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Photo: Joe Raedle via Getty Images

A California federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday to uphold a county law in Hawaii that strictly limited permits for openly carrying firearms.

Why it matters: The 7-4 decision comes amid a renewed gun control debate spurred by two mass shootings that occurred less than a week apart and killed a total of 18 people.

What they're saying: The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Hawaii resident George Young's suit against the state for denying his application to carry a gun outside his home.

  • “The government may regulate, and even prohibit, in public places — including government buildings, churches, schools, and markets — the open carrying of small arms capable of being concealed, whether they are carried concealed or openly,” Judge Jay Bybee wrote for the majority.
  • The state of Hawaii prohibits residents from openly carrying firearms without a license. Licenses are granted only to residents who prove a need due to "reason to fear injury" to "person or property."
  • The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of Young's challenge, writing that the state's restrictions reflect "longstanding prohibitions, and therefore, the conduct they regulate is outside the historical scope of the Second Amendment."
  • The Second Amendment does not "guarantee an unfettered, general right to openly carry arms in public for individual self-defense," the opinion continued. "Accordingly, Hawai‘i’s firearms-carry scheme is lawful."
  • The other side: Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain called the majority decision “unprecedented” and “extreme," in his lead dissent.

Context: Wednesday’s decision overturned a ruling in the same case from roughly a year ago, the LA Times writes.

What to watch: It seems likely the ruling will reach the U.S. Supreme Court, CNN reports.

The big picture: President Biden has called on Congress to pass legislation on gun control. The White House is also considering implementing gun safety measures through executive action.

  • A Colorado judge overturned Boulder's assault weapons ban 10 days before a gunman opened fire in a grocery store and killed 10 people in the city.

Go deeper: Gun control debate returns to Congress

Read the full ruling:

Go deeper

17 mins ago - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech: Booster doses more effective at blocking Omicron

Prepared doses of the BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Germany on Dec. 7. Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that two doses of their COVID-19 vaccine were significantly less effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant in early lab tests, but a three-dose regimen was more effective.

Why it matters: Omicron, which has been labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization after being identified by scientists in South Africa last month, has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines against this specific new form of coronavirus.

Mike Allen, author of AM
23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden unveils "Building a Better America" branding

President Biden speaks on infrastructure while visiting a bridge in Woodstock, N.H., last month. Photo: John Tully/Getty Images

President Biden today launched a new website and unveiled bold new branding as part of a nationwide tour to sell the benefits of his infrastructure package.

Why it matters: The White House says passage of the new law shows the ability to "forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins" even in these toxic times.

2 hours ago - World

Olaf Scholz sworn in as German chancellor, succeeding Merkel

Incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is sworn in by Bundestag President Bärbel Bas in Berlin today. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz was sworn in as chancellor of Germany on Wednesday, succeeding Angela Merkel after 16 years and launching a new era of German and European politics.

Why it matters: Scholz, a center-left pragmatist who served as finance minister and vice chancellor in Merkel's last government, will lead Europe's largest economy in a coalition with the environmentalist Greens and pro-business Free Democrats.

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