A federal appeals court ruling on open-carry gun law in Hawaii has drawn reactions and speculation from local activists regarding the possible ways the ruling could affect Santa Clarita gun owners.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Hawaiian officials had violated a resident’s Second Amendment rights when he was denied a permit to openly carry a loaded gun in public.
The ruling protects the right to openly carry a gun in public for self-defense, not just keep guns in homes.
California law bans open carry of a gun, and conditionally allows some applicants to concealed carry a gun, with the license issued or denied at the discretion of the county sheriff or police.
Quin Quinteros, an organizer of Santa Clarita Valley Concealed Carry Group, said he agreed with the recent ruling.
“It’s giving back our constitutional rights,” he said. “If we think about owning weapons to protect ourselves against enemies, foreign and domestic, we should be allowed to use them.”
Quinteros said he personally prefers concealed carry of a gun because he “(doesn’t want) to broadcast to the world I’m carrying a weapon. Those who open carry would be more of an open target to someone doing harm.”
However, he does think people should be allowed to open carry if they would like.
In 2016, the 9th Circuit ruled, in the California case Peruta v. County of San Diego, that the Second Amendment does not protect concealed carry permits and denying them to citizens was constitutional.
Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, agreed with this week’s decision.
“The Second Amendment exists to guarantee the right of individuals to protect themselves,” he said.
Katie Hill, the Democratic challenger for Knight’s seat in the November election, said the decision ran counter to previous rulings of the 9th Circuit, which upheld local jurisdictions’ ability to regulate the public carrying of weapons.
“I stand with law enforcement on this, and more guns on the streets means cops are less safe,” she said. “With any kind of situation concerning the ability to carry a weapon in public, there should be the most rigorous background checks and training requirements that are dictated and overseen by local law enforcement.”
Logan Smith, a candidate for Santa Clarita City Council, said the courts had the authority to decide what they believed was constitutional.
“In the context of Santa Clarita, we have a lot of firearm owners here, law-abiding firearm owners,” he said. “The Second Amendment guarantees their rights. If we’re talking about gun violence in Santa Clarita, I’d like to focus on steps we can take to address suicide and school safety, like expanding the school resource officer program.”
Quinteros said the new ruling’s impacts here remain to be seen.
“We definitely think depending on how you look at it, either we are way ahead of everybody on gun laws or we are too strict,” Quinteros said.
“If you think we should limit our (gun) magazine count, then we’re ahead,” he said. “But if you think we should be allowed to bear arms, our laws are too strict.”