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Second Amendment’s Huge Victory: Open Carry Is a Constitutional Right

What's very likely the most liberal court in the country, the 9th Circuit, delivers a big triumph on Tuesday

The Second Amendment notched a huge victory on Tuesday in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — reputed to be the most liberal court in the country.

A three-judge panel ruled that the Constitution does, in fact, guarantee the right to openly carry a gun, reported Hot Air and other outlets.

The case centered on a gun owner in Hawaii, but it was a win for pro-Second Amendment activists everywhere.

In Tuesday’s ruling, two of the panel’s judges found in favor of George Young, a man who filed a lawsuit after being denied a permit to carry a gun outside his Hawaii home for self-defense purposes.

The Hawaii gun law is currently too restrictive, the panel found. Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote that the Hawaii law, which restricts open carry only to people whose jobs involve “protecting life or property,” would by necessity limit open carry permits only to “a small and insulated subset of law-abiding citizens.”

“Just as the Second Amendment does not protect a right to bear arms only in connection with a militia, it surely does not protect a right to bear arms only as a security guard,” wrote O’Scannlain. He was joined in his opinion by Judge Sandra Ikuta, as Law.com reported. (Judge Richard Clifton dissented from Tuesday’s ruling.)

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While the ruling could be overturned on appeal to the entire 9th District, Young’s attorney, Alan Beck, indicated he thought the case could go all the way to the highest court in the land.

“I think the Supreme Court is receptive to this,” Beck told Reuters.

“We do not take lightly the problem of gun violence,” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote of the decision, as Reuters noted. “But, for better or for worse, the Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”

Perhaps that’s a grudging nod to the Constitution, but the ruling speaks for itself: The right to bear arms has been legally upheld.

The 9th Circuit is based in San Francisco and holds jurisdiction over parts or all of nine western states — Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Just last week the 9th delivered another Second Amendment victory in Duncan v. Becerra, a case about a California referendum that would have banned “high capacity” magazines, reported Courthouse News and other outlets.

Related: Thomas Calls Second Amendment the High Court’s ‘Constitutional Orphan’

Another three-member 9th Circuit panel affirmed a federal judge’s order in that case, preliminarily barring California from enforcing a voter-approved ban on high-capacity gun magazines. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez temporarily blocked a portion of Proposition 63 that prohibits possession of magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, as several outlets reported.

The issue is set to go to trial this fall.

Neither last week’s victory nor Tuesday’s win was final, of course; the full 9th Circuit could review both decisions and turn back the other way.

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