Up in Arms about the 9th Circuit?

On Thursday, March 24th, the United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit gave a 7-4 en banc opinion in GEORGE YOUNG, JR. V. STATE OF HAWAII, rejecting a challenge to Hawaii’s requirement that residents must pass an application process to have weapons outside the home.

The question presented in this case was limited to whether individuals have a right to carry weapons openly in public.  Hawai‘i’s firearm licensing law, requires that residents seeking a license to openly carry a firearm in public must demonstrate “the urgency or the need” to carry a firearm, must be of good moral character, and must be “engaged in the protection of life and property.” Hawai‘i County’s regulations are even more demanding. The regulations seem to consider open carry permit applications to be available only to “private detectives and security guards.” In fact, the first subheading reads “Rules and Regulations Governing the Carrying of Concealed Weapons and the Carrying of Weapons by Private Detectives and Security Guards.” The regulation also provides the chief of police a mechanism by which to cancel a previously issued carry permit.

After canvassing the historical record, we concluded that “the Second Amendment does not protect the right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.

The 9th used the same historical basis of Hawaii’s long tradition of restricting firearms, from even before it became a state in 1959.  Other Circuits have not been inclined to delve into the historical record. At no point does the referenced record point out the restrictions were used by white businessmen to subdue and unite a brown native population through arming Kamehameha’s Rule over the islands.

There may or may not be a Second Amendment right for a member of the general public to carry a firearm openly in public. The Supreme Court has not answered that question, and we do not answer it here.

Proving to be a busy week for the Second Amendment, on Wednesday, March 24th,  The U.S. Supreme Court on heard oral argument in Caniglia v. Strom, a case that could have sweeping consequences for policing, due process, and mental health, with the Biden Administration and attorneys general from nine states urging the High Court to uphold warrantless gun confiscation.

As a firearms instructor and military veteran, I find all these cases and pending legislation a disturbing trend. Legislation bothers me less because it is often political theater used to drive donations from the base of both legacy parties.  They both use the Second Amendment as a wedge issue, neither side attempting to resolve the problems they use to sound the alarm.

Personally, I would rather see individuals held accountable for their actions, studies on what caused their actions, and evaluations of medications often prescribed to the individuals involved in the shootings.  Mental health is an area of the human physiology that we so often ignore as if it were not part of the whole.  Let’s address that issue. Even without guns, someone experiencing a psychotic break will find ways to do damage on a large scale.  The laws of unintended consequences say, they would find ways to possibly do much more damage on a greater scale, without knives and guns, such as the Murrah Federal building bombing in Oklahoma City.

Even in the case of domestic blowback from foreign intervention, it should be dealt with on the individual basis here and the international basis there.  By that I mean, if a person takes a life, give them their day in court and sentence them as appropriate.  Internationally, stop bombing other countries creating new martyrs ready to die for a cause we brought on ourselves. Our government should be held to the same legal standard we are as individuals. For example, here in Ohio we must demonstrate a reasonable and honest belief of imminent & unavoidable serious bodily injury or death. How many actions and countries are we in right now that we can honestly provide an answer to the legal standard held to us as individuals?

Additionally, taking it a step further, I would like to see Qualified Immunity removed from those that use their positions as a shield from liability while overstepping their roles of service to the community. The Chief of Police should not be the decider of who has a Second Amendment right to self-protection. No government representative should have more or less responsibility or regulation than we as individuals.

Finally, it is possible to see this 9th Circuit ruling in a positive light. Perhaps this will finally make it to the Supreme Court, forcing a ruling on the meaning of the words, “shall not be infringed”.


9th Circuit US Court covers AK, HI, CA, AZ, OR, WA, & MT


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