Article I, section 17 of the Hawaiʻi Constitution mirrors the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. We read those words differently than the current United States Supreme Court. We hold that in Hawaiʻi there is no state constitutional right to carry a firearm in public.
State of Hawaii v. Christopher L. Wilson, Oops. Novel citation pattern. at 1–2 (Supreme Court)
We reject Wilson’s constitutional challenges. Conventional interpretive modalities and Hawaiʻi’s historical tradition of firearm regulation rule out an individual right to keep and bear arms under the Hawaiʻi Constitution. In Hawaiʻi, there is no state constitutional right to carry a firearm in public.
id. at 3
In December 2017, at about 11:00 p.m., Flyin Hawaiian Zipline owner Duane Ting saw men on his fenced-in property via video surveillance. Ting reported the matter to the Maui Police Department. Officers headed to Ting’s property. Meanwhile Ting, driving an all-terrain vehicle, corralled Wilson and his three companions. Armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, he detained them until the police arrived. Then Wilson volunteered to the officers: “I have a weapon in my front waist band.” The police lifted his shirt. Wilson had a Phoenix Arms .22 LR caliber pistol, loaded with ten rounds of .22 caliber ammunition. A records check reported that the pistol was unregistered in Hawaiʻi, and Wilson had not obtained or applied for a permit to own a handgun. Wilson told the police that he legally bought the gun in Florida in 2013.
id. at 4

At the time, it had been over 20 years since the Maui Police Department had issued a permit to carry to a member of the public.

The State opposed the motion. It presented records from Florida and the Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to refute Wilson’s remark about when and where he had purchased the gun. The records showed: (1) Wilson had not applied for or been issued a concealed weapon or firearm license pursuant to Florida law, and (2) in April 2011 someone not named Christopher Wilson purchased the pistol from a licensed firearms dealer in Florida.
id. at 5

What a messed up state, where they believe that Wilson was somehow obligated to apply for a “firearm license”. I’m not sure what a “firearm license” is, maybe somebody in Florida has heard of them. And there is no reason for him to have applied for a CCW. It is NOT required.

In the same way, Wilson’s remark, as quoted, did not say he purchased the firearm from an FFL. Only that he had legally acquired it in Florida.

We hold that the text and purpose of the Hawaiʻi Constitution, and Hawaiʻi’s historical tradition of firearm regulation, do not support a constitutional right to carry deadly weapons in public.

We conclude that HRS § 134-25 and § 134-27 do not violate Wilson’s right to keep and bear arms under article I, section 17 of the Hawaiʻi Constitution and the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Since Wilson lacks standing to challenge HRS § 134-9, we do not take up his Second Amendment challenge to that law.
id. at 8

The reason that Wilson lacked standing is that he didn’t bother to pay for and go to the trouble of applying for a permit that would not be granted. There is plenty of case law that says a person does not have to do something that they know will fail before they have standing.

Rather, this court frequently walks another way. Long ago, the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court announced that an “opinion of the United States Supreme Court … is merely another source of authority, admittedly to be afforded respectful consideration, but which we are free to accept or reject in establishing the outer limits of protection afforded by … the Hawaiʻi Constitution.” State v. Kaluna, 55 Haw. 361, 369 n.6, 520 P.2d 51, 58 n.6 (1974). Further, “this court has not hesitated to adopt the dissents in U.S. Supreme Court cases when it was believed the dissent was better reasoned than the majority opinion.” State v. Mundon, 129 Hawaiʻi 1, 18 n.25, 292 P.3d 205, 222 n.25 (2012).
id. at 13

The Hawaii supreme court has been thumbing their noses at the US Supreme Court since at least 1974. “Merely another source of authority” and “not hesitate to adopt the dissents … [we] believed the dissent was better reasoned than the majority”. What arrogance.

Because the text of article I, section 17, its purpose, and Hawaiʻi’s historical tradition of weapons regulation support a collective, militia meaning, we hold that the Hawaiʻi Constitution does not afford a right to carry firearms in public places for self-defense.
id. at 19

There is more of this profoundly unreasoned opinion. The gist is that they claim that the state constitution provides more rights to the defendant, and thus the state constitution should be followed. Then interpret the state constitution in a stricter light than the Supreme Court does the US Constitution.

This reasoning is half right. The rights of The People should always be the greater of the state’s constitution and the federal constitution. But when what is more restrictive than the other, the one that offers more protection wins.

Enjoy your second dose of courts doing stupid things.

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By awa

11 thoughts on “Sorry Hawaii,”
  1. I’m kinda happy this happened. I can’t wait to see Progressives standing up and arguing for States Rights to the point that individual states can ignore the Supreme Court. I makes Texas and its razor wire look like child’s play.

    Federalism is back, baby!

  2. If Hawai’i won’t bow to the U.S. Constitution as the “supreme law of the land” — which every one of those judges swore an oath to follow — I don’t see why the whole State shouldn’t be ejected from the Union.
    Or the National Guard be mobilized to enforce federal supremacy, a la Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
    Pick one.

  3. SCOTUS needs an enforcement arm.
    All of the SCOHI judges who signed off of this need to be arrested and tried for … wait for it… Sedition!
    (And suddenly I have the “Inquisition – here we go!” theme in my head.)

  4. It’s only fitting that the state which enabled and brought us Obama when the grace period occurred when they became a state, should take a stand which backs Obama’s purpose from the beginning. If you want to know why his college transcripts are sealed, it’s because his education was in subverting the US Constitution from within the freedoms of the founding documents and to do so legally via semantics.
    Hawaii has always been “The Ruse”, Obama follows suit, and now both believe there will be no consequences for ‘coming out of the political closet’ and present themselves as the leader in the war of the states. 2.

  5. Fine. Their state constitution isn’t worth being used for toilet paper. The 10th says the 2nd still applies.

    1. The 14th says that the 2nd applies. The 10th says that IF there is nothing said in the constitution, the rights belong to The People and through them the States.

      1. Apart from the 14th, there is also precedent from before that amendment was adopted saying the text of the 2nd Amendment plainly applies to the states too since its wording (unlike the 1st Amendment) does not limit it to Congressional powers only.

  6. Texas thumbs its nose at the DoJ, DHS, and courts, and declares that they will enforce Constitutional directives even if the fed-gov won’t — and the news coverage is treating it like open rebellion and CW2 is going to kick off any day.
    Hawai’i thumbs its nose at SCOTUS and declares the U.S. Constitution doesn’t apply on the islands — and the news coverage is … crickets.

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