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  • Robert Farago

Hawaii to the U.S. Supreme Court: Drop Dead!

The Aloha State refuses to recognize residents' gun rights

Guess how many concealed carry licenses Hawaii has issued in the last 24 years.

Four. Why four? Because the Aloha State government doesn’t want anyone other than cops carrying a gun in their jurisdiction, openly or concealed.

A desire all five State Supreme Court justices (above) support with kukupaʻu. Here’s the money shot from last Thursday’s ruling:

Conventional interpretive modalities and Hawaiʻi’s historical tradition of firearm regulation rule out an individual right to keep and bear arms under the Hawaiʻi Constitution. In Hawaiʻi, there is no state constitutional right to carry a firearm in public.


Article I, Section 17 of the Hawaii State Constitution states: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Not to mention the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago, making the individual right to keep and bear arms the law of the land for all 50 states.

Or New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, ruling that carrying a pistol in public is a constitutional right (also the law in all 50 states). A decision that leans heavily on historical precedent.

Historical precedent? The Hawaiian Supreme Court don’t need no historical precedent!

Riffing on the soap opera that pre-dates Hawaiian statehood, Hawaii’s Supreme Court sneered at the idea of Constitutional originalism.

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.

And yet the Hawaiian Supremes turn their back on the Supreme Court’s gun rights rulings based on the “militia clause” argument, insisting that both the state and federal constitutions were originally written to protect a military right to keep and bear arms, not an individual right.

Hawaiian Law Trumps Federal Law!

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected that argument. And the Hawaiian Supreme Court rejects the U.S. Supreme Court’s jurisdiction, full stop.

Long ago, the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court announced that an “opinion of the United States Supreme Court . . . is merely another source of authority, admittedly to be afforded respectful consideration, but which we are free to accept or reject in establishing the outer limits of protection afforded by . . . the Hawaiʻi Constitution.”… Interpreting the Hawaiʻi Constitution is this court’s #1 responsibility. So we reason independently, untethered from the Supreme Court’s analysis of the United States Constitution.

To quote comedian Ryan George, wow wow wow. Wow. And here’s the icing on the cake:

The spirit of Aloha clashes with a federally-mandated lifestyle that lets citizens walk around with deadly weapons during day-to-day activities.

Unless you’re one of those four license holders or a police officer who, are, technically, civilians.

To back the overarching aloha doctrine, the supposedly history-averse Hawaiian judges evoke the Declaration of Independence:

The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, encompasses a right to freely and safely move in peace and tranquility.

A right to safety. Who knew?

Constitutional Crisis

Hawaii’s open defiance of United States federal law creates a Constitutional crisis that puts Texas Governor Abbott’s barbed wire border fence imbroglio to shame. Or does it?

For this middle finger to the rule of law to escalate, the federal government would have to intervene. As the Supreme Court lacks an enforcement arm, the President (send in troops) or Congress (cut off funding) would have to step in.

The current executive branch is anti-gun rights, as is the entire Democratic Party. While Congressional Republicans could hold hearings outing Hawaii’s judicial mutiny, Republicans lack the votes needed to threaten Hawaii’s federal funding.

Hawaii - Where Gun Rights Go to Die

So now… nothing. The case may work its way back up to the Supreme Court. To what end it’s hard to imagine.

Meanwhile, no gun permit will be issued, no Hawaiian will be be able to carry a firearm in public for their personal protection.

It’s hard to imagine how disheartening the State Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling is for Aloha State gun rights advocates.

To them I offer a piece of ancient advise: ‘A’ ohe pu’u ki’eki’e ke ho’a’o ‘ia e pi’i. No cliff is so tall it cannot be climbed.


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