The federal courts uncharacteristically handed Second Amendment activists a victory, yesterday, and in a California court, at that. A federal court ruled that Americans DO have the right to carry their firearms outside their homes.
This is an unexpected victory for the individual’s right to bear arms and a defeat for governments that hope that they can make any rule they want to curtail our constitutional rights.
Not since the McDonald and Heller rulings has a case been so surprising. In those two cases, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed its previous inclinations and upheld the right of individuals to bear arms. Previous SCOTUS rulings leaned toward greater government control and collective rights instead of individual rights – meaning the court’s previous feeling Americans did not automatically have a right to bear arms was reversed.
This newest case also tends to take some of the bite out the power of local and state governments to limit the Second Amendment.
A federal appeals court in California essentially ruled that Americans have a Constitutional right to carry firearms for self-defense outside their home shutting down a ruling by a court in Hawaii that barred a man from carrying his firearm outside his home.
On Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a claim from Hawaii officials that the right to keep and bear arms only applies to people inside their own homes.
According to The Hill:
The ruling was issued by a three-judge panel on the court and came about a year after the Supreme Court decided not to rule on the case.
Two of the three judges on the 9th Circuit voted to reverse a decision by the U.S. District Court in Hawaii that said officials did not infringe on the rights of George Young — the plaintiff who was twice denied a permit to carry a gun in public.
“We do not take lightly the problem of gun violence,” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote in Tuesday’s ruling. “But, for better or for worse, the Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”
The court said in the ruling that it acknowledged that the Second Amendment does not guarantee a right to carry concealed firearms in public.
This is yet another court victory that affirms that our Second Amendment right is an individual’s right, not the collective right of some shadowy “militia.”
The plaintiff, George Young, sued Hawaii for twice denying him a concealed carry permit. Hawaii is a “may issue” state for concealed carry permits meaning that the state can deny permits for any reason or no reason. All the state has to do is say “no” and that is the end of that. In other words, Hawaii citizens don’t really have any Second Amendment rights unless the state says they are allowed to have them.
If a ruling like this sticks, it may mean that the whole idea of “may issue” may become illegal.
“States like Hawaii and California will have to allow far more guns on the streets than they do today,” Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, told the Washington Post. “States would be able to ban concealed carry but only if they allow people to carry their guns openly displayed.”
Still, there have been other recent cases, such as the 9th Circuit’s decision that there is no Constitutional right to carry concealed guns in public. It is likely that the newest ruling will be heard en banc, but even more likely that the whole issue is going to have to be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court because of the many conflicting rulings.
Amusingly, during the recent case, Hawaii’s attorney sort of made himself look like a fool with his failed arguments. That didn’t help Hawaii keep intact its practice of quashing the Second Amendment, for sure.
Yes, this is another great win for the individual right to keep and bear arms.
If you are interested to hear the argument of the man Hawaii wanted to deny Constitutional rights, watch this:
A very full description containing many of the court documents can be seen HERE.