The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled on Thursday that the gun control aspect of a California law infringes on gun owners Second Amendment rights. The law stated that gun owners had to able to show good cause as to why they were wanting to carry a weapon. Gun control advocates saw this as a necessary way to make sure that only someone who needs a weapon will have one. Advocates of the second amendment however, were left posing the question, who decides?
The federal appeals court was called in when the lower courts could not agree whether the law should be upheld. The federal court agreed that the Second Amendment requires states to permit some form of carry laws for use outside the home. They were quick to add though, that it didn’t mean states should be required to have concealed-carry laws.
While the ruling is a positive for Second Amendment advocates, it is still being decided just how the state of California should move forward. There is a constitutional violation, according to Martha Nell of the ABA Journal, and how it will be remedied is still open for debate. The court could agree that the law in California had to do more with gun control and that it infringes on a person’s second amendment rights. How the state will remedy it has yet to be determined.
The court cited cases from Chicago and Washington D.C. where handgun bans were struck down. They also cited the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision regarding an Illinois gun ban. Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, in writing for the majority, stated that, the Second Amendment included the right to carry a gun outside of the home, for the purpose of self-defense, as long as it was lawful.
The Ninth Circuit Court assigned a panel of three judges, two voted for striking down the ban and one voted against. Writing the dissent, Judge Sidney Thomas stated, the good cause requirement would limit the number of people carrying a weapon to those who legitimately needed it, and further stated that it would limit the number of guns to those most likely to need to defend themselves.
O’Scannlain, however, made it clear that it is not the role of the courts to determine that the Second Amendment is extinct and that the Second Amendment should not be seen as “second-class rights” but rather on par with all of the Bill of Rights, guaranteed through the Constitution. The state of California could request the entire Ninth Circuit Court hear the case or they could take it before the Supreme Court.
In the state of California each city or county has the power to determine what policy it will have when it comes to concealed-carry, according to the AP. The concealed-carry that was struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court was in San Diego County. In San Diego County in order for someone to receive a concealed-carry permit they must first show good cause, and according to an Op-Ed in the LA Times, “simply being concerned for one’s safety is not a good enough reason.” The Op-ed goes on to state that since California does not permit residents to openly carry weapons and the second amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, then the only option left for California is a reasonable concealed-carry law.
This does not rule out other factors that would prevent someone in California from being able to own a firearm. It is still illegal for someone with a felony record to own a firearm, it is also illegal for someone who is mentally ill to own a firearm. The new ruling, although it admits that the gun control law infringes on Californians’ Second Amendment rights, maintains that guns cannot be carried in certain locations, like near a school or government buildings.
By Rachel Woodruff