On Wednesday, June 8, 2016 you will be able to watch oral arguments online in the case of Dale Lee Norman vs. State of Florida.
The Florida Supreme Court has limited the questions before it to whether or not Florida’s 1987 ban on openly carrying firearms in public for the purpose of self-defense is a violation of either the Florida State Constitution or the Second Amendment to the Untied States Constitution.
If the Florida Supreme Court holds that the 1987 Open Carry ban is a violation of the Florida State Constitution then it is unlikely to decide whether or not the state ban also violates the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. And since State Supreme Courts have the final say in how their State Constitution is interpreted (provided that their interpretation does not conflict with Federal law) that will be the end of that case.
However, if the Florida Supreme Court issues a decision which holds, as the lower state court of appeals held, that states can ban firearms which are openly carried for the purpose of self-defense then the Florida high court will have issued a decision which directly conflicts with the United States Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), McDonald v. Chicago (2010), Caetano v. Massachusetts (2016) and, depending upon how the decision is worded, Robertson v. Baldwin (1897).
US Supreme Court Reluctant to Hear Second Amendment Appeals
Since the McDonald v. Chicago decision was published, the US Supreme Court has declined to hear every appeal involving a Second Amendment challenge save one, Caetano v. Massachusetts which involved that state’s ban on the possession of stun guns. And even then the US Supreme Court did not answer the underlying question as to whether or not stun guns are arms protected by the Second Amendment. Instead, the court issued a unanimous per curiam decision which told the Massachusetts high court that all three reasons it gave for upholding its stun gun ban conflicted with its 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller and then kicked the case back for a do-over in the state court.
That decision by the US Supreme Court in Caetano v. Massachusetts was welcome but surprising given that the US Supreme Court had declined to hear three other cases filed earlier which directly conflicted with the Heller decision because the Federal appellate court decisions in those cases did not create a “split” between the Federal circuits or a split with a state high court’s interpretation of Federal law – What is known as a SCOTUS Rule 10 split.
If the Florida Supreme Court issues a decision saying that there is a right to carry a weapon concealed in public under the Second Amendment then it creates a split with every Federal appellate and state high court decision which has had a concealed carry case come before it not to mention being in direct conflict with all four of the US Supreme Court decisions I mentioned above. Likewise, if the Florida high court issues a decision which says that Open Carry can be banned under the Second Amendment, which it will have to decide if it decides the Second Amendment question, then we will have a decision which is a prime candidate for review by the United States Supreme Court because we will have a decision which both conflicts with the Heller decision AND which creates SCOTUS Rule 10 splits.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris Claims Racist Gun Bans are Constitutional in Response to Lawsuit Challenging California’s Open Carry Bans
There is one other Open Carry case challenging a state Open Carry ban, mine, Charles Nichols v. Edmund G. Brown Jr. My appeal is currently stayed until July 20th pending an en banc decision in Peruta v. San Diego.
My California Open Carry lawsuit presents a Second Amendment question not explicitly present in the Florida case. One of the defendants in my lawsuit, California Attorney General Kamala Harris raised as a defense to California’s racially motivated Open Carry ban that racially motivated gun laws are constitutional under the Second Amendment because the purpose of the Second Amendment was to curry favor with Southern slaveholders and runaway slave chasers.
I really don’t see even the most left-wing panel of judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholding California’s Open Carry bans because they are racist but if the 9th Circuit doesn’t strike down California’s Open Carry bans for the other Constitutional reasons raised in my appeal then it is required to answer the question as to whether or not racially motivated gun laws are constitutional under the Second Amendment.
And if the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals holds that they are, then my appeal to the US Supreme Court is one the US high court will be hard pressed not to hear.