Nate Jackson / July 25, 2018

The Ninth Saves the Second — Again

“The Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”

For the second time in a week, the leftist Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California sided with gun rights. A three-judge panel of the court ruled Tuesday that the Second Amendment guarantees citizens the right to keep and bear arms outside the home, striking down Hawaii’s “may issue” gun-permit regime, which effectively limits gun possession to inside the home.

Hawaii resident George Young sued when he was twice denied a permit required to carry openly in public. In fact, according to The Washington Free Beacon, “Hawaii did not issue a single gun-carry permit to any civilians in 2017. The same was true in 2016.”

“We do not take lightly the problem of gun violence,” Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain wrote in Young v. Hawaii. “But, for better or for worse, the Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.” The court should have avoided the politically motivated term “gun violence,” and the “for worse” caveat is largely because gang members selling drugs don’t abide by any laws and commit the lion’s share of crime using guns. But yes, the Second Amendment is indeed clear. The ruling went further: “While many respectable scholars and activists might find virtue in a firearms-carry regime that restricts the right to a privileged few, ‘the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.’”

Ironically, this is the same court that in 2016 ruled in Peruta v. City of San Diego that “there is no Second Amendment right for members of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.”

The difference hinges on concealed vs. open carry. We in our humble shop tend to think open carry isn’t ideal in part because it’s unnecessarily provocative, but that isn’t to say citizens don’t have the right to do so. Now the question is whether the full Ninth Circuit will overturn this ruling en banc, as it did in the aforementioned Peruta decision, and, if so, whether the Supreme Court — with a clearer five-vote conservative majority — will then take up the case. The Supremes, much to the dismay of Justice Clarence Thomas, have not taken a Second Amendment case of any kind since 2010, despite numerous conflicting rulings on various elements in lower courts. In fact, the High Court specifically declined to take up Peruta. Perhaps the addition of Brett Kavanaugh will change that pattern.

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