Hawaii’s open-carry ban is lawful, federal appeals court rules

A panel of federal appeals court judges on Wednesday ruled in favor of Hawaii’s strict limits on openly carrying firearms.

The ruling by the 11-judge panel on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals is a legal blow to Hawaii resident George Young, who is suing the state over his inability to get a license to carry a loaded gun in public for self-defense, the Associated Press reported.

Young had argued that his Second Amendment rights are being violated by the state’s rejection to his license applications.

But the panel, “held that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an unfettered, general right to openly carry arms in public for individual self-defense,” the news service reported.

“Accordingly, Hawaii’s firearms-carry scheme is lawful.”

Young, the panel ruled, did not show “the urgency or the need” to carry a gun in public.

Assorted pistols on display that customers can rent to use on the range at Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, Va.
Assorted pistols on display that customers can rent to use on the range at Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, Va.
Getty Images

“Instead, Young relied upon his general desire to carry a firearm for self-defense,” the ruling noted.

His lawyer, Alan Beck, said he will ask the Supreme Court to take up the case, the report said.

A lawyer for the state, Neal Katyal, had argued that Hawaii does not outright ban people from carrying loaded guns in public, saying those with a good cause can obtain them.

A nonlethal pistol for sale.
A nonlethal pistol for sale.
TASS via Getty Images

In 2020, all private citizens in the state who applied for carry licenses were denied, according to a report by the Hawaii attorney general’s office.

Meanwhile, the state granted carry licenses to 123 private security firms employees who applied for them last year, the report said.

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