The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals—based in San Francisco, CA—issued a ruling on July 24, 2018, that open carry for self-defense is a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Five other federal courts have issued similar decisions, leading Reuters News service to speculate the issue may be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where gun rights haven’t been argued since 2010.
“This is a critical issue for law-abiding gun owners who want to exercise their right to self-defense outside the home,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “The Second Amendment clearly protects the right to bear arms in public.”
George K. Young Jr. filed the appeal after lower courts upheld multiple denials for a carry permit by the County of Hawaii Chief of Police. State officials anchored their defense on a section of Hawaii’s Revised Statute 134-9, which states residents must keep their firearms at a “place of business, residence or sojourn.”
The only open-carry exceptions allowed under the law were for those, “engaged in the protection of life and property.” Securing a concealed-carry permit in the state is limited to “exceptional case” residents, according to the decision.
“The typical, law abiding citizen in the State of Hawaii is therefore entirely foreclosed from exercising the core Second Amendment right to bear arms for self-defense,” wrote Circuit Judge Diarmmuid F. O’Scannlain in the 2-1 decision. “It follows that section 134-9 ‘amounts to a destruction’ of a core right, and as such, it is infirm ‘[u]nder any of the standards of scrutiny.’ Thus, we hold that section 134-9’s limitation on the open carry of firearms to those ‘engaged in the protection of, life and property’ violates the core of the Second Amendment and is void; the County may not constitutionally enforce such a limitation on applicants for open-carry licenses.”