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Tipsheet

The Hawaiian Supreme Court's Gun Ruling Is a Bit Insurrectionist

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Last Sunday, ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos shut down an interview with Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) over the perception that the Ohio Republican was open to presidents defying Supreme Court rulings and ignoring the rule of law. It was a cheap shot that even Vance's detractors found ridiculous. Vance offered a hypothetical of when such a time would be appropriate, like the Court ruling that the president of the United States cannot fire a general. That would be an illegitimate ruling. It was a hypothetical that Vance prefaced by saying he hoped something like this would never veer into the realm of reality. Well, it happened in Hawaii at the state Supreme Court level. 

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The Aloha State overturned a lower court’s ruling involving a man, Christopher Wilson, who was charged with carrying a firearm without a permit. The court’s ruling was that this lower court decision was wrong because Hawaii’s state constitution does not protect gun rights. So, the Bill of Rights doesn’t exist on the island. Also, were these jurists informed of the Bruen and Heller decisions? The Hawaiian Supreme Court went rogue and, dare I say, struck an insurrectionist tone (via The Reload): 

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The Aloha State’s highest court upheld a man’s gun-carry conviction on Wednesday after rejecting landmark decisions from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). 

Hawaii’s Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision that found charges leveled against Christopher Wilson for carrying a gun without a permit violated his rights. Instead, the court ruled its state constitution provides no gun-rights protections whatsoever. That’s despite it including a provision protecting the right of the people to keep and bear arms identical to the one in the federal Constitution. 

“Article I, section 17 of the Hawaiʻi Constitution mirrors the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution,” the Hawaiian court wrote in Hawaii v. Wilson. “We read those words differently than the current United States Supreme Court. We hold that in Hawaiʻi there is no state constitutional right to carry a firearm in public.” 

The ruling directly contrasts with the core holdings at the center of SCOTUS’s gun rights precedents. The state supreme court’s ruling explicitly rejects the federal supreme court’s findings in 2008’s District of Columbia v. Heller and 2022’s New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen. The lower court’s straightforward rejection of the higher court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence could provoke SCOTUS to take up the case and issue a rebuke, as it did when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled protections don’t extend to modern weapons in 2016’s Caetano. 

“There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms,” the majority wrote in Heller. Similarly, in Bruen, SCOTUS ruled “the Second and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.” 

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The court cited HBO’s The Wire in the ruling, too. 

“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. ‘The thing about the old days, they the old days.’” 

Even worse, the judicial body said, “The spirit of Aloha clashes with a federally-mandated lifestyle that lets citizens walk around with deadly weapons during day-to-day activities.”  

Having island spirit isn’t a license to overrule the US Constitution—is this middle school? The Left has been stunted time and again from passing new gun laws, so I guess their judges are now creating their own fiefdoms via ad hoc law. Mr. Vance should use this as an example of courts going rogue. 

What an insane ruling that also captures the immaturity of the Left. They can’t win in the court of public opinion, so they throw a tantrum and, in the process, imbrue and degrade the very institutions they claim to protect. At the federal level, you’ve already seen the damage done in the Justice Department’s anti-Trump crusade.  

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