Orange County Sheriff’s officials have seen more concealed weapons permit applications filed with their agency in the last two weeks than they have in the last two years.
More than 1,000 applications to carry concealed weapons have been received, according to information made available under the California Public Records Act.
The sudden interest among residents and business owners comes amid uncertainty as a possible court battle brews. A three-judge appellate court ruling made last month eases restrictions on owning concealed weapons in the state.
But California's Attorney General Kamala D. Harris on Thursday appealed a federal court decision that overturned San Diego County's concealed weapons restrictions.
Harris asked the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a decision made by a three-judge panel of the court on Feb. 13, citing safety concerns.
"Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon," she said in a statement. "I will do everything possible to restore law enforcement's authority to protect public safety."
The panel struck down requirements by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department that applicants for concealed weapons permits must show "good cause," such as working in a dangerous job.
The appellate panel, in a 2-1 ruling, said that requirement violates the constitutional Second Amendment right to bear arms.
The San Francisco-based panel said those requirements were too strict and ran afoul of a 5-4 landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2008 that struck down a Washington, D.C., handgun ban and said law-abiding citizens are allowed to have handguns in their home for self-defense.
State law requires applicants to show good moral character, have good cause and take a training course. It's generally up to the state's sheriffs and police chiefs to issue the permits, and the vast majority requires an applicant to demonstrate a real danger or other reasons beyond simple self-defense to receive a permit.