A federal appeals court has ruled that people can carry a gun in public for self-defense in line with the US Constitution’s Second Amendment.
The ruling by a three-judge panel on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday found that Hawaii overstepped its authority to regulate firearms possession outside the home.
In a 2-1 decision, the panel concluded that Hawaii violated the rights of plaintiff George Young when it twice denied him a permit to openly carry a gun in public.
“We do not take lightly the problem of gun violence,” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote in Tuesday’s ruling. “But, for better or for worse, the Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”
Meanwhile, State Attorney General Russell Suzuki said the ruling would “undermine Hawaii’s strong gun control law and our commitment to protect the public.”
Hawaii is among the 15 US states that requires a license or permit people to openly carry a handgun.
Alan Beck, a lawyer for the plaintiff in Tuesday’s ruling, said he believed whether openly carrying firearms is good would eventually be decided by the Supreme Court.
“I think the Supreme Court is receptive to this,” Beck said.
In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment guaranteed an individual’s right to keep guns at home for self-defense.
President Donald Trump, who is seeking to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat, has been an outspoken ally to the gun lobby both as a candidate and president. After taking office, he told the National Rifle Association convention that they had a "true friend and champion in the White House."
More than 100,000 people are shot each year in the US at a total cost of $45 billion, according to a study published in the journal Health Affairs after a mass shooting in Las Vegas.