SAN FRANCISCO - At the James R. Browning U.S. Court of Appeals Building this morning, conservative Appeals Court Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote the 2-1 majority opinion stating that the states can ban open carry or they can ban concealed carry, but not both, and that refusing to grant a carry license of either kind when one is required by the state to carry a firearm is clearly unconstitutional.
Judge O’Scannlain's last ruling on gun rights overturned California's ban on concealed carry, and that ruling was itself overturned by the full 9th Circuit Court when they next convened. Most analysts expect the same to happen this time around as well -- which is what will very likely open up the can of worms and send it to the US Supreme Court.
Since the 2008 Heller decision when the Supremes ruled for the first time that the Constitution guarantees the right to possess a handgun at home for self-defense, courts have avoided Second Amendment issues like the plague. The reason why isn't hard to fathom; the fear of losing the power to control people by limiting their ability to defend themselves from their government among leftist judges probably haunts them in their sleep.
This time though, Pandora's Box awaits.
It's still early in this game, but a plausible sequence of events coming soon to a federal courtroom near you could go something about like this:
- The full 9th Circuit Court of
2923 federal circuit court judges (6 seats are vacant, with another emptying in just over two weeks from now) will almost certainly overturn this ruling. The question is when (more on that later).
- The NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation both sue and petition the US Supreme Court to enjoin the case. Here's where it gets iffy.
This stage probably won't happen until after Kavanaugh is appointed and seated; with even a tiny amount of timing and strategizing it'll happen that way. Courts just don't move that fast, and the GOP wants Kavanaugh seated ASAP just in case of an increasingly unlikely democrat takeover of either the Senate or House.
- They either succeed or don't succeed in getting the Supremes to take on the case. Chances of them taking on any particular case aren't good, but this could easily be one that they decide to go with. My reasoning is as follows:
- The subject matter. Gun rights are right up there near the top of the list of hot-button issues for a Thomas/Alito/Gorsuch/Kavanaugh quartet to approve (four judges are required to approve a case), with the possible swap out of Roberts for any of the aforementioned conservative circle members above.
- The extreme common-sense general nature of the original federal ruling. "States can ban open carry, or they can ban concealed carry, but not both."
That's practically what legal fairy tales are made of, right there. It doesn't get any simpler than that. Anything else would be a clear violation of a citizen's common right to self-defense and preservation of liberties against an oppressive, authoritarian government.
Or, what may be even more likely will happen:
- They do nothing. Knowing the high likelihood of it getting to the Supreme Court could scare the bejeezus out of them like the proverbial deer in the headlights. What liberal would want to be the one responsible for the snowball effect of having carrying rights extended across the whole country?
Now here's the nightmare scenario:
- The 9th Circuit doesn't overturn the ruling. Wait, what??? You said this was supposed to be bad, Gun Rights Watch dude!
- Instead, they wait for a gun-hating Supreme Court to return to the bench and overrule it then.
Is this likely? Not even a little. The way the court is stacked now and likely to become even more so, the lefties will be waiting decades for it to turn back in their favor. In the meantime, the west will see an unprecedented era of freedom they've never witnessed in nearly two centuries.
And that makes me happy.