Ninth Circuit’s good gun-rights decisions

David French of National Review Online detects an unlikely source for decisions upholding constitutional gun rights.

These are words I never, ever thought I’d type: Two different panels of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals have written opinions that — taken together — provide not only the proper roadmap for understanding the right to “keep and bear arms” but also the proper roadmap for effective, constitutional gun control. …

… Taken together, these two Ninth Circuit panels have articulated three principles — each based on originalist readings of the Second Amendment and solid historical evidence — that should guide gun-rights jurisprudence at the Supreme Court.

First, the Second Amendment does, in fact, protect weapons that are related to militia use — especially when those weapons are in common use for a lawful purpose. This principle can and should preclude the vast majority of so-called “assault weapons” bans and bans on standard-capacity magazines in semi-automatic rifles and pistols.

Second, states must permit gun owners to “bear” arms outside the home. While I largely concur with the reasoning that the original public meaning of the Second Amendment does not require protection for concealed carry, if a state bans concealed carry, it must permit open carry.

Third, when dealing with weapons in common use for lawful purposes, the form of gun control that is best designed to preserve public safety — while also respecting constitutional rights — is gun control that is individualized and evidence-based, based on the user, not general, based on the weapon.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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