In Young v. Hawaii, 896 F.3d 1044 (9th Cir. 2018), a three-judge panel of Ninth Circuit appellate judges unexpectedly declared Hawaii’s good reason permitting scheme for open carry of firearms to be unconstitutional for violating the Second Amendment. The State of Hawaii would not accept that ruling, and asked the full Ninth Circuit to re-hear its appeal and reinstate Hawaii’s de facto ban on carrying firearms outside the home. That request was granted on February 8, 2019, but any success Hawaii might have in the full Ninth Circuit is likely to be short lived, or even still-born, because we expect the Supreme Court to declare good reason permitting schemes like Hawaii’s to be unconstitutional, in a case to be heard this fall: New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, No. 18-280. Read on for details.
On January 22, 2019, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in a Second Amendment case, ending nearly three years of silence regarding the scope of the Second Amendment – since Caetano v. Massachusetts, 136 S. Ct. 1027 (2016). The Court granted cert in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, No. 18-280, a case from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. NYSRPA appears to present the Supreme Court with an opportunity to speak to the full scope of the right to keep and bear arms, including the core rights of all citizens to keep firearms at home and to carry firearms on one’s person outside the home.
The courts’ post-Heller assault on the right to carry in public and on the type of firearms protected by the Second Amendment continues apace, and the Supreme Court is likely to face these issues in the foreseeable future. When it does, the Court will hold in its hands the constitutional right that protects all of our other cherished freedoms from being abridged (and eventually eliminated) by perpetually expanding, irrepressibly overreaching, tyrannical government. The Court had better get it right when it rules on these issues, because our basic liberties as Americans (especially the fundamental freedoms that make some among us uncomfortable), will depend on what the Court decides with respect to the full scope and intended meaning of the Second Amendment.
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