Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Legal Action Taken Against Hawaii's Prohibition of Firearms in Majority of Public Spaces


Hawaii is known for having one of the strictest restrictions on the rights given by the Second Amendment. Since becoming a US territory in 1900 and then a state in 1959, Hawaii doesn't have a history of American laws that align with the Supreme Court's Bruen decision. Furthermore, historical records post 1900 are not considered, and Hawaii does not have a documented history as an American territory prior to 1900. Nevertheless, the Hawaiian government argues that its history as a kingdom should set the precedent for its strict gun control laws. Despite this, the Supreme Court disagreed.

In response, the Hawaiian government implemented an extremely limiting carry law, with New York and New Jersey's responses serving as models. With permits being a requirement for carrying firearms outside of homes, either openly or concealed, the law has created numerous "sensitive places". This makes it nearly impossible for permit holders to legally carry concealed firearms in public.

In retaliation to this, the Hawaii Firearms Coalition lodged a lawsuit. As described on, the Hawaii Firearms Coalition is a Honolulu-based, member-driven organization that works to promote legislative and legal action in support of people's civil liberties. The case is listed as Wolford v Lopez. In their complaint, the plaintiffs explicate how the Bruen decision does not permit Hawaii to practically annul the right to bear arms in public by designating most public and private spaces as "sensitive".

The Hawaiian government declared fifteen categories of places as sensitive. This includes the surrounding land and parking lots, which makes it nearly impossible to carry a concealed firearm in public. These categories range from any building or office used by the State to any place, facility, or vehicle used for public transportation.

Moreover, all private property is deemed by the government as prohibited for carrying weapons unless explicit permission is granted by the property owner or manager. This use of the "sensitive places" label to effectively deny the right to bear arms in public is being contested in New York and New Jersey, and the cases are currently under the court's review. The current Supreme Court justices are unlikely to favor this type of interpretation of the Bruen decision. Hawaii falls under the ninth circuit, known for its resistance in confirming the rights protected by the Second Amendment. If the District judge rules against the State of Hawaii, which seems probable, the case will most likely be appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

No comments:

Post a Comment