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Suit Challenges Discretion In Issuing Gun Permits

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — How much discretion California’s law enforcement officials have in issuing concealed weapons permits is the subject of a federal lawsuit with national overtones.

On Thursday, gun-rights advocates argued in federal court in Sacramento that county sheriffs — who handle most such permits — must issue them to anyone who completes a training course and has no mental health problems or criminal background.

They are challenging a policy by Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto, who says applicants must have a reason to carry a concealed weapon, such as a threat to their safety. Gun-rights attorney Alan Gura says that gives the sheriff discretion over a fundamental right to bear arms.

U.S. District Court Judge Morrison England Jr. says the lawsuit is part of a national debate over carrying weapons in public.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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