U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Rules That the Second Amendment Grants the Right to Carry Guns Openly Outside the Home

On Tuesday, July 24, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a 2-1 ruling held that the Second Amendment grants the right to carry guns openly outside the home. With three federal appeals courts having found no right to carry guns openly in public, the issue seems ripe for United States Supreme Court interpretation.

Tuesday’s Ninth Circuit ruling was written by Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, a conservative judge who previously struck down a California concealed-weapons law in 2014 requiring local law enforcement permits to carry concealed handguns in public. The Ninth Circuit ordered a rehearing in that case, and the California law was upheld in a 7-4 ruling. In the Hawaii case concerning Tuesday’s ruling, Judge O’Scannlain reasoned that the Second Amendment rights to both “keep” and “bear” arms applied outside the home. Judge O’Scannlain wrote that “[t]he right to bear arms must guarantee some right to self-defense in public.” Judge O’Scannlain further wrote that the right to “keep” arms protects the “core purpose” of the Second Amendment within the home, while “the separate right to ‘bear’ arms protects that core purpose outside the home.” However, the ruling clarified that states do not need to allow everyone to carry guns openly in public and can enact reasonable regulations on the public carrying of guns. The 2-1 majority found the Hawaii law allowing open-carry permits only to people “engaged in the protection of life and property” unconstitutional since it, in effect, excluded everyone but police and security guards.


Additional Reading

San Francisco appeals court: 2nd Amendment grants right to carry guns openly, San Francisco Chronicle (July 24, 2018)

Young v. Hawaii, No. 12-17808 (9th Cir. 2018)