Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Americans “do not have a Second Amendment right to carry concealed weapons in public.” The ruling also reversed a 2018 three-panel Ninth Circuit decision that Hawaii cannot deny permits to ordinary non-security personnel civilians.
The en banc court reaffirmed a Hawaii district court’s decision to dismiss a challenge by a Hawaii resident who challenged the “the urgency or the need” justification to obtain the state’s carry license.
Hawaii requires citizens to obtain such permits to carry firearms in public. Applicants must also be “of good moral character” and be “engaged in the protection of life and property.”
Those who can prove “fear for injury” or "destruction of property" could receive permits to carry firearms in public for self-defense.
Writing on behalf of the majority, U.S. Circuit Judge Jay Bybee said that “There is no right to carry arms openly in public; nor is any such right within the scope of the Second Amendment.”
The opinion author added that there was conclusive evidence that for the past 700 years since the 14th century England, the constitution has never granted citizens an “unfettered right” to bear firearms in public.
The opinion piece also stated that the government “assumes primary responsibility” for protecting civilians in public spaces. The author shuffled through documents from the English parliament in the 12th century, the colonial period, and before the Civil War.
“The states do not violate the Second Amendment by asserting their longstanding English and American rights to prohibit certain weapons from entering those public spaces as means of providing ‘domestic tranquility’ and forestalling ‘domestic violence,’” the judge wrote.
However, Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain disagreed with the majority opinion pointing out that “armed self-defense in public” was at the heart of the Second Amendment.
He criticized the majority for failing to consider the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Columba v. Heller recognizing the right to “keep” and “bear—or to carry—that firearm.”
“The right to armed self-defense—both by keeping a gun at home and by carrying one elsewhere—lies at the heart of the Second Amendment.”
He added that the “inherent right of self-defense” recognized by Heller “did not stop at the walls of one’s home.” He added that Hawaii’s law could be declared unconstitutional under "any level of scrutiny."
“Because the right to carry a handgun openly for self-defense lies within the “core” of the Second Amendment, Hawaii faces a steep burden in its attempt to justify the constitutionality of section 134-9.”
The Second, Third, and Fourth Circuit courts have made similar rulings on the issue while the D.C. Circuit and Seventh Circuit ruled against a ban on the public carrying of firearms. This makes the case a perfect candidate for a Supreme Court hearing.
Ironically, the Second Amendment was born out of the 1774-75 British gun control program banning the importation of arms and gun powder and violent confiscations.
Trying to justify the violation of the Second Amendment using colonial laws only strengthens the case for civilian gun ownership.
Additionally, by claiming that it’s the government's primary responsibility to guard civilians in public places, the state should be held responsible for damages following security incidents when the state protection was absent.
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