The infamously liberal Federal Ninth Circuit Court of appeals has struck down a California law practically banning people from carry a gun in public for self defense in the Peruta v. San Diego case. The decision struck down requirements of "need" or "cause" to carry a handgun in public based on violent threats to a person as unconstitutional. In other words, the State cannot restrict an individual from carrying a firearm because a government official doesn't think they face enough threats to justify doing so and affirms carrying a gun in public for self defense is in fact a protected right under the Second Amendment. The ruling based much of its decision on the prior Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller and makes clear that the right to "bear arms" is equal in definition to "carrying arms.
From the decision:
The Second Amendment secures the right not only to “keep” arms but also to “bear” them—the verb whose original meaning is key in this case. Saving us the trouble of pulling the eighteenth-century dictionaries ourselves, the Court already has supplied the word’s plain meaning: “At the time of the founding, as now, to ‘bear’ meant to ‘carry.’” Heller, 554 U.S. at 584.3 Yet, not “carry” in the ordinary sense of “convey[ing] or transport[ing]” an object, as one might carry groceries to the check-out counter or garments to the laundromat, but “carry for a particular purpose—confrontation.”
The decision released by the Court reaffirms the decision of District of Columbia v Heller that the Second Amendment is an individual right, not a collective one.
UPDATE: It is important to point out that government still have the ability to restrict carry, meaning that concealed carry can be banned while open carry is allowed and vice versa, but heavy restrictions on both are unconstitutional. One or the other must be allowed.
CATO's David Kopel explains what's next with different courts on this issue:
Today’s decision creates a split of the Seventh and Ninth Circuits vs. the Second, Third, and Fourth Circuits. The Peruta Court says that Circuits 2-4 erred by relying on cases which are, pursuant to Heller, incorrect, because those cases say that the only purpose of the Second Amendment is for the militia; Heller teaches that the Second Amendment right includes personal self-defense, and need not be connected to militia service.
UPDATE II: The National Rifile Association, which supported this case financially and with a friend of the court brief, has released a statement.
“No one should have to wait until they are assaulted before they are allowed to exercise their fundamental right of self-defense,” said Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “The U.S. Supreme Court has already affirmed our Constitutional right to Keep Arms, and today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the right to Bear Arms. Our fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms is not limited to the home,” concluded Cox.
The case is headed to the Supreme Court.
This is a major win for the Second Amendment and for those who want to protect themselves from becoming victims of a crime.
Stay tuned for updates and statements from Second Amendment groups.
Editor's note: This post has been updated.