The Expanding Right To Bear Arms

Last week, the Ninth Circuit issued what Lyle Denniston calls “the most sweeping decision yet on the right to carry a gun in public places.” David Kopel points out that “shall issue” is becoming the rule rather than the exception:


Zach Weissmueller supports the ruling:

In its ruling, the court wrote that “to forbid nearly all forms of public arms bearing would be to destroy the right to bear arms entirely.” California issues concealed carry permits on a “may issue” basis, meaning that in many counties, citizens must apply to the county’s sheriff department and show “good cause” to have a [concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit]. A majority of states have a “shall issue” rule, which forces local governments to justify the denial of a permit by citing a criminal record, mental health issue, or some other potential public safety risk. Approximately 0.1% of California citizens have CCWs, which is almost 20 times lower than in the average shall-issue state, a statistic that supports the court’s opinion that the “good cause” rule is destroying, or at least severely hindering, the right to bear arms.

Mataconis expects SCOTUS to take up the question:

Once the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protected the keep a gun in one’s home for self-defense in Heller, and then ruled that, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment applied to the states in McDonald v. Chicago, it was inevitable that the day would come when the Federal Courts in general, and the Supreme Court specifically, would be required to rule on the issue of whether or not the right recognized in Heller extended beyond the confines of the home. Logically, of course, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t, and while there is arguably a good case to be made that states should be permitted to create some reasonable regulations when it comes to the right to carry, whether it be open or concealed, it seems unlikely that a Supreme Court that still treats Heller as good law will decide that individuals only have Second Amendment rights inside their home. How far the right extends beyond that is something we’ll have to wait to find out.