[T]he [California] AG’s office concludes that the existing statutory requirement “that a public-carry license applicant provide proof of ‘good moral character’ remains constitutional,” and that this requirement isn’t limited to disqualifying felons, certain violent misdemeanants, and the like. And in particular the AG’s office suggests that people who hold certain ideological viewpoints should be disqualified:
Existing public-carry policies of local law enforcement agencies across the state provide helpful examples of how to apply the “good moral character” requirement. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, for example, currently identifies several potential reasons why a public-carry license may be denied (or revoked), which include “[a]ny arrest in the last 5 years, regardless of the disposition” or “[a]ny conviction in the last 7 years.” It is reasonable to consider such factors in evaluating an applicant’s proof of the requisite moral character to safely carry firearms in public. See, e.g., Bruen (referencing “law-abiding citizens”).
Other jurisdictions list the personal characteristics one reasonably expects of candidates for a public-carry license who do not pose a danger to themselves or others. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s policy, for example, currently provides as follows: “Legal judgments of good moral character can include consideration of honesty, trustworthiness, diligence, reliability, respect for the law, integrity, candor, discretion, observance of fiduciary duty, respect for the rights of others, absence of hatred and racism, fiscal stability, profession-specific criteria such as pledging to honor the constitution and uphold the law, and the absence of criminal conviction.” [Emphasis added]
As to how law enforcement is to figure out such matters, the AG’s office has some advice: Among other things,
As a starting point for purposes of investigating an applicant’s moral character, many issuing authorities require personal references and/or reference letters. Investigators may personally interview applicants and use the opportunity to gain further insight into the applicant’s character. And they may search publicly-available information, including social media accounts, in assessing the applicant’s character. [Emphasis added.]
Remember what I said here?
Finally, we can rest assured that anti-gun states and locales will impose fresh terms on the issuance of gun permits. Those terms could easily be made vague enough to support arbitrary denials. “Good moral character” — ? “No history of mental illness” — ? Meaning what? How long and expensive a court fight would most permit-seekers be willing to undergo in pursuit of their right?
Watch for it in a “may issue” state near you.