(Photo: AP/Houston Chronicle, Johnny Hanson)

Case Information: Young v. Hawaii, No. 12-CV-0336 (9th Cir. en banc brief filed June 4, 2020).

At Issue: Hawaii requires individuals to obtain a license to openly carry firearms in public. On July 4, 2018, a divided panel of three judges from the Ninth Circuit struck down this requirement, finding that it violated the Second Amendment, and that open carry is a “core” Second Amendment right. This contradicts previous decisions about similar public carry permitting laws in the Ninth Circuit and in four other federal circuit courts. The case is now on appeal to be heard again by the Ninth Circuit, this time en banc. 

Giffords Law Center’s Brief: Our brief argues that historical evidence and corpus linguistics studies confirm that open carry is not a “core” Second Amendment right, and was not considered a “core” right at America’s founding. Based on this information, our brief urges the court to reject the panel’s decision and side with the four federal circuits that have determined that public carry is not a “core” right. Our brief then argues that the appropriate standard of review for this law is intermediate scrutiny, and that Hawaii’s licensing law is constitutional under that standard because it serves a critical public safety purpose.

Read the full text of our amicus brief here.