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State’s Supreme Court Snubs SCOTUS Ruling


State’s Supreme Court Snubs SCOTUS Ruling

In 2022, the Supreme Court expanded gun regulations with the case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, introducing a new method for courts to consider Second Amendment issues. This involves assessing laws in relation to the country’s historical practices regarding firearm regulation. More recently, the Hawaiian Supreme Court made a decision that went against part of the high court’s ruling.

On February 7, the Supreme Court of Hawaii referenced a line from the popular HBO series “The Wire,” asserting, “The thing about the old days, they the old days.” This quote was applied to the criteria outlined in the Bruen decision, suggesting that the societal context of the 1700s, when the United States was established, should not necessarily govern contemporary legislation.

In the case of Hawaii v. Wilson, Christopher Wilson was arrested in 2017 for trespassing and possessing a firearm and ammunition in public. Wilson had purchased the firearm in Florida in 2013 but failed to register it in Hawaii, as mandated by state law. The police apprehended Wilson after a Maui landowner discovered a group of men on his property at night, and upon their arrival, Wilson was found with the gun concealed in the waistband of his pants.

Wilson submitted a request to drop the charges against him, arguing that they infringed upon his Second Amendment rights and asserting his entitlement to self-defense. Initially, his motion was rejected, but following the Bruen ruling, he filed a subsequent motion seeking dismissal of the charges. A judge approved Wilson’s request, but the state appealed the ruling, leading to the case being brought before the state Supreme Court.

Alongside critiquing the Supreme Court’s criteria for gun laws, the state’s Supreme Court declared that there exists no constitutional right to openly carry firearms in public within Hawaii. The justices, comprising three Democratic-appointed and two Republican-appointed members, overturned the decision made by the lower court. Wilson’s legal team is currently deliberating on their subsequent actions.

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