On Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Second Amendment protects a right to openly carry a gun in public for self-defense.
That ruling was a reversal of a decision by the U.S. District Court in Hawaii, which had ruled that state officials did not infringe on a citizen’s rights when they twice denied him a permit to carry a gun outside.
Two of the three 9th Circuit judges agreed to reverse the decision by the district court; Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote, “We do not take lightly the problem of gun violence. But, for better or for worse, the Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”
The majority opinion stated:
The panel acknowledged that while the concealed carry of firearms categorically falls outside Second Amendment protection, see Peruta v. County of San Diego, it was satisfied that the Second Amendment encompasses a right to carry a firearm openly in public for self-defense. Analyzing the text of the Second Amendment and reviewing the relevant history, including founding-era treatises and nineteenth century case law, the panel stated that it was unpersuaded by the County’s and the State’s argument that the Second Amendment only has force within the home. The panel stated that once identified as an individual right focused on self-defense, the right to bear arms must guarantee some right to self-defense in public.
The opinion added:
We are not the first circuit to grapple with how far, and to what extent, the Second Amendment applies outside the home. Two circuits, looking closely at the text and history of the Amendment, have held that the Second Amendment indeed protects a general right to carry firearms in public for self-defense. See Wrenn v. District of Columbia, Moore v. Madigan.
The right to keep guns at home, derived from the Second Amendment, was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller.
The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”