Judge Reinhardt: “Carrying a Gun … Is a Second Amendment Right”

The quote (from a dissent in yesterday’s Dickens v. Ryan (9th Cir. Aug. 3, 2012)) comes up in an unusual context: The case was about whether Dickens could be sentenced to death for a felony-murder in which the killer was Dickens’ confederate in an armed robbery, and the specific issue was whether Dickens knew that the robbery created a grave risk of death; part of the evidence for this knowledge was that Dickens knew that the killer had a history of carrying guns. Moreover, the carrying itself was unusual, since the killer was a 14-year-old, who had run away from “a placement center for violent juveniles,” and who likely wouldn’t have a Second Amendment right. Nonetheless, given the debate among lower courts about whether the Second Amendment generally includes a right of law-abiding adults to carry guns, and not just possess them at home, the quote seemed interesting. Here’s the entire sentence:

Carrying a gun, which is a Second Amendment right, also cannot legally lead to a finding that the individual is likely to murder someone; if it could, half or even more of the people in some of our states would qualify as likely murderers.

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