The Corner

9th Circuit: The Second Amendment Protects the Right to Carry a Gun

A big decision from the 9th Circuit today. Per Eugene Volokh:

The court concludes that California’s broad limits on both open and concealed carry of loaded guns — with no “shall-issue” licensing regime that assures law-abiding adults of a right to get licenses, but only a “good cause” regime under which no license need be given — “impermissibly infringe[] on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.”

In other words, one has the right to carry a gun. The state can elect to recognize this by permitting either “shall-issue” concealed-carry or “shall-issue” open carry, but it cannot restrict or prohibit both.

The key part, as noted by Ace of Spades’s Gabriel Malor, is this:

The Second Amendment secures the right not only to “keep” arms but also to “bear” them—the verb whose original meaning is key in this case. Saving us the trouble of pulling the eighteenth-century dictionaries ourselves, the Court already has supplied the word’s plain meaning: “At the time of the founding, as now, to ‘bear’ meant to ‘carry.’” Heller, 554 U.S. at 584.3 Yet, not “carry” in the ordinary sense of “convey[ing] or transport[ing]” an object, as one might carry groceries to the check-out counter or garments to the laundromat, but “carry for a particular purpose—confrontation.” Id.

The circuit courts are split on this question, and it is likely that this — or a case like it — will make its way to the Supreme Court before long. The full opinion is here.

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