A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that there is no Constitutional right to open carry guns in public, CNN reports.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a 7-4 ruling upholding Hawaii’s law restricting open carry in public after a resident sued, claiming the state violated his right to walk around with a handgun outside his home.
Hawaii’s law does not ban open carry but requires licenses to do so and limits the licenses to people who show they need a gun because of "reason to fear injury" to "person or property."
"There is no right to carry arms openly in public; nor is any such right within the scope of the Second Amendment," Judge Jay Bybee, a George W. Bush appointee, said in the majority opinion.
States can regulate open carry:
"The contours of the government's power to regulate arms in the public square is at least this: the government may regulate, and even prohibit, in public places—including government buildings, churches, schools, and markets—the open carrying of small arms capable of being concealed, whether they are carried concealed or openly,” Bybee wrote in the decision.
"Our review of more than 700 years of English and American legal history reveals a strong theme: government has the power to regulate arms in the public square," he added. "History is messy and, as we anticipated, the record is not uniform, but the overwhelming evidence from the states' constitutions and statutes, the cases, and the commentaries confirms that we have never assumed that individuals have an unfettered right to carry weapons in public spaces."
Case may go to Supreme Court:
The case could be appealed to the Supreme Court, which has avoided Second Amendment decisions in the last decade after striking down DC’s gun ban.
Four judges dissented on Wednesday.
"The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees 'the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,'" wrote Judge Diarmuid O’Scannilain. "Today, a majority of our court has decided that the Second Amendment does not mean what it says. Instead, the majority holds that while the Second Amendment may guarantee the right to keep a firearm for self-defense within one's home, it provides no right whatsoever to bear—i.e., to carry—that same firearm for self defense in any other place."