In a 215-page ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the court decided that the Second Amendment does not secure the right to bear arms either openly or concealed. This overturned an earlier ruling that held that a ban on the right to bear arms was unconstitutional.
In the case of Young v. Hawaii, the appeals court said that the plaintiff did not fully appeal Hawaii’s handgun carry license law, but also that Hawaii has a “longstanding prohibition” against bearing firearms in public, so therefore open-carry and concealed-carry fall “outside the historical scope of the Second Amendment.”
BREAKING: The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit just ruled that THERE IS NO RIGHT TO CARRY – either openly or concealed in public.— NRA (@NRA) March 24, 2021
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.
“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 said (.pdf).
“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,” reads the ruling. “Accordingly, Hawai‘i’s firearms-carry scheme is lawful.”
Several judges dissented, saying “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, … and McDonald v. City of Chicago … and the foundational principles of American popular sovereignty itself.”
In the dissents, judges also held that the court erred in dismissing Young’s “as-applied challenge” to the carry law scheme, calling it “brazenly unconstitutional.”
Young filed his case in response to being denied any form of carry permit, as he did not prove any immediate or urgent need to carry a firearm outside of the home.
Gun rights groups are responding quickly to this decision.
“We are very disappointed in the outcome of this case. As the dissent pointed out, the Ninth Circuit has effectively eliminated the word ‘bear’ from the Constitution,” said the Firearms Policy Center’s Joseph Greenlee. “Now that tens of millions of Americans have been told, for the first time ever, that they have no right to carry a firearm, it is more important than ever for the Supreme Court to address the issue and define the right to ‘bear arms.'”
The National Rifle Association also weighed in, saying “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 was not an NRA case but we are exploring all options to rectify this.”
“The blatant defiance of the Supreme Court to undermine Heller and hollow out rights afforded to individuals by their Creator and clearly protected by the Constitution is unconscionable,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel.
“It is with amazing boldness that the Ninth Circuit brazenly sets aside not just the previous findings of the Supreme Court, which legally they are bound to apply, but actively chooses to ignore plain English and refuses to acknowledge the right to bear arms,” Keane continued. “We look forward to filing an amicus brief when this heads to the Supreme Court.”
Meanwhile, Everytown for Gun Safety cheered the court’s ruling.
“Today’s ruling, joined by respected appellate judges across the ideological spectrum, is the latest reminder that arguments against reasonable, life-saving gun laws rarely hold up in the courtroom,” said Eric Tirschwell, managing director for Everytown Law.
“As the court recognized, states and localities have extremely broad power to restrict the carrying of firearms in public spaces,” added Tirschwell.
While the ruling specifically cites prohibitions on the right to bear arms in Hawaii, this 9th Circuit ruling also affects Alaska, California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Montana.