By: José Niño
Hawaii is known as one of America’s most anti-gun states.
Earlier this week, however, gun owners could rejoice for once after they received a solid victory against the state’s strict regulations on pistol permitting and registration.
The case in question, Yukutake v. Connors, saw two individuals challenge the state’s 10-day permit validation period and physical inspection of an individual’s firearms by police.
According to John Petrolino of Bearing Arms, pro-Second Amendment lawyers Alan Beck and Stephen Stamboulieh were instrumental in securing the victory in this case, which deemed these mandates as unconstitutional.
Michael Seabright, the judge for the District Court of Hawaii, struck down these regulations. In Seabright’s view, the state failed to provide a compelling argument that these regulations were germane to the interests of public safety. In essence, the state could not demonstrate a public safety interest, nor show that these regulations were effective in promoting public safety.
Seabright’s opinion went as follows:
The challenged provisions in both HRS § 134-2(e) and HRS § 134-3(c) are not longstanding and impose only a moderate burden on the right to bear arms. As such, both provisions are subject to intermediate scrutiny. And because the Government has entirely failed to demonstrate how each law effectuates its asserted interest in public safety, neither law can pass constitutional muster under this standard of review. Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED and Defendant’s Counter Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.
At their core, permitting requirements represent a barrier to entry for prospective gun owners. They cost time and money, which many people don’t have. Once people weigh the costs and benefits of jumping through massive regulatory hoops, they usually end up not buying firearms. In effect, many people are disarmed because of these regulations. Thus, criminals are offered a broad swathe of unarmed people upon which to prey.
Hawaiian gun owners should be proud of this moment, because it’s a rare victory in a state that has among the most draconian gun laws in the US. For example, Hawaii is ranked second to last (50th) in Guns & Ammomagazine’s Best States for Gun Owners rankings. Hawaii is ranked in last place (51st) for states friendliest towards concealed carry.
There aren’t many options for Hawaii gun owners to reform their gun control laws, due to monolithic Democrat control of their state. In the interim, litigation will probably be the only game in town for realizing reform in the Aloha State.
José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.