Hawaii’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Hawaii v. Wilson that there is no state constitutional right to carry a firearm in public, rejecting Wilson’s challenge to carry a gun for self-defense without a permit.
Judge Todd Eddins, in the majority opinion, emphasized the state’s authority to regulate firearm carrying and addressed the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision, asserting that states retain the power to require licenses for carrying firearms in public.
Judge Eddins wrote, “We reject Wilson’s constitutional challenges. Conventional interpretive modalities and [Hawaii’s] historical tradition of firearm regulation rule out an individual right to keep and bear arms under the [Hawaii] Constitution.”
“Bruen snubs federalism principles. Still, the United States Supreme Court does not strip states of all sovereignty to pass traditional police power laws designed to protect people,” the judge continued.
“States retain the authority to require that individuals have a license before carrying firearms in public,” he added.
The decision raises questions about the interplay between state and federal firearm regulations, particularly in light of the recognition of the Second Amendment’s right to carry a gun for self-defense outside the home.