The Liberal-Leaning Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Right to Self-Defense

Pediment of the U.S. Supreme Court building

Rub your eyes now, because you are not going to believe what you are about to read. Two different panels of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals have written opinions that, when taken together, equate to a roadmap for the right to “keep and bear arms” with the right to open or constitutional carry for self-defense.

Brown handled .38 in a light tan Galco holster
This .38 carries well in a Galco holster. The .38 Special is a realistic minimum for concealed carry.

Magazine Bans

Last week, a divided court affirmed a trial court’s injunction blocking the state of California’s confiscation of so-called “large capacity” magazines. The court made two important statements. The first was that the Second Amendment protected ownership of weapons that have a “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia.” The second key statement to the ruling statted “the ammunition for a weapon is similar to the magazine for a weapon.” That meant the state of California’s ban on magazines over 10 rounds was invalid under protections granted by the Second Amendment.

This new ruling, combined with Heller’s clear statement that the Second Amendment protects weapons in “common use” for “lawful purposes,” clearly prohibits lawmakers from proclaiming firearms such as AR-15s to be assault weapons in an effort to diminish their protection under the constitution.

Constitutional Carry

The second case was decided yesterday. A different panel of judges (in a 2-1 decision) struck down the state of Hawaii’s ban on openly carrying weapons outside the home. While this is an important victory, it is also a shift in the court’s thinking. The Ninth Circuit had previously ruled that the Second Amendment did not “preserve or protect a right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.” I am not sure if the court has simply come to a better understanding or the confirmation of Associate Justice Gorsuch and nomination of Kavanagh to the Supreme Court has simply forced them to wave the flag of surrender.

The Ninth Circuit is made of Western states such as California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and a few more. Whichever way the court ruled, the decision is likely to be challenged and escalated to the Supreme Court.

The author of the majority opinion, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, used a comprehensive analysis of early-American and post-Civil War gun rights debates (including the racist history of Reconstruction-era carry limitations on black Americans) and concluded that while the Second Amendment may not protect a right to concealed carry, it most definitely protects a right to carry.

The practical effect of the decision, especially combined with other case law, demonstrates that the state has a choice: protect a right to concealed carry, protect a right to open carry, or protect both. But if you block a citizen’s right to carry entirely (or limit the right to a “small and insulated subset of law-abiding citizens”), you violate those citizens’ right to “bear” arms.

How do you think the latest rulings from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will affect gun legislation attempts by lawmakers in other jurisdictions? Share your answer in the comment section.


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Comments (49)

  1. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals made a Constitutional supportive 2nd Amendment decision…REALLY?!?!?!?!? isn’t that one of the 7 signs of apocalypse? Realistically it is politically astute for the circuit court to rule as it has; especially given the perceived makeup of the Supreme Court. Justices on the 9th aren’t dump and being unaligned with the Supreme Court isn’t in a judges future interest.

  2. Articles on these subjects continually refer to decisions by the 9th Circuit Court. The decision was by a three judge panel of the 9th Circuit, and these decision will very probably be reversed – based on past history with Second Amendment cases – when they are appealed to the full court.

  3. I agree the right to carry and the magazine capacity should not be limited two ten rounds. There are so many people that try to limit others right to carry open or own a weapon that has more then ten rounds. Thank you the the 9th Circuit court…

  4. Dudes, the US Supreme court is a PRIVATE organization, and so obviously are ALL the lower courts TODAY. Just check it on . They administer PUBLIC POLICY of the federal DEMOCRACY.
    What you can do is to return to the REPUBLIC, by becoming a WHITE CITIZEN.

    42 USC 1981

    “All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens,”.

    And you can follow me on Facebook:

  5. Don’t be complacent and naive about this 9th decision. There is a lot more behind the scene of their decision. A few short weeks ago they were advocating a ban, today its legal to carry and own a gun? Really now. Maybe they want illegal Aliens to have guns legally! Maybe they want civil uprising as soon as possible so they can squash the action and then take our guns away in the name of gaining civil obedience once again. I don’t know but it is not as simple as underscoring our rights out of the 9th. They have trampled our rights for generations.

  6. The people at large are not “a well regulated militia”. Therefore these rulings are predicated on a falsehood. The motivation behind this is purely political and aimed at further dividing the American people. When the states reassert their rights to form and maintain true state militias then we will finally be able to put the 2nd amendment debate to rest.

  7. Pete … Unfortunately, I agree with you 100%! You pretty much stated everything my “spidey senses” were saying to me as I read this article. We should all know better by now than to believe that anything that seems to be rightful and Constitutional coming from our government willingly does not come without a curve. We need to remain vigilant as I believe the chips have just been slide to the center of the table.

  8. As long as D3MORATS AND LIBERALS remain clueless as to resolve the problem if gun violence they only have one option to continue getting voted into 8ffice by gullible LIBERALS to to find a escape goat and that’s us few.
    TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020 TRUMP2020

  9. I fail to understand the logic behind it being legal to open carry but not to carry concealed. That is law-making by judges. I don’t find anything in the 2nd amendment about concealed or open carry.

    1. The court actually said the state had three choices, open carry, concealed carry, or both.

    2. With all the changes I’m wondering how it will effect the regular person and if the courts rule that open carry is constitutional (as it states in the constitution0 why is there still a process for permit. the law need to be clean and clear. Open carry is constitutional as covered without the need of further permission, needed.

    3. The court may have been drawing on history. Back in the day when there were very few restrictions on carrying arms in public (Native Americans and freed slaves prohibited) it seemed dishonest for anyone wanting to carry concealed. Made folks wonder who you wanted to get the drop on. Everyone that carried then, carried openly (side arms and long guns). Some jurisdiction did prohibit concealed carry, as one of the earliest gun control laws on the books.

  10. The comments noted here and on other sites is not unexpected. Given the current state of the upper courts and the makeup of their benches, even the 9th would find it difficult to stand against the Constitutional Current. Both of these decisions are wins for the 2nd A.

    However, make no mistake. This battle isn’t over yet or won. The current decisions by the 9th will see challenges brought to the Halls of the Supreme Court. What the 9th May have done by putting forth these two decisions is to have finally opened the door to what might be termed as unrestricted warfare on the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Not only will the anti-2nd Amendment supporters find this a direct threat to their agendas, so will Supporters of States Rights and of course the Socialist Liberal National Democratic movement in general will perceive these decisions as directly aimed at them and will twist them to their own use in any way they can regardless of facts or reality.

    The 9th’s decisions may serve to bring unification to these factions that has been difficult for them to forge and maintain. The two-edged sword seems to have been fully un-sheathed with these edicts from the 9th.

    Do not yet celebrate this as victory or take your eyes off of the Socialist Liberal opposition as these decisions are more likely to widen the battle than rein it in.

    These decisions by the Liberal 9th Circuit Court are indeed historic and from this commenters POV very welcome.

    One would like to think that the 9th has changed it’s Liberal course in midstream because they believe it to be the right direction for the Republic and the Constitution. I’m suggesting it may be more calculating and manipulative then being that simple. These decisions will force states to reconsider those laws which they have enacted and may be considered unconstitutional, anti-2A, and severely restrictive and in light of these new decisions may be struck down. In effect the 9th has removed the gloves, declared unrestricted open civil warfare, and seems to have washed their hands of further involvement in the hope that they have further muddied the waters.

    Do I hope I am wrong an that this has been a good sign of common sense law? You bet I do.

    Am I willing to accept this out of hand an as is given the source? No, I am not.

    Beware them who oppose you when they arrive to your door with smiles, bearing gifts.

    1. Good luck if you’re in New York State.Let’s be blunt:New York City is a hostile foreign country-not merely another state. Too bad we haven’t been able so far to remove Cuomo and his minions.The New York State Republican Party is a prime cause[they didn’t support Astorino in the last election]as well as the complacent firearms owners].Will everyone remember this in the November elections??In the meanwhile I’m open to referrals tor rural land in some other state.

    2. Pete … Unfortunately, I agree with you 100%! You pretty much stated everything my “spidey senses” were saying to me as I read this article. We should all know better by now than to believe that anything that seems to be rightful and Constitutional coming from our government willingly does not come without a curve. We need to remain vigilant as I believe the chips have just been slide to the center of the table.

    3. Pete in Alaska:

      I too must agree with your vert astute observations. Your last sentence succinctly sends and important message. The Trojans were right and this thing is starting to look like a horse.

  11. That must mean that the politicians and their body guards can now use large mags, etc. Oops – I forgot. Gun laws don’t apply to politicians.

  12. It’s good news until Hawaii demands an en banc hearing. Then we’ll see if the 9th Circus is moving right.

    Meanwhile, if it stands, expect states to erect barriers or “standards” to increase costs or create technical violations. An extreme example: requiring at least a Level II retention holster — in bright pink or “safety yellow” –when worn in public. Morel likely, they’ll make up some kind of annual “inspection” régime that requires a certificate to be sent in and an inspection card carried. (Instant gun registry.)

    They will try. It’s up to us to demand they follow the constitution.

  13. Hopefully this will reverse the law that was enacted yesterday in New Jersey regarding 10 round maximum magazines for civilians. Police officers will be allowed to carry more off-duty.

    1. Natural Law is even self evident to the animals. One has the right to defend their life liberty and property. A squirrel will bite when attacked. A fox will escape from a cage. A bear will protect his fish dinner. Humans with the blessed ability of reason ought to obviously see this as self evident truth.

    2. The crux of your defense illustrates that Natural law means using what you have endemic to your species without the addition of anything else.
      If that is your point, we should only be biting,kicking,and,gouging one another.


  14. Guys, thank you. I think this is great news for people who need to protect themselves whether it be coming home late from work, etc. Or simply being a smaller figure person (or me who is a medium build guy) who doesn’t have the strength to fight a crazy person, or multiple persons for that matter.

  15. Here in New York we need help. The governor has done everything possible to restrict law-abiding citizens their gun rights. He has unilaterally passed laws which are indirect conflict with our 2nd Amendment rights. I have been an NRA supporter for over 35 years and supported the reference all the way. When it was time for the people of New York needed help and back in the NRA was quiet and silent and abandon the good people of New York when they needed them the most. We have a saying in the Marine Corps, no man left behind, the NRA failed us, and left us all behind. It’s time the NRA take on the Governor Cuomo and his ridiculous laws and kick this man out of office. Words show a man’s wit, his actions are his meaning.

    1. The NRA can’t kick Cuomo out of office, the people of the state have to VOTE him out. The NRA hasn’t failed you, you failed yourselves when he got voted in.

    2. You are the NRA. Don’t stand by and hope that someone else will fight your battles. The members have to do the work through the NRA. Donate, volunteer, get involved, and get others involved. Vote the anti-2nd Amendment politicians out of office.

  16. What a pleasant surprise! It’ll be interesting to see how the ruling on magazines will effect other states like Colorado that also have a ban on magazines over 10 rounds.

  17. Of the twenty-seven words contained in our Second Amendment nowhere do I see any caveats allowing for the government, any government state or local the ability or responsibility to restrict my God given and constitutionally protected right of self preservation. I see plenty of elected officials who would just as soon try and TAKE our God given right by usurpetive fiat while at the same time refusing to abide by their oaths of office.

    It should be apparent to everyone that we have far too many statutes that are IGNORED while blaming victims and everyone else when the blame lies squarely on their shoulders. These Anti-gun crusaders are merely attempting to deflect from their failures as civic public and government “leaders” so they needn’t answer for their malfeasance.

    We all know there are statutes against murdering people however, those statutes don’t seem to matter when the media goes off full tilt on their anti-gun platform when a firearm is involved. All one needs to realize that the media always over-involves themselves to the point of being hyper stupid. After a bombing the media will blame the bomber, however after a shooting they blame the gun

    The media further perpetuates this carnage by giving these depraved individuals what they sought in the first place their fifteen minutes of fame however with Cruz it’s more than a week!! They are not smart enough to realize by doing so they are inspiring others to act in a similar fashion.

    We already have laws on the books to curb violence yet you Leftopathic Deep State Globalists REFUSE to be realistic and adopt and implement REAL solutions. The reason they don’t is because if there were to actually be any solution for these problems there would be nothing left for them to politicize and we know the Leftopathic Deep State Globalist platform would be irrelevant and we definitely cannot have that now can we??

    The solution to protect our most valuable assets (our children) which cannot be replaced the Leftopathic Deep State Globalists want herded into DEFENSELESS Target Rich environments AKA Gun free zones which might as well post signage stating “Attention Criminals -This is a personal defense-free zone. All Law-abiding citizens at this establishment have been disarmed for your convenience and safety”

    On the reciprocal since MONEY is all the Leftopathic Deep State Globalists care for and all but DEMAND that the worthless script (which can be replaced) they idolize be guarded, stored, and transported having 24/7 security and ARMED GUARDS which speaks volumes.

    With that said the Leftopathic Deep State Globalists MORONS keep enacting more and more laws while NEVER enforcing them We have laws against murder yet you bleeding heart Leftopathic Deep State Globalists REFUSE to apply the appropriate punishment then ALLOW these criminals to repeat their heinous actions now that’s not only irresponsible but INSANE!!! ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛABE.

  18. Until Cuomo,the NYS[and esp. NYC] Democrats and their closet allies [downstate Republicans]are removed,we’re screwed in New York State;even some local western NY Republicans are too wimpy to remove/restrict the “UN”Safe Act.CA and HI are to me,merely west coast equivalents of NY.

  19. Constitutional carry is the way it should be in all states. Once you pass a background check that should be all that is needed although getting gun classes is a smart thing to do for all but voluntary.

  20. I have carried legally (and otherwise) for most of my life and have had several instances where the mere presence of my firearm stopped physical harm to myself and others. I am convinced that, had I done otherwise, I would be dead.

  21. What was not discussed was the fact the attorneys practicing in the state of Hawaii are in bed with the judges. They depend on getting face time in front of a judge who doesn’t want conflict in his/her court. No jury nullification, no waves. It’s a legal system there, no justice.

  22. I have always felt that Americans have a right to carry and possess firearms. Any restriction or denial of that right in violation of the 2nd Amendment. I glad that courts are finally supporting the 2nd Amendment and not their personal agendas.

  23. I will be amazed if it affects lawmakers in the State of New Jersey. One of the most Anti Gunn states in our country.

  24. By the letter of the law, this shouldn’t be surprising. However, it seems the 9th circuit court has failed to acknowledge the letter of the law for some time now. It’s good to see the constitution win for a change, but it appears electoral politics is playing a heavier influence in the decision than good judges acknowledging what our constitution demands.

  25. I think this was a great decision by the 9th circuit court. I also believe that it will be challenged and the Supreme Court will have to hear the case. Hopefully their decision will favor the gun owners and uphold the Second amendment only then will believe that this country’s starting to get back on track as the Founding Fathers intended.

  26. Liberals will not stop passing unconstitutional laws that have previously been struck down. They want to make life as miserable and expensive as possible for gun owners. If the money they waste came out of their pockets instead of the tax payers, they would stop immediately.

  27. It’s very encouraging to see the Supreme Court keeping their oath to uphold and protect the Constitution.

  28. Very strange indeed. History can run a straight line for a while before it decides to loop back to the starting point. It is beginning to appear as though 2nd Amendment supporters are facing the dawn of Gun Ownership Heaven! I believe that it will loop back when we no longer have President Trump or someone like him, and then all Hello is going to explode. I know that every nation will or has faced its Waterloo; I just hope ours is still a few hundred years away, and I pray we keep our firearms forever.

  29. Great news, though I first heard of the second case decision three days ago, even though the text (dated today) says decided yesterday.

    A pity that these decisions have taken so long to get here, but (assuming they get through any demands for an en banc hearing and any SCOTUS decision, I look forward to enjoying the last few years of my active life able to freely carry as I wish, whether concealed (my preference) or openly.

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