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Hawaii's Restrictive Gun Laws to be Challenged in Court


“The Second Amendment protects the right to self-defense."

The 2nd Amendment may be coming back to the Aloha State.

Hawaii has joined the list of states facing lawsuits over restrictive gun regulations filed on the basis of 2nd Amendment violations last week, according to the Hawaii Reporter.

Chris Baker, President of the non-profit Hawaii Defense Foundation, filed the lawsuit against a variety of state and local officials claiming that Hawaii’s firearms licensing statutes and other gun regulations are unconstitutional.

Hawaii is a "may issue" state, which means that police determine who gets a carry permit and who doesn't. On the other hand, in "shall issue" states-- like Texas-- the government must provide concealed carry permits as long as the applicant passes all background checks and has no history of mental illness.

You can find a handy map of "may" vs "shall" issue states for gun permits here.

Baker said that the law as it currently stands allows a Hawaiian to carry a firearm only under “exceptional circumstance” or “where a need or urgency has been sufficiently indicated." The police chief himself in Honolulu must personally approve any concealed carry permit. To summarize the impetus for his court case, Baker told the Hawaii Reporter his belief that:

“The Second Amendment protects the right to self-defense... we must be allowed to carry the tools that give us a chance to protect ourselves from harm. We want criminals to have to think about the consequences of attacking someone."

Recently gun rights advocates have won major victories in Washington, D.C. and Florida. An important court case is pending in President Obama's home state of Illinois, which effectively abrogated the 2nd Amendment and banned legal possession of firearms in Chicago.

It appears the gun rights community is gaining momentum, and if the Hawaii lawsuit is successful, it could help pave the way for the realization of the right to bear arms nationwide.

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