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The Hawaiian Supreme Court has ruled in a new decision that “there is no state constitutional right to carry a firearm in public” and cited the “spirit of Aloha” as well as HBO’s “The Wire” in the ruling.
The ruling this week, written by Justice Todd Eddins, determined that states “retain the authority to require” citizens to hold permits before carrying guns in public. It also concluded that the Hawaiian Constitution does not afford individuals the “right to carry firearms in public places for self-defense.”
In 2017, Christopher L. Wilson was charged with felonies by the County of Maui Department of the Prosecuting Attorney for carrying a “Phoenix Arms .22 LR caliber pistol, loaded with ten rounds of .22 caliber ammunition” in his waistband.
Wilson had been walking on the fenced property of Flyin Hawaiian Zipline, according to owner Duane Ting. Ting reported this to the police and gathered Wilson and his fellow compatriots with an all-terrain vehicle armed with an AR-15 so they could be held before law enforcement arrived.
When approached by officers, Wilson verbally informed and showed them the firearm in his waistband. It had not been registered in Hawaii as he bought the gun legally in 2013 in the state of Florida.
After being charged, Wilson and his legal representation took the matter to the state Supreme Court, arguing that the law on the books in Hawaii violated his Second Amendment right.
In question was Hawaii’s Revised Statutes (HRS) § 134-25 law that says citizens must keep all firearms “confined to the possessor’s place of business, residence, or sojourn” unless it is carried unloaded in public “in an enclosed container from the place of purchase to the purchaser’s place of business, residence, or sojourn, or between these places” when the firearm is in need of repair, to be used at a target range, or for other purposes.
“Any person violating this section by carrying or possessing a loaded or unloaded pistol or revolver shall be guilty of a class B felony,” the penalty to the law adds.
“Article I, section 17 of the Hawaii Constitution mirrors the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution,” Eddins stated in the ruling. “We read those words differently than the current United States Supreme Court. We hold that in Hawaii there is no state constitutional right to carry a firearm in public.”
Eddins wrote that the “spirit of Aloha clashes” with the Second Amendment in the Constitution of the United States, calling the amendment the “federally-mandated lifestyle that lets citizens walk around with deadly weapons during day-to-day activities.”
“In Hawaii, the Aloha Spirit inspires constitutional interpretation,” Eddins added.
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