As my readers know, I am the first and only person in the fifty years since California’s ban on openly carrying loaded firearms became law to challenge that ban and to argue in my briefs that Open Carry is the right guaranteed by the Constitution.
Every so-called gun-rights group you may have heard of (NRA, CRPA, SAF, CalGuns, Gun Owners of America/California, etc) either filed lawsuits or filed briefs in support of California’s Open Carry ban and in support of California’s Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995.
I am not a lawyer but, nonetheless, on December 3, 2017, my appeal appeared on the 9th circuit court of appeals oral argument calendar. Oral argument in my California Open Carry case is scheduled to take place on February 15, 2018, before a three-judge panel of the 9th circuit court of appeals.
I had searched and searched for cases in which someone who was not an attorney, and who had never been an attorney, was allowed to argue his own case, without a lawyer, before the 9th circuit and today I found one.
That case, Waters v. Young et al, was argued and submitted for a decision on October 11, 1996.
21 years, 4 months, and 4 days after B. Benedict Waters argued his case, I will walk into a Federal courthouse to make my argument as to why there is a right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment that extends outside the door of my home into the curtilage of my home, onto my private residential property, into my motor vehicle (including any attached camper or trailer regardless of whether or not it is used as a residence) and in non-sensitive public places.
The 9th circuit court of appeals has already held that there is no right of the general public to carry handguns concealed in public last year in the combined cases of Peruta v. San Diego and Richards v. Prieto.
The en banc court in that combined case expressly held that it was not deciding the question of whether or not there is a right to openly carry firearms in public because the plaintiffs in those cases did not seek to openly carry firearms anywhere. Indeed, the plaintiffs vehemently argued that California can ban Open Carry.
As there are only two ways in which a firearm can be carried, openly or concealed, and given that this circuit has already said that there is no right to concealed carry, either the court of appeals in my case decides that Open Carry is a right guaranteed by the Constitution or it decides that there is no right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
It is that simple.
By the way, Mr. Waters won his appeal.
13 years, 5 months, and 9 days before Mr. Waters argued his case before the 9th circuit court of appeals, Edward Lawson, who was not an attorney, argued his case before the 9th circuit court of appeals.
Mr. Lawson argued that a California law which permitted the police to stop anyone who was simply walking down the street and required them to prove who they are, what they are doing there, where they are coming from, where they are going, who their neighbors are, what their house looks like, what their neighborhood looks like or be arrested if they don’t (or can’t) and be prosecuted for their failure to do so is unconstitutional.
Mr. Lawson won his appeal before the 9th circuit court of appeals and won again before the United States Supreme Court.
It is very rare that someone who is not a lawyer and who has never been a lawyer is allowed to argue his case before the court of appeals.
But in those very rare occasions where we non-lawyers are given the opportunity to argue our case before the 9th circuit court of appeals, we win very significant victories.
President of California Right To Carry
Status of California Open Carry Lawsuit – Nichols v. Brown 14-55873 – June 20, 2017, and Later