On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling stating that there is no right under the Second Amendment to carry concealed weapons in public. This, of course, is surprising, given that the actual language of the Second Amendment explicitly declares the right to “bear arms” – and bearing arms means carrying them. But the Court truly just wants to allow localities to regulate firearm ownership out of existence, or like practice of religion, to restrict the right to the privacy of your home.
Circuit Judge William Fletcher wrote the opinion, in which he stated that “the Second Amendment does not preserve or protect a right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.” The case itself revolved around the question of “good cause” restrictions on concealed carry permits. It is nearly impossible to get a concealed carry permit in, for example, Los Angeles County – even people who are regularly subjected to death threats are denied such permits. “Good cause” in San Diego County explicitly excludes “fearing for one’s personal safety alone.”
Fletcher said that history bears witness to regulations on concealed carrying of weapons. He cites to The Statute of Northampton, a piece of legislation enacted in England in 1328, as well as to Henry VIII’s 1541 regulations, and Elizabeth I’s 1594 rulings. He also cites early pre-Revolution colonial history and post-Revolution regulations.
All of this is fine. But it neglects one point: California also bans open carry. That means that a rejection of a right to concealed carry represents a rejection of the Second Amendment entirely.
The dissent, written by Circuit Judge Maria Callahan, knocks down “an elaborate straw man argument by answering only a narrow question – whether the Second Amendment protects a right to carry concealed firearms in public.” She notes, “the right to bear arms exists outside the home…[no court] approved a total destruction of the right to carry in public.” She concludes that it is one thing to bar concealed carry in a state, but another to bar both concealed and open carry. “Heller,” she writes, “balances the Second Amendment right to bear arms in public with a state’s ability to choose between regulating open carry or concealed carry.”
Finally, she hits the mark: “Constitutional rights would become meaningless if states could obliterate them by enacting incrementally more burdensome restrictions while arguing that a reviewing court must evaluate each restriction by itself when determining its constitutionality.”
Yet this incrementalism is the explicit goal of the left. Of course Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will never say they want to ban all firearms. Instead, they’ll just destroy the right to bear arms piecemeal: they’ll say that you have no right to open carry, you have no right to concealed carry, and you have no right to have guns in the home. Voila! Gun rights destroyed. The left uses the same logic to destroy freedom of religion: you have no right to practice your religion in the workplace, you have no right to teach your children your religion, your church has no right to operate as a business in the public sphere. Voila! Religious rights destroyed.
This is how the Constitution is rendered meaningless: not in one giant full-frontal assault, but day by day, case by case. This is also why the Second Amendment matters. The government that can carve away your gun rights can carve away all the other ones, too.