Reducing The Second Amendment To An ‘Inkblot’


Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Ninth Circuit announced its decision in Young v. State of Hawaii on March 24th in an en banc decision that fundamentally erodes the right to carry a firearm outside the home. 

In the 200+ page majority opinion, the Court rules that there is no fundamental right to carry outside of the home, and, frankly, there are too many errors in the judicial theory to point out in just one article. 

The case is about a petitioner who attempted to obtain a concealed carry permit from the state of Hawaii but was continually denied. The facts related to the case are largely unimportant to the Court’s baseless holding. 

The Court says that DC v. Heller only protects the individual right to bear arms for personal protection in the home. However, the 9th Circuit’s conclusion is a very narrow interpretation from Heller for an excessively broad conclusion in the current case.

In Heller, the Supreme Court overturned a Washington, D.C. statute that makes it illegal to keep a loaded firearm in a residence for protection. But the decision also affirms that the Second Amendment is an individual right. Other individual rights aren’t merely limited to the home. Take the 14th Amendment, for instance, a person born in the United States doesn’t simply lose their citizenship when passing through the door of their home. 

The Ninth Circuit’s decision is circumnavigating a number of doctrines and precedent that has been set in stone by the Supreme Court since the 18th century in an attempt to cherry-pick arbitrary and vastly outdated statutes related to deadly weapons. The court even says that 18th-century statutes are more applicable to the meaning of the Second Amendment than those of the 20th century. 

The judges in the majority point towards a number of old statutes that prohibited carrying deadly weapons, not just firearms, in certain public settings. They then trample over 200 years of statutory history to reach the conclusion that some minor restrictions on carrying deadly weapons outside of the house proves there is no fundamental right to carry firearms outside of the home at all. 

The majority goes on to say that this issue is not entitled to the “strict scrutiny” test because Hawaii’s statute requiring a concealed carry permit does not erode the core of the Second Amendment. How can someone rationally argue that the individual right to carry a firearm outside of the home is not a core tenant of the Second Amendment?

The Common Use doctrine, created in US v. Miller and later strengthened in DC v. Heller, is only mentioned one time in the entire decision by the court. The Common Use doctrine protects popular firearms and the common ways they are used by people from regulatory death. States have provided for citizens to legally carry firearms outside of their homes for well over 100 years. Millions of Americans carry loaded firearms with them every single day. Is that not enough to prove common use? 

One dissent in the case with three Ninth Circuit judges joining rightfully takes shots at the majority’s logic. The dissent claims the majority “reduces the right to ‘bear Arms’ to a mere inkblot.” 

The one saving grace in this decision is that it only applies to handguns. The majority specifically says it does not address the same issue related to rifles and shotguns. But now is not the time for Second Amendment activists to take a vacation. Another branch of government is already taking aim at hundreds of millions of rifles. 

There is no telling whether the decision will be appealed or even if the Supreme Court will grant cert. However, the Court would be remiss to let this dumpster-fire decision stand as precedent for years to come. 

Unfortunately, we have just scratched the surface of the issues in the 200-plus page opinion. There are far more legal issues associated with this opinion than can be picked out in this short article. 

More and more courts are taking up Second Amendment issues. Just one day after this decision was announced, the Sixth Circuit ruled against the ATF’s machine gun classification of bump stocks.

In an era where firearm and ammunition sales are skyrocketing, gun control measures that are being threatened by the left will only ensure a Republican wave in the midterm elections and a sweeping takeover of the White House in 2024.

Taylor Giles is a political science and strategic communications major at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. In addition to being an outspoken critic of politics, Taylor is an outdoor and shooting enthusiast.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Taylor Giles

West Virginia University

Taylor Giles is a political science and strategic communications major at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. In addition to being an outspoken critic of politics, Taylor is an outdoor and shooting enthusiast.

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