mother makes $64 hourly on the laptop . She has been fired from work for nine months but last month her paycheck was $14876 just working on the laptop for a few hours. check this link right here now.......
    http://www.Jobs84.com

  • California Right To Carry||

    My original complaint challenged only the ban on openly carrying loaded firearms which was enacted in July of 1967. After the two bans on openly carrying unloaded handguns and unloaded long guns went into effect on Jan 1, 2012 and Jan 1, 2013 respectively, I amended my lawsuit to challenge those as well.

    My lawsuit currently seeks to overturn all three of California's laws banning the Open Carry of firearms, both loaded and unloaded.

    The district court decision on my motion for partial summary judgment is due by the district court by April 8th.

    I regularly post status updates to my lawsuit here - http://blog.californiarighttoc.....age_id=739

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement