Gun rights activists are furious in the wake of a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that there is no Second Amendment right for members of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.
The 7-4 split decision brought grimaces from Second Amendment advocates across the landscape, as they went to social media to voice their frustrations. The ruling may be read here.
Not surprisingly, the split was basically along conservative-liberal lines. The seven-judge majority includes five who were appointed by President Bill Clinton, one appointed by Lyndon B. Johnson and one appointed by Barack Obama. On the dissenting panel were three judges appointed by President George W. Bush and one Clinton appointee.
“The ruling misrepresented our complaint,” said Alan M. Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, which was a plaintiff in one of the two cases affected by the ruling. “We never argued that there was a right to concealed carry. Our complaint was that there is a right to carry and the law in question did not allow it in any form. The court ignored what this case was really about to get around the challenge we raised.”
Attorney Chuck Michel of California, who represented plaintiffs in one of the cases, hinted that there may be an appeal to the U.S Supreme Court. He noted that the ruling “specifically avoided answering the critical legal question of whether, if concealed carry is prohibited, some form of open carry of firearms must be allowed.”
“California law bans open carry, so the constitutionality of that ban will now have to be tested,” Michel said.
There is no state constitutional right to bear arms provision in the California state constitution. But there are such provisions in most other state constitutions, including Washington, which specifically delineates the “right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”
This ruling may be a cold wake-up slap to gun owners who may not be registered to vote, or may decide to sit out this fall’s election because they don’t care for the presidential ticket.
Elections do matter, Gottlieb noted today. Federal judges are nominated by the president and they are lifetime appointments. If elected president, Hillary Rodham Clinton will be making those judicial nominations and she has already told supporters at a private event last fall that she thinks the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment.
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