Hawaii’s highest court ruled that Second Amendment rights do not extend to Hawaii citizens, emphasizing the “spirit of Aloha” and citing the state constitution’s authority to require permits for carrying firearms in public.
The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled, “Article I, section 17 of the Hawaii 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 Hawaii there is no state constitutional right to carry a firearm in public,” the court continued.
“The spirit of Aloha clashes with a federally-mandated lifestyle that lets citizens walk around with deadly weapons during day-to-day activities,” wrote the judges.
“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,” explained the court.
The court’s opinion further says the state government’s policies curbing certain gun-carry rights have “preserved peace and tranquility in Hawaii.”
“A free-wheeling right to carry guns in public degrades other constitutional rights. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, encompasses a right to freely and safely move in peace and tranquility,” they concluded.
The decision rejected the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation and highlighted the importance of Hawaii’s gun-carry restrictions in preserving peace and tranquility.
The case involved a citizen arrested for improperly holding an unregistered firearm, with the court ultimately affirming the constitutionality of gun-safety legislation.
Democratic Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez praised the decision for addressing gun violence and recognizing the role of state courts in the federal system.
Lopez said, “This is a landmark decision that affirms the constitutionality of crucial gun-safety legislation.”
“Gun violence is a serious problem, and commonsense tools like licensing and registration have an important role to play in addressing that problem,” she continued.
“More broadly, Justice Eddins’ thoughtful and scholarly opinion for the court provides an important reminder about the crucial role that state courts play in our federal system,” added the prosecutor.
“We congratulate our friends and partners at the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Maui for their work on this important case,” she concluded.