Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Gun Laws News

Ninth Circuit Stunner: Second Amendment Protects Public Open Carry!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Ninth Circuit Stunner: Second Amendment Protects Public Open Carry!

Gun control advocates undoubtedly awoke with a piercing headache Wednesday morning as the news sunk in that the U.S. appellate court for America’s largest circuit has recognized that the Second Amendment protects a right to openly carry loaded firearms in public for self-defense. The ruling came Tuesday in the case of Young v. State of Hawaii.

George Young is a veteran infantryman, law enforcement officer, and Hawaii native who was turned down for both concealed and open carry licenses in Hawaii County, at which point he filed his own federal lawsuit challenging the county’s administration of the state’s licensing laws for firearms carry. Young’s primary claim was that the county’s denial of his applications violated his Second Amendment right to carry a loaded firearm in public for self-defense. The trial court initially dismissed his complaint, ruling that the Second Amendment “establishes only a narrow individual right to keep an operable handgun at home for self-defense,” and does not implicate the public carrying of firearms at all.

Young appealed with the help of California attorney Alan Beck, who took on his case for free. The case was heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a longstanding battlefield for attempts to vindicate the right to “bear” arms under the Second Amendment, with the challenges primarily arising from California’s notoriously strict gun control laws.  

Most recently, an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit had dodged the question of whether various California counties could effectively limit carrying in public for self-defense to those who could show an extraordinary “need” to do so. By the time that case was heard, California had banned the open carrying of firearms in public for self-defense outright, but concealed carry licenses for this purpose remained theoretically available.

Nevertheless, California counties have considerable discretion in implementing the state licensing laws, and some local licensing officials require applicants to show an extraordinary need for self-protection that distinguishes them from the general population. This requirement by design eliminates the vast majority of otherwise qualified applicants.

Yet rather than answer the essential question of whether the Second Amendment protects a right of public carry, the en banc Ninth Circuit simply decreed that concealed carry was not protected and that the plaintiffs therefore could not make a Second Amendment complaint for denial of a license to do so. The upshot is that California residents in the affected counties have no legal option for exercising their right to bear firearms in public.

That case, however, left undecided whether open carry of loaded firearms in public for self-defense might still be protected, and that was the claim that Mr. Young pressed before the appellate court. Two out of three judges answered this question in the affirmative. “The right to bear arms must include, at the least, the right to carry a firearm openly for self-defense,” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote for the majority. The court therefore remanded the case to the lower court for further proceedings, presumably so it could order Hawaii County to reevaluate Mr. Young’s application for an open carry license without regard to local regulations that effectively limit such licenses to carrying for professional purposes.

What this decision means for the other jurisdictions in the Ninth Circuit – which includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington State, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands – remains to be seen. The court hinted, but did not decide, that a concealed carry licensing regime might be sufficient to protect the right to bear arms by offering an “alternative channel” for lawful public carry. It also made clear, however, that access to the right cannot be limited to “a small and insulated subset” but must include, as a rule, “the typical, law-abiding citizen.” It additionally went on to clarify that “nothing in our opinion … would prevent the State from regulating the right to bear arms,” provided the regulations did not render the right a mere “illusory promise.”

That obviously leaves many questions left unanswered. The court’s decision therefore should not embolden residents in restrictive jurisdictions to immediately ignore local laws and expect to open carry with impunity. How far states and localities can go in regulating the right will undoubtedly take additional litigation to determine.    

Needless to say, moreover, the split panel decision might not represent the final word in the case. It could still be reversed by the en banc court, as was a previous pro-carry panel decision written by Judge O’Scannlain. And, of course, Hawaii officials could also petition to have the case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nevertheless, the anti-gun wing of the Ninth Circuit has few maneuvers left to continue to deny the constitutional right to bear firearms in public. It would either have to be the first circuit to declare there was no such right at all or decide that a right the Constitution ascribes to “the people” applies only to a hand-selected few. So far, even the dominant liberal contingent of the Ninth Circuit has been unable to muster a majority opinion for either proposition.

Stay tuned. We will monitor developments carefully and report on them as they occur.

 

TRENDING NOW
Veteran Criticizes Police Practices, Gets Guns and Firearm License Seized by Chief of Police

News  

Monday, October 21, 2019

Veteran Criticizes Police Practices, Gets Guns and Firearm License Seized by Chief of Police

Watch what you say about local officialdom in Tisbury, Mass., or you may find Police Chief Mark Saloio knocking at your door to revoke your Second Amendment rights.

Assault on Firearm Industry Fails: Federal Court Dismisses Ohio Lawsuit

News  

Monday, October 21, 2019

Assault on Firearm Industry Fails: Federal Court Dismisses Ohio Lawsuit

On October 9, a federal court in Ohio considered and dismissed, with prejudice, a lawsuit against Smith & Wesson, Remington, Sig Sauer, and other gun manufacturers, arising from a class action brought by Primus Group ...

California Gun Confiscation Draws ACLU Opposition

News  

Monday, October 21, 2019

California Gun Confiscation Draws ACLU Opposition

We know that gun rights are interconnected with other civil rights. In their zeal to attack law-abiding gun owners and Second Amendment rights, gun control advocates have shown a willingness to trample other cherished civil ...

Confiscation or "Mandatory Buyback"?

News  

Monday, October 21, 2019

Confiscation or "Mandatory Buyback"?

It is interesting to watch certain Democrats struggle when trying to convince law-abiding gun owners how “reasonable” it is for the government to take away your firearms.  Do the anti-gun groups and candidates pushing confiscation ...

Dick’s Spends Big on Gun-Chopping, Virtue-Signaling Bonanza (But It Will Still Sell You a Firearm)

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Dick’s Spends Big on Gun-Chopping, Virtue-Signaling Bonanza (But It Will Still Sell You a Firearm)

Ed Stack, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, wants you to know he’s committed to keeping AR-15s “off the street.” But he’s also committed (for the time being) to selling other types of firearms.

California: Anti-Gun and Anti-Hunting Bill Signed into Law

Monday, October 14, 2019

California: Anti-Gun and Anti-Hunting Bill Signed into Law

Prior to the October 13 deadline, Governor Newsom signed the final anti-gun and anti-hunting bills, AB 1254 and SB 172 into law.  

California: Governor Newsom Signs Anti-Gun Bills into Law

Friday, October 11, 2019

California: Governor Newsom Signs Anti-Gun Bills into Law

Earlier today, Governor Newsom signed the seven anti-gun bills listed below into law.  

Number of Concealed Carry Permit Holders Increased Again

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Number of Concealed Carry Permit Holders Increased Again

Last week, economist John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center released “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2019,” his annual report on the number of concealed carry permit holders in the U.S.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Grassroots Spotlight: NRA-ILA Fighting the Bloomberg Money In Virginia 2019 Elections

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Grassroots Spotlight: NRA-ILA Fighting the Bloomberg Money In Virginia 2019 Elections

The Nov. 5th election may be the most consequential ever for our Second Amendment rights in the Commonwealth. That’s because every seat in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate is up for grabs and gun control ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.