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Ninth Circuit Reverses Dismissal Of Second Amendment Challenge To Hawaii Carry Restrictions

July 24, 2018

In another monumental victory for the right to keep and bear arms, a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging Hawaii’s restrictions on carrying a firearm in public. The lawsuit, titled Young v. State of Hawaii, argues Hawaii’s requirements that individuals seeking a license to carry a firearm in public demonstrate sufficient urgency or need and actually be “engaged in the protection of life and property” are unconstitutional. For not a single license has been issued to a resident of Hawaii under this restrictive and arbitrary standard.

In reversing the lower court, the 3-judge panel undertook an extensive historical analysis of the Second Amendment and its meaning at the time of the drafting of the Constitution. As noted by the panel, the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is the “true palladium of liberty,” and is not “a second-class right” to be treated differently from other individual constitutional rights. What’s more, because the Second Amendment protects both the right to “keep” and “bear” arms, it implies a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense.

One member of the 3-judge panel dissented, but not without harsh criticisms from the majority. As noted in Tuesday’s opinion, the dissent’s analysis was “cursory,” “misguided,” and otherwise erroneously characterized historical restrictions on the right to carry a firearm in public. When it came time to apply that same reasoning for upholding Hawaii’s restrictions, the majority found the dissent’s arguments as “utterly unpersuasive.”

As a result, the majority rejected a “cramped” reading of the Second Amendment that treats the right to “keep” and “bear” arms differently, holding the right to carry a firearm openly for self-defense falls within the core protections of the Second Amendment.

Speaking to what happens next, the State of Hawaii can either appeal the decision to a larger “en banc” panel of the Ninth Circuit, appeal directly to SCOTUS, or accept the ruling and revise its restrictions on carrying firearms in public accordingly.

 

California Carry Cases Still Pending

 

Members should know that the Young lawsuit is not the only case challenging restrictive carry laws that will impact California gun owners. Another lawsuit titled Flanagan v. Becerra, which challenges state and local restrictions on carrying a firearm for self-defense in public, is currently making its way through the Ninth Circuit. Flanagan, filed with the support of the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle & Pistol Association, is a direct response to the 11-judge “en banc” panel decision in Peruta v. County of San Diego.

To stay up-to-date on the Young and Flanagan cases, make sure you are subscribed to NRA and CRPA email alerts. And be sure to visit the NRA-ILA California dedicated webpage at www.StandAndFightCalifornia.com and the new CRPA webpage at www.CRPA.org.

In another monumental victory for the right to keep and bear arms, a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging Hawaii’s restrictions on carrying a firearm in public.

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