Hawaii Rejects Second Amendment Interpretation Involving Landmark Decision

(RepublicanReport.org) – In June 2023, the US Supreme Court handed down its ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. The landmark case held that a New York State ruled that New York’s proper-cause requirement for obtaining a concealed carry license violated the US Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment since it impermissibly infringed on law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”

The Bruen case recently came into play when Hawaii’s highest court rejected a lower court’s interpretation of the proper application of that opinion and the Second Amendment.

Hawaii Supreme Court Rejects Gun Rights Appeal

On February 7, the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii issued its decision in State of Hawaii v. Wilson. The case involved a criminal defendant named Christopher Wilson.

Wilson’s attorneys argued that Hawaii prosecutors violated his rights to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense, citing the Bruen decision. However, the court held that his case was distinguished from that landmark ruling because Bruen barred state governments from requiring gun owners to provide “proper cause” or a special need on their application for a concealed carry permit.

Hawaii’s highest court also rejected his argument, claiming the state’s gun permit statute, HRS § 134-9, violated his Second Amendment rights. The court ruled he didn’t have standing to challenge that statute since he wasn’t charged with a crime under it. They also pointed out that § 134-9 wasn’t a criminal statute, and violations didn’t carry any punishment.

The court ruled against him on technical grounds on his other two claims involving Hawaii’s place-to-keep statutes: HRS § 134-25(a) involving a firearm and HRS § 134-27(a) pertaining to ammunition. The court ruled that he couldn’t have violated the standards detailed in Bruen or the Second Amendment since he never attempted to obtain a permit for a firearm as required by Hawaiian law.

Background of the Case

Court documents revealed that in December 2017, the owner of a recreation facility contacted the Maui Police Department to report that he had detained four individuals for trespassing on his property. Wilson identified himself when cops arrived on the scene and advised them he had a handgun in his front waistband.

When police officers pulled up his shirt, they located and seized a Phoenix Arms .22 caliber pistol loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition. He said he purchased the handgun in Florida in 2013. A subsequent records check revealed that Wilson hadn’t filed for a handgun permit in Hawaii or Florida. Additionally, someone else bought the gun in the Sunshine State.

Maui County prosecutors filed a felony charge against Wilson. They alleged he violated § 134-25(a) and § 134-27(a) and slapped him with a couple of other charges related to his arrest.

Wilson’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the case on constitutional grounds, citing the Bruen decision and the US Constitution’s Second Amendment. The lower court ruled in his favor, and prosecutors appealed to the Supreme Court for the State of Hawaii.

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