Landmark Decision: Hawaii Rejects 2nd Amendment Interpretation

Source: Google My Business/Waikiki Gun Club

The United States is famous for its debate on firearm laws. Typically, you need a permit and must be 21 and above to own a gun. This rule became more prominent recently when Hawaii arrested a man for possessing a firearm without a license.

However, some people contested this decision. They argued that arresting the man violated his rights. How? The Second Amendment gives people the right to bear arms. So, capturing this man should be illegal. Let’s explore this story and uncover arguments from both sides.

The Arrest Of Christopher Wilson

Christopher Wilson is your average citizen going about his day. The only difference is that he owned an unlicensed gun. Eventually, law enforcement got wind of this information and arrested Mr. Wilson.

Source: Flickr / Danny

He was charged with keeping a firearm and ammunition improperly. His handgun was also loaded with ten bullets. What’s worse was that everything was unregistered as required by law. Nevertheless, Wilson explained that the weapon was for self-defense based on the Second Amendment.

What Does The Law Say?

Wilson cited the Second Amendment. This states that US citizens have the right to own weapons for self-defense. Therefore, it’s ok for Wilson to own a handgun even if it’s unregistered.

Source: Google My Business / Waikiki Gun Club

Despite the law, there are requirements for owning a gun. Individuals must be 21 or older. They must also acquire a permit from the state before purchasing a weapon. Nevertheless, Wilson took the case to court to contest the law.

Wilson Went To Court To Dismiss The Charges

Wilson took his arrest to court to challenge the charges. What was his point? His legal team argued that Wilson’s Second Amendment rights were violated. They first filed the case in the Hawaii circuit, which accepted their argument.

Source: Unsplash / Saul Bucio

However, the state quickly appealed the court’s decision. Therefore, Wilson’s case naturally progressed to the state Supreme Court. There, they will reach a final decision on whether Wilson has a point or remains guilty.

‘We Reject Wilson’s Constitutional Challenges’

Hawaii’s Supreme Court analyzed Wilson’s case and arguments then concluded. They first mentioned that Wilson failed to fulfill the legal requirements for owning a gun in Hawaii. Therefore, he violated the state’s open carry law.

Source: Honolulu Magazine

Next, the court gave its conclusion. In simple terms, “We reject Wilson’s constitutional challenges…”. They explained that people don’t have the right to bear arms except registered with the law. This conclusion is based on firearm regulations throughout Hawaii’s history.

More Explanations Of The Second Amendment

The court argued that there’s no reason for people to carry unlicensed guns for self-defense today. The Second Amendment limits the use of deadly weapons with military-tinged language. The phrases include “well-regulated militia” and “bear arms”.

Source: Pixabay / Dariusz Sankowski

The court summarised its explanation. It says that the Second Amendment doesn’t directly mention a person’s right to own lethal weapons in public places for self-defense. Regardless, some people can’t agree with this conclusion from the court.

Counter Arguments Against The Supreme Court

Some people disagree with Hawaii’s Supreme Court. One popular counterargument was made online by Kostas Moore. He is an attorney for the California Rifle and Pistol Association. What was his opinion?

Source: Unsplash/ FILMon

Kostas Moore wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. He said: “Hawaii’s Supreme Court rehashes tired collective right arguments which the Supreme Court has expressly rejected, and overwhelming amounts of historical evidence confirm to be false.”

More Arguments From Hawaii’s Supreme Court

Despite the counterarguments, the Supreme Court was firm in its decision. It supported its point with Hawaii’s history as an independent kingdom. The court also brought attention to how weapons have improved since 1791.

Source: Flickr / Serendigity

During the colonial era, Smoothbore, muzzle-loaded, and power-and-ramrod muskets rarely played a role in mass murders. The court explained that times are different now with more people. “We believe it is a misplaced view to think that today’s public safety laws must look like laws passed long ago.”

The Court Concludes Its Verdict

After sufficient explanations, the court ended its verdict. How? It said it made no sense to interpret the Constitution like in the colonial era. The founding fathers were in a different time. Things have changed now.

Source: Google My Business / Waikiki Gun Club

Therefore, there’s no fault in choosing a more logical approach to the Second Amendment. So, in this case, Mr. Wilson’s charges remain according to Hawaiian law. He owned a firearm without proper registration.

What Happens To Christopher Wilson?

Hawaii’s Supreme Court gave a detailed response to Mr.Wilson’s defense. So, does that end his case? Not entirely. His lawyer, Benjamin Lowenthal, issued a statement. His comments addressed the verdict plus his next move.

Source: freepik

According to Mr. Lowenthal: “There is a lot to go through in the Court’s opinion and analysis. My colleagues and I are still studying it, taking stock of our options, and are working on what is best for Mr. Wilson.”

Possible Repercussions Mr. Wilson May Face

Mr. Wilson’s case isn’t over yet. The court hearing was to dismiss the argument about violating his Second Amendment rights. So what happens if Wilson is found guilty? In Hawaii, failing to register your weapon is a felony.

Source: Unsplash / Guido Coppa

This offense attracts two punishments. The offender either gets fined $5,000 or spends five years in prison. A person may have both sentences or more, depending on the case. Mr Wilson was also charged with keeping the firearm and ammunition improperly. Therefore, he may receive over a $5,000 fine and five years of prison time.

The Supreme Court Won’t Change Its Verdict Anytime Soon

The Hawaiian Supreme Court is confident in its verdict. It ruled that people don’t have the right to bear arms without proper registration. This conclusion came from looking at Hawaii’s history and thinking logically.

Source: Hawaii Supreme Court Justices

Still, some people aren’t comfortable with the decision. Some say Hawaii’s Supreme Court is invalid. One accused the body of “rehashing tired collective right arguments which the Supreme Court has expressly rejected”. Anyway, what do you think about this verdict? Does the Supreme Court’s decision hold water, or did it violate the Second Amendment?

What do you think?

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Mary Scrantin

Written by Mary Scrantin

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