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Name: In re D.L. (2023) 93 Cal.App.5th 144
Case #: A164432
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 07/03/2023
Subsequent History: Opn. modified 7/31/2023
Summary

California’s post-Bruen firearm licensing framework is constitutional because the pre-Bruen “good cause” requirement for issuance of a license to carry a concealed firearm is severable. The juvenile court found true, among other counts, that D.L. had unlawfully possessed a loaded firearm within the meaning of Penal Code section 25850. On appeal, D.L. argued that the statute was unconstitutional on its face because “severability cannot be applied retroactively to cure the harm from pre-Bruen convictions based on unlicensed possession.” Held: Affirmed. Prior to New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen (2022) __ U.S. __ [142 S.Ct. 2111], California law permitted the issuance of a concealed carry permit after finding: (1) the applicant is of good moral character; (2) good cause existed for issuance of the license; (3) the applicant is either a resident of or maintains their principal place of employment in the county; and (4) the applicant has completed the requisite training course. Post-Bruen, California eliminated the “good cause” requirement found to have been unconstitutional. After holding that a severability analysis could be applied retroactively because it would not result in uncertainty to California’s firearm licensing framework, the Court of Appeal concluded that the “good cause” requirement was severable and that the remainder of California’s firearm licensing framework was valid. In determining whether an unconstitutional provision may be severed to save a statute, reviewing courts must consider whether the provision is grammatically, functionally, and volitionally separable. The Court of Appeal held that the “good cause” requirement was grammatically separable because it was contained in a discrete subdivision, functionally separable because the remaining provisions were complete in and of themselves, and volitionally separable because the remaining requirements were objective criteria and did not rely on the “good cause” requirement. Accordingly, section 25850 is enforceable and not unconstitutional on its face. [Editor’s Note: The Court of Appeal concluded D.L. had not forfeited the facial challenge to the constitutionality of section 25850 (but he did forfeit as-applied challenges raised in a petition for rehearing). After analyzing relevant case law, the court also concluded that D.L. had standing because he was challenging the facial constitutionality of a criminal statute the juvenile court found he violated.]