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Hawaii Supreme Court’s Ruling Stirs Firearm Rights Debate

via KHON2 News
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The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that a man can be prosecuted for carrying a gun in public without a permit for self-defense, overturning a lower court ruling based on Second Amendment rights.

The court rejected the defendant’s claims, stating that the state’s Constitution does not provide a right to carry a firearm in public.

“Article I, Section 17 of the Hawai’i Constitution mirrors the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. We read those words differently than the current United States Supreme Court,” the Hawaii Supreme Court justices wrote.

“We hold that in Hawai’i there is no state constitutional right to carry a firearm in public.”

They emphasized the historical context and changes in firearms technology, arguing that contemporary society should not be bound by the understanding of the Constitution from the founding era.

“We reject Wilson’s constitutional challenges,” they wrote. “Conventional interpretive modalities and Hawai’i’s historical tradition of firearm regulation rule out an individual right to keep and bear arms under the Hawai’i Constitution. In Hawai’i, there is no state constitutional right to carry a firearm in public.”

“In contrast, there are no words that mention a personal right to possess lethal weapons in public places for possible self-defense,” they said.

“Smoothbore, muzzle-loaded, and power-and-ramrod muskets were not exactly useful to colonial era mass murders. And life is a bit different now, in a nation with a lot more people, stretching to islands in the Pacific Ocean,” the justices wrote.

“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.”

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