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9th Circuit Rules Americans Have No Right to Carry Guns, Either Open or Concealed

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a ruling stating Americans do not have an inherent right to carry firearms, whether it be concealed or open carry.

“The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit just ruled that THERE IS NO RIGHT TO CARRY – either openly or concealed in public. This ruling impacts RTC laws in AK, HI, CA, AZ, OR, WA, & MT. This was not an NRA case but we are exploring all options to rectify this,” the tweet noted.

The court ruling, handed down on Wednesday, could have wide ramifications for lawful gun owners around the country.

“After careful review of the history of early English and American regulation of carrying arms openly in the public square, the en banc court concluded that Hawai‘i’s restrictions on the open carrying of firearms reflect longstanding prohibitions, and therefore, the conduct they regulate is outside the historical scope of the Second Amendment,” the court decided. “The en banc court held that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an unfettered, general right to openly carry arms in public for individual self-defense.”

“Accordingly, Hawai‘i’s firearms-carry scheme is lawful,” the court continued. “The en banc court rejected Young’s argument that [the state law] is invalid as a prior restraint because it vests chiefs of police with unbridled discretion to determine whether a permit is issued. Joining its sister circuits, the en banc court held that the prior restraint doctrine does not apply to Second Amendment challenges to firearm-licensing laws.”

Four judges dissented from the court’s majority ruling, however.

“Dissenting, Judge O’Scannlain, joined by Judges Callahan, Ikuta, and R. Nelson, would hold that both [the state law] and the 1997 County regulation destroy the core right to carry a gun for self-defense outside the home and are unconstitutional under any level of scrutiny,” the ruling continued. “Judge O’Scannlain stated that the majority holds that while the Second Amendment may guarantee the right to keep a firearm for self-defense within one’s home, it provides no right whatsoever to bear—i.e., to carry—that same firearm for self-defense in any other place.”

“In his view, the majority’s decision undermines not only the Constitution’s text, but also half a millennium of Anglo-American legal history, the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), and the foundational principles of American popular sovereignty itself.”

Meanwhile, just two years ago, the frequently overturned 9th Circuit actually ruled that open carry was a constitutional right for the same defendant.

“Plaintiff George Young sued Hawaii in 2012 for denying his applications for permits to carry a concealed or openly visible handgun,” Courthouse News reported. “A Hawaii state law requires a license to a carry a gun in public.”

The court ruling at the time addressed the Hawaii gun law and upheld the constitutional right to open carry.

“With one judge dissenting, two circuit judges concluded that Hawaii cannot deny permits to non-security guard civilians who want to carry guns in public,” the report added.

As the Biden administration seeks to push through sweeping gun control measures, the ruling could be a signal that courts are open to rubber-stamping the restrictions on the Second Amendment.


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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.