(CN) - With San Diego refusing to challenge a ruling that found it unconstitutionally requires "good cause," beyond simple self-defense, from those who would carry a concealed weapon, the 9th Circuit refused Wednesday to let California and an anti-gun group take up the fight.
In striking down a concealed-carry permit law this past February, a three-judge panel with the 9th Circuit found it unconstitutional for San Diego County to require "good cause" beyond self-defense.
A short time later, San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said that he would not petition the 9th Circuit for a rehearing.
California State Attorney General Kamala Harris then moved to intervene in the case, along with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, so that the state could file its own petition for a rehearing.
The 9th Circuit was divided Wednesday in finding that the state waited too long to involve itself in the case.
"Intervention after the publication of an appellate opinion must be extremely rare," the opinion by the two-judge majority notes.
"The movants have not met the heavy burden of demonstrating 'imperative reasons' in favor of intervention on appeal," the judges added. "The stage of the proceedings, the length of the delay, and the reason for the delay all weigh against timeliness. In the absence of a timely motion, intervention is unavailable."
Judge Sidney Thomas wrote in dissent that the majority's order would deny "one of the parties most affected by our decision the opportunity to even present an argument to us on an important constitutional question affecting millions of citizens."
Because the issue "directly involves the entirety of California's handgun regulation scheme, and will greatly impact any future litigation pertaining to the scheme's constitutionality," the state should be allowed to intervene, he wrote.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.