9th Circuit Court of Appeals Renders Open Carry of Firearms Legal
On July 24, 2018, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held in Young v. Hawaii that the Second Amendment of the US Constitution grants people the right to carry firearms in the open. This holding rejected a claim from the State of Hawaii that the right to carry a firearm should be restricted to keeping firearms at home. While the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has declined to rule on this particular issue, the 9th Circuit’s decision is now controlling authority (absent a future SCOTUS decision) in Nevada, California, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, as well as the territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. It is likely to become a Supreme Court issue if the State of Hawaii decides to appeal.
In a 2-1 decision, the 9th Circuit reversed the US District Court of Hawaii’s decision which held that officials did not infringe on the constitutional rights of an individual who was twice denied a permit to carry a firearm in public. Hawaii’s law is now invalidated. One of the judges who rendered the 9th Circuit’s majority decision, Hon. Diarmuid O’Scannlain relied on a 2008 ruling from SCOTUS in District of Columbia v. Heller to support his opinion. In the Heller case, SCOTUS held that the Second Amendment protects the right to have a firearm for self-defense at home. O’Scannlain said, “For better or worse, the Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”
In his dissent, Hon. Richard Clifton argued that the Second Amendment does not prevent firearm licensing rules such as the one used in Hawaii. He wrote, “While explicitly declining to elaborate on specific regulations, the Supreme Court in Heller expressly noted that the right secured by the Second Amendment is ‘not unlimited’ and that there were ‘longstanding prohibitions’ that were ‘presumptively lawful.’” For instance, the 9th Circuit’s decision in Young expressed a view, which was not part of the holding, that the Second Amendment does not guarantee a right to carry concealed firearms in public. But as it stands, it is now the law in Nevada, California, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington and territories that individuals may carry firearms in the open for self-defense.
Despite this decision, there are still other laws that affect one’s ability to own or possess a firearm. If you have questions about your rights to own or possess a firearm, or if you have been arrested for a firearms-related offense, call The Wright Law Group today. With over 25 years of experience in Criminal Law and Litigation, The Wright Law Group, P.C. is well-equipped to assist you. Call us now at (702) 405-0001 to arrange a consultation.