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Liberal appeals court affirms that open carry is protected by the Second Amendment

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Second Amendment protects the right to openly carry a firearm outside the home. (Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, known as a liberal court, ruled Tuesday that the Second Amendment protects citizens' right to openly carry a firearm outside the home, according to The Washington Post.

A partial panel issued the 2-1 ruling in the case of Young v. Hawaii, determining that George Young's constitutional rights were violated when Hawaii officials denied him a permit to carry his weapon openly in public for self defense.

A lower court had previously ruled that the Second Amendment only applied to guns in the home.

Why did the court rule this way?

According to the decision, the state tried to deny Young an open carry permit by enforcing a limitation of open carry to those "engaged in the protection of life and property," which the court rejected.

"The panel stated that once identified as an individual right focused on self-defense, the right to bear arms must guarantee some right to self-defense in public," the decision read. "... The panel concluded that Hawaii's limitation on the open carry of firearms to those 'engaged in the protection of life and property' violated the core of the Second Amendment and was void under any level of scrutiny."

What will this mean for gun rights?

University of California at Los Angeles law professor Adam Winkler said this ruling could force western liberal states to allow more guns in public.

"States like Hawaii and California will have to allow far more guns on the streets than they do today," Winkler told The Washington Post. "States would be able to ban concealed carry but only if they allow people to carry their guns openly displayed."

Is this issue settled?

There's a good chance this ruling could be appealed to the full panel of the 9th Circuit Court, and dissenting Judge Richard Clifton said the Supreme Court will probably have to make the final call.

"In light of the already existing circuit split, I assume that the Supreme Court will find it appropriate at some point to revisit the reach of the Second Amendment and to speak more precisely to the limits on the authority of state and local governments to impose restrictions on carrying guns in public," Clifton wrote in his opinion.


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