Current efforts to reform gun legislation in the U.S. have been drastically set back.
On Tuesday, a federal court ruled that Americans have a constitutional right to carry firearms in public.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, with a three-judge panel, stated that the right to carry firearms in public is “core [to the] Second Amendment.”
The Court specifically ruled on a Hawaiian law which prohibited the use of firearms outside of homes or businesses.
One of the judges, who wrote the majority’s decision, stated that the writers of the Second Amendment would probably support Americans’ right to defend themselves. He wrote:
“For better or for worse, the Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”
The court’s decision could still be appealed, in which case the case would be sent to the Supreme Court for a final decision. However, the Court has often defended the Second Amendment despite the fact that many specialists have stated that the Amendment was only meant to be applied to militias.
While the now-repealed Hawaiian law banned citizens from carrying firearms in public, Hawaiians could still apply for special permits. According to officers in Hawaii County, a permit has never been approved. This caused some people to argue that the law was, in fact, a ban.
The judges of the 9th Circut focused on interpreting the Second Amendment as it was apparently “meant to be read.” For example, they stated that Hawaii’s law didn’t allow citizens to “bear” arms, and rather it allowed citizens to “keep” them. One of the judges stated:
A more balanced historical analysis reveals that states have long regulated and limited public carry of firearms and, indeed, have frequently limited public carry to individuals with specific self-defense needs. Hawaii’s regulatory framework fits squarely into that long tradition.”
Courts across the country have been divided regarding gun laws. Both of the appellate courts from the 7th and the 9th Circuit support the rights to carry guns in public, while the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th have argued for more gun control. The judges involved in the recent ruling also addressed this, as one of them mentioned in their ruling:
In light of the already existing circuit split, I assume that the Supreme Court will find it appropriate at some point to revisit the reach of the Second Amendment and to speak more precisely to the limits on the authority of state and local governments to impose restrictions on carrying guns in public.”
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