Score another victory for the Second Amendment – in the most unlikely appeals court in the country.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a court that has a well-deserved reputation for being the most liberal in the land, ruled on Tuesday that the Constitution does, in fact, guarantee the right to openly carry a gun for self-defense.
Though the case involved a gun owner in Hawaii, it was a win for gun rights activists everywhere – and it was the second victory in the 9th Circuit in the span of a week.
In Tuesday’s ruling, according to Reuters, two of the panel’s judges ruled in favor of a man named George Young, who filed a lawsuit after being denied a permit to carry a gun outside his home in the state of Hawaii.
“We do not take lightly the problem of gun violence,” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote, according to Reuters. “But, for better or for worse, the Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”
That might sound like a grudging affirmation of a constitutional right – one that’s on a par with freedom of speech and the freedom of worship – but the point is, it’s an affirmation nonetheless.
And while the ruling could be overturned on appeal to the entire 9th District, an attorney who represented Young thinks the case could go all the way to the top.
“I think the Supreme Court is receptive to this,” the attorney, Alan Beck, told Reuters.
Conservatives aren’t used to hearing good news out of the 9th Circuit, a notoriously liberal body based in San Francisco with jurisdiction over nine western states.
But on July 17, another three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of a Southern California man who sued in federal court over a 2016 referendum that would have banned “high capacity” magazines in the Golden State.
In that case, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s attempt to lift a stay on the law issued by a district judge.
The appeals panel didn’t rule on the merits of that case, which was filed by California gun owner Virginia Duncan and the California Rifle & Pistol Association, but it did rule that the district judge acted within his authority in granting the stay.
Tuesday’s ruling in the Hawaii case, and its source in the 9th Circuit, was causing ripples across social media.
The 9th Circuit just ruled that the 2nd amendment protects the right to carry firearms in public.
The 9th Circuit.
— Comrade Fudge (@HNIJohnMiller) July 24, 2018
The 9th Circuit has ruled in favour of the 2nd Amendment.
Surely this is one of the signs of the Apocalypse. https://t.co/dCbbcBNxAY
— Stephen Gunter (@stephengunter) July 24, 2018
FYI- 9th Circuit panel held 2nd AM allows 'the right of a responsible law-abiding citizen to carry a firearm openly for self-defense outside of the home'. Look for this to apply to 'may issue' gun control 2.
Hope this makes all you fellow 'gun nuts'' day.https://t.co/Rjn84J6BnF
— Gentleman Jon (@GentlemanJonD) July 24, 2018
Neither last week’s victory nor Tuesday’s win was final, of course.
The full 9th Circuit could review both decisions and turn everything the other way.
But with Donald Trump’s choice of Neil Gorsuch firmly seated on the Supreme Court, and his second nominee Brett Kavanaugh, possibly heading to the high court soon, it’s a good chance that justices who interpret the Constitution as it was written will be in a solid majority if either of these cases goes higher than the 9th Circuit.
The same goes for any other gun rights cases that might bubble up.
And any victory for the Second Amendment is a victory for the Constitution as a whole.
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