9th Circuit Court rules: Carrying arms a right

BearArmsBy George Miller

There has been much debate about the meaning, scope and application of the Second Amendment, which reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The Ninth Circuit U.S. District Court ruled 2-1 in favor of plaintiffs in Peruta v. County of San Diego (9th Cir. Feb. 13, 2014).  Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain  said “the right to bear arms includes the right to carry an operable firearm outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense.”  The court has ruled that the requirement to establish a “good cause” (which is subject to interpretation by states and localities) to bear arms is unconstitutional, since it is a right to do so. Plaintiffs made a rather narrow challenge, focused on the requirement to demonstrate “good cause.” Key sentence from the ruling:

“As in the district court, on appeal the applicants place one argument at center
stage: they assert that by defining “good cause” in San Diego County’s permitting
scheme to exclude a general desire to carry for self-defense, the County
impermissibly burdens their Second Amendment right to bear arms”

A previous landmark case, District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S.570 (2008), and McDonald v. City of Chicago, 130 S. Ct. 3020 (2010), clarified the right to possess arms at home and that defense was the key reason for the Second Amendment. But this ruling advances the clarification of rights by making and clarifying the distinction between “keeping” (Heller case) and “bearing,” to mean physically carrying on a person, outside of the home.  It appears to address both open and concealed carry.

The 77 page ruling is followed by lone dissenter Thomas’ argument of 48 pages, which seemed focused on concealed weapons. The length and complexity of the texts arguing over the 27 word Second Amendment shows the controversy that has been going on over it, especially this part about the Heller ruling:

“Since the goal is to arrive at a fair, not a hyper-literal, reading of the
Constitution’s language, Heller’s analysis is necessarily a contextual—and
therefore a historical—one.”

It also stresses the the right is not unrestricted, but subject to some limits, although the Constitution doesn’t quite read that way with “shall not be infringed.”

9thCircuitThere exists a constitutional crisis, since 9th and 7th Districts have ruled to overturn restrictions, while rulings in three other Eastern districts (2nd, 3rd, 4th), have upheld restrictions. Expect an appeal. It is very likely that it will ultimately have to go to the Supreme Court.

Here’s the actual ruling:



Parties to the suit:

Plaintiffs – Appellants,
D. GORE, individually and in his capacity
as Sheriff,
Defendants – Appellees.

Peruta v. County of San Diego (9th Cir. Feb. 13, 2014)




Some relevant articles:







A work cited in the ruling:  Eugene Volokh, Implementing the Right to Keep and Bear Arms for Self-Defense: An Analytical Framework and a Research Agenda, 56 UCLA L. Rev. 1443, 1515 (2009)

ConstitutionGunA previous key CJ article on Second Amendment:





George Miller is Publisher of Citizensjournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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“Shall not be infringed” means what to those who want to “infringe” on the right to “keep and bear” arms. Do you “bear” arms only in your home, your bed, your closet? Do you NEED them ONLY in those places? No, “bearing arms” means carrying them anywhere and everywhere, for “self” defense, as well as defense of your family, friends and society in general, not to mention AGAINST a tyrannical government (the true purpose of this right existing BEFORE the 2nd Amendment “secured” that right). Wonder why “government” wants to deprive the People of this right?????? Hhmmm… maybe there’s a conspiracy at work here? Naw… we are safe and secure in the arms of our servants who love us and care for us, and want only to serve us. I feel so much better now…

Michael Butler

I think if you put the Second Amendment in the context of the time it was written, it was clearly intended to be the ultimate ‘check and balance’ against a tyrannical government. This decision is clearly a step in the right direction. I would go further in asserting that the right of the People to keep and bear arms was very purposely placed as the 2nd Amendment right after the 1st Amendment, in a clear statement that the People are ultimately empowered with a final option should they ever need that to preserve their God given right to be free.