Calif. AG: Use ‘Good Moral Character’ Requirement to Skirt SCOTUS Ruling and Deny Concealed Carry Permits

On Friday, the day after the Supreme Court ruled it is unconstitutional for states, like California, to use a “proper cause” standard to deny concealed carry permits, California’s attorney general instructed attorneys and law enforcement to, instead, employ a “good moral character” requirement as justification for denying permits.

In a legal alert to “All California District Attorneys, Police Chiefs, Sheriffs, County Counsels, and City Attorneys,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a legal alert providing “guidance” regarding another means of denying permits, in light of the Supreme Court ruling:

“[B]ecause the Court’s decision in Bruen does not affect the other statutory requirements governing public-carry licenses, issuing authorities must still require proof that (1) ‘the applicant is of good moral character.’”

What’s more, an applicant’s “character and temperament” can be used to determine “moral character” and deny a concealed carry permit, AG Bonta advises:

“[I]n assessing whether an applicant has established ‘good moral character,’ issuing authorities should recognize that Bruen does not eliminate the duty or authority of local officials to protect the communities that they know best by ensuring that licenses are only issued to individuals who—by virtue of their character and temperament—can be trusted to abide by the law and otherwise ensure the safety of themselves and others.”

Bonta advises that “Legal judgments of good moral character can include consideration of” a number of extremely subjective factors, such as:


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