A California decision may mark a turn in the country’s path for gun laws. A 2-1 ruling by a United States (US) Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned the state law requiring citizens have “good cause” before obtaining a concealed-weapons permit. The Second Amendment was a major factor in the ruling, and many outspoken gun owners have stated that they feel that California is upholding their Constitutional rights. The right to bear arms is a much-cited amendment in the US Constitution, on both sides of the debate.
Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, appointed by Reagan, wrote that this decision is not forcing states to permit “concealed carry,” but is rather requiring states to permit some form of carring for self-defense beyond a place of residence. This is controversial subject matter which has been argued and changed legislatively over the years. Many gun control advocates believe if no person had the legal right to own a gun or possess a gun, there will be less and eventually no gun violence in the United States. However, gun control advocates believe there is no way to keep guns out of criminals’ hands if they choose to carry one. The assertion is that the only way to control gun violence is to put the threat in the open so criminals know the average citizen can fight back.
Soon after the Colorado movie theater shooting, where 12 individuals died, President Obama stated, “When there is a child shooting other children, there is a hole in his heart no government can fill. It is up to families, teachers, and neighbors to fill this void.” This idea is speculated to have been rather stand-offish since the shooting was during his re-election campaign, but the President had been advocating for stricter background checks for permits.
The proponents of the right to bear arms in public believe if more people had guns on them during the shooting, lives could have been saved. However, proponents of gun control believe that in cases such as the one in Colorado, where the shooter’s guns were purchased legally and the ammunition was also purchased legally, the need to restrict the ability to purchase firearms is the more pressing issue. Jesse Jackson, a celebrity figurehead, came out to the memorial service for the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin, another shooting which took place the same year, and said there will be more shootings in the future until the government enacts stricter gun control.
On the other end, Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor and Constitutional law specialist, states, “If you don’t want many guns on the street, the answer is open carry.” He also has said, “If 5 percent of the ducks shot back, you wouldn’t go duck hunting.” Winkler is a California resident who believes Courts should always uphold citizens’ Constitutional rights, and every lawful citizen has the right to carry.
Another controversial matter is the Connecticut elementary school shooting where twenty children and six adults died the same year as the other massacres. The Children’s Defense Fund lists a statistic claiming one young person dies or is injured from guns every 30 minutes. The debate continues, attempting to determine if more children’s lives would be saved if there were fewer guns on the street, or more, if they were in the right hands.
The California ruling is reported only to affect states that do not permit any form of carry outside the home, but the final decision will come from the US Supreme Court’s decision on whether or not to uphold the alleged right to carry, or bear arms in public.
By Lindsey Alexander