The Blue Steel Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
Every American should rejoice over last week's stunning 2-1 Second Amendment decision in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which invalidated San Diego's unconstitutionally restrictive infringements regarding the right to bear arms. The irony will be lost on no one, especially on the Left. Per the Los Angeles Times:
In a significant victory for gun owners, a divided federal appeals court Thursday struck down California rules that permit counties to restrict as they see fit the right to carry a concealed weapon in public.
The 2-1 ruling by a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel would overturn restrictions on carrying concealed handguns, primarily affecting California's most populated regions, including Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and San Francisco.
The majority said the restrictions violate the 2nd Amendment's guarantee of the right to bear arms because they deny law-abiding citizens the ability to carry weapons in public unless they show they need the protection for specific reasons.
"We are not holding that the Second Amendment requires the states to permit concealed carry," Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, a Reagan appointee, wrote for the panel. "But the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home."
You can read the court's decision here. And you should, because this one is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where (in a rare departure for the 9th Circuit) it is unlikely to be reversed. The final constitutional victory over the Suicide Cult of the Left may be at hand, and the explicit promise of the Declaration of Independence settled once and for all.
Quoting liberally from the Supreme Court's landmark Heller and McDonald decisions, the circuit court essentially said that while the state may regulate the manner in which handguns may be carried for personal protection, it may not do so by making it practically impossible for law-abiding citizens to afford themselves the protections -- both constitutional and physical -- of the Second Amendment.
We are well aware that, in the judgment of many governments, the safest sort of firearm-carrying regime is one which restricts the privilege to law enforcement with only narrow exceptions. Nonetheless, “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. . . . Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court [or ours] to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.” Id. at 636. Nor may we relegate the bearing of arms to a “second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees that we have held to be incorporated into the Due Process Clause.” (McDonald, 130 S. Ct. at 3044.)
We've been waiting for common-sense language like that for a long time, so thank you Judge O'Scannlain (and good on you for using your Irish name instead of your Anglo name; I may start doing the same thing myself in these pages soon). Which is to say: it doesn't matter a fig what "issues" the Left raises to deny the right to self-protection to ordinary Americans -- the plain language of the Constitution says otherwise, and until the Left is prepared to mount a full-frontal assault on the Second Amendment in the form of a repeal campaign, they should shut up. Because, as this decision makes clear, what is not permissible is their usual tactic of trying to bleed to death anything in the law they don't like.
Which is precisely the issue here. As any gun owner in San Francisco, Los Angeles or San Diego counties knows, it is practically impossible to get a concealed-carry permit from the local sheriffs unless you're a celebrity, a buddy or a major donor to their campaigns. And since open carry is banned, that leaves an honest citizen with no way to protect himself effectively if assaulted, carjacked, mugged, raped or otherwise subjected to mayhem here in the glorious, vibrantly multicultural mosaic that is the state of California. What the court effectively said to the state is: choose. You can prohibit either open carry or concealed carry, but not both.
Note the excellent grip and trigger discipline, by the way. Back to the LAT:
Senior Deputy San Diego County Counsel James Chapin, who represented San Diego in the case, called the lawsuit that led to Thursday's decision an "end run" against the state's new ban on openly carrying guns in public.
"What they really want to do is strike down California's open carry ban," Chapin said. "That's really what this is about..."
The ruling affects only California and Hawaii among 9th Circuit states because the others have rules that favor the granting of permits to carry guns in public, according to Eugene Volokh, a professor of constitutional law at UCLA.
"California's rules are essentially unconstitutional because the rule is, your right to carry a gun is at the mercy of the sheriff," Volokh said.
But there's an even larger issue at play here, which is why this decision is so important. (Even if the entire Ninth Circuit en banc reverses the three-judge panel, it's still likely to wind up in the Supreme Court, which has already made its pro-Second Amendment sympathies plain.) And that has to do with the right of any person to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- not under armed guard or police protection, but on his or her own, as autonomous individuals acting according to their lawful desires.
The modern Left's entire program is one of constant harassment against the citizenry -- ban it! outlaw it! prevent it! "Don't" is their favorite word, "thou shalt not" their favorite phrase; for an irreligious bunch of little devils, they're positively Biblical in their proscriptions. The lie is that their mandates are for your own and the collective good. The truth is they want the populace docile, weak and helpless. And nothing says Not Helpless like a firearm.
The Left's retort to this is typical -- that an armed society will become a lawless society, one in which the mere possession of an inanimate object will cause the bearer to suddenly violate every moral fiber of his being and turn into a homicidal, shoot-first maniac. That it happens so rarely in a country of 310 million people is not at all amazing to anybody who knows what kind of people gun owners tend to be. Indeed, once you eliminate suicides and gang-bangers, the so-called epidemic of "gun violence" turns out to be not much at all.
As John Lott and others have demonstrated over and over, more guns = less crime. The vast majority of states understand this, including some defiantly "progressive" ones. If you really want to stump your lefty buddies, ask them which state scores highest in its adherence to the Second Amendment. A state in which you can carry a gun openly or concealed, with no permit necessary. A state whose own constitution contains this guarantee of personal liberty:
That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State – and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power.
That's right: Vermont. And who's afraid of Vermont?
Contrary to the usual Leftist sneer, having a gun doesn't make you a man, but knowing how to handle one should the need arise makes you an American.