Hawaii’s strict limit on openly carrying firearms is legal, a panel of federal appeals court judges ruled today in a lawsuit by a man who repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to obtain a license to carry a loaded firearm in public.
George Young’s attorney said he will ask the US Supreme Court to review the case. “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will grant a review in Mr. Young’s case,” said attorney Alan Beck.
Young wants to carry a weapon in self-defense and says not being able to do so violates his rights. His 2012 lawsuit was dismissed, and a judge sided with officials who said the Second Amendment only applied to guns that were kept in homes.
He appealed. Later, three federal appeals court judges ruled in his favor, but the state requested a more comprehensive panel of judges to hear the case.
That 11-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today “held that the Second Amendment does not guarantee a general and unrestricted right to bear arms openly in public for individual self-defense. Accordingly, Hawaii’s firearm carrying plan is legal. “
The Second Amendment allows states to “enact common sense regulations like the ones we have in Hawaii,” State Attorney General Clare Connors said in a statement. The ruling duly upholds the constitutionality of Hawaii’s “long-standing law that allows people to carry firearms openly in public when they are licensed to do so,” he said.
Hawaii has a “de facto ban” on carrying guns in public, Beck said.
It’s not an outright ban because people can carry firearms if they have good cause, Neal Katyal, a lawyer representing Hawaii, argued before the panel in September.
The ruling comes on the same day that the Hawaii attorney general’s office issued a report showing that all private citizens who applied for licenses to carry a gun in public in 2020 were denied.
Last year, statewide, 123 employees of private security companies applied for and were issued carrying licenses and one was denied, according to the report.
Young’s requests did not identify “the urgency or need” to openly carry a firearm in public, the ruling noted: “Instead, Young was based on his general desire to carry a firearm in self-defense.”
Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, one of the four dissenting justices, wrote that the majority’s conclusion that the Second Amendment only guarantees the right to own a firearm for self-defense within one’s home, “is so unheard of. as extreme “.