California Attorney General Kamala Harris is right: It should be up to local law enforcement officials to decide who should receive a permit to carry a concealed firearm in their communities.
So she gets our applause for deciding to challenge last month's ruling by a three-member panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down the state law requiring "good cause" to obtain a concealed-weapon permit. On Thursday she asked all 11 members of the court to review the ruling.
Without that requirement and the discretion of local sheriffs, anyone wanting a concealed-weapon permit would only have to say it was for unspecificied self defense. It is a chilling prospect. That ruling was a crack in the wall of the state's gun control laws that, if not stopped, the National Rifle Association would surely chip away into a hole large enough to drive a tank through.
Although California's various law enforcement officials have their own ideas of what constitutes "good cause" - Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones' rather liberal concealed carry permitting process comes to mind - they are still the best folks to determine who should be allowed to walk around secretly strapped and loaded.
Indeed, this ruling came about because San Diego's County Sheriff Bill Gore has the absolutely reasonable rule that applicants for a concealed weapon permit in his county have a good reason, like an imminent threat or a dangerous job, to get a permit. He was sued by gun-rights supporters in San Diego clearly looking for a precedent-setting case. We shouldn't let them have one.
This is not Texas. Californians have the reasonable expectation that people are not walking the streets carrying guns hidden in their pants. Harris should fight the creeping gun culture all the way to the state line.