The Hawaii Supreme Court jumped the shark when it ruled last week that two landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions interpreting the Second Amendment didn’t apply to their state.
The state high court struck down a circuit court dismissal of charges against Christopher Wilson for carrying a weapon outside the home without having a concealed carry permit.
The Second Amendment provides that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
The right to "keep" arms equates to the right to own or possess, and the right to "bear" arms, means the right to carry.
The Hawaii Supreme Court held that U.S. Supreme Court decisions interpreting the Second Amendment were improperly decided, that the rights it bestows are not individual rights, and that at any rate, those rights don’t apply to Hawaii.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), that "the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess firearms" of a type that are "'in common use at the time’ for lawful purposes like self-defense."
And two years ago (in 2022) the high court ruled in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen that the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms prevents states from requiring concealed carry applicants to demonstrate a “special need” in order to carry.
When reinstating Wilson’s conviction for carrying a firearm without a permit, the Hawaii Supreme Court focused on the prefatory language of the Second Amendment: "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," in order to reach its decision.
The court therefore concluded that Wilson couldn’t use Bruen to argue his "constitutional right to protect himself" because he wasn’t a "well-regulated militia."
But this argument ignores the last half of the Second Amendment, which clearly asserts that it’s an individual right: "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." (emphasis added)
The court also ignored the Heller decision, which clearly asserted that the Second Amendment is an individual right, unrelated to membership in a state militia.
Hawaii also repeatedly ignores the more recent Bruen decision, given that concealed carry permits in Hawaii are nearly nonexistent.
In the 21 years prior to Bruen, only six CCW permits were issued in Hawaii — one every three-and-a-half years.
Gun Lawsuits-dot-org reported that "Hawaii concealed carry permit applications are very rarely ever granted. The state issues CCW permits only to active or retired law enforcement officers, security professionals, or high-ranking military members."
They added that "as of 2017 there are zero Hawaii concealed carry permits issued to private citizens."
This clearly violates Bruen, which ruled that CCW applicants need not show a "special need" to be issued a permit.
The Hawaiian court wrote that "As the world turns, it makes no sense for contemporary society to pledge allegiance to the founding era’s culture, realities, laws, and understanding of the Constitution," especially when that history collides with Hawaii’s own unique history.
And that history includes a built-in exception to Second Amendment rights — the spirit of Aloha.
"The spirit of Aloha clashes with a federally mandated lifestyle that lets citizens walk around with deadly weapons during day-to-day activities," the court wrote.
"The history of the Hawaiian Islands does not include a society where armed people move about the community to possibly combat the deadly aims of others."
In other words, the island state will continue following the Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions, but only so long as they conform to island traditions.
If not, the "spirit of Aloha" kicks in.
So despite the plain language of the Second Amendment and two landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions, carrying a weapon for self-defense isn’t permitted in Hawaii because it violates Hawaiian traditions.
Hawaiian tradition also includes tribal warfare, slavery, and human sacrifice.
Does that mean tossing virgins into an active volcano is cool again?
But seriously, let’s see if the U.S. Supreme Court buys that argument when the case comes before them — and it should — eventually.
Hawaii’s decision is dangerous and if not challenged to the U.S. Supreme Court, it will only encourage other states to defy any constitutional provision with which they disagree.
That might include freedoms of speech and religion, which are already under attack.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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