Tuesday, February 09, 2010

U.S. v. Vongxay (9th Cir. - Feb. 9, 2010)

You're a police officer who sees a group of people hanging out in gangland in typical gang colors and, believing that one of them might well be carrying a gun, approach one of them and ask for consent to do a pat-down search of his waist. At which point the individual responds by placing his hands on his head.

Does that mean yes, no or maybe?

To me -- and the district court -- it means yes. And the Ninth Circuit agrees that's a reasonable conclusion.

For you Second Amendment folks out there, the opinion also contains a lengthy discussion of that particular amendment and why it doesn't (at all) provide a constitutional right for felons to carry firearms. Basically because the Supreme Court has expressly said as much, even in Heller. So the discussion on that point is worth a read as well.