Tag Archives: Hawaii

Hawaii: That’s not something you see every day

Some Hawaiian legislators have entered a most interesting bill.


Stripped to basics, it calls for the repeal of the Second Amendment, under the guise of “clarification.” Because…

“WHEREAS, under this “individual right theory”, the United States Constitution restricts legislative bodies from prohibiting firearm possession, or at the very least, the Second Amendment RENDERS PROHIBITORY AND RESTRICTIVE REGULATION PRESUMPTIVELY UNCONSTITUTIONAL” (emphasis added)

Their argument is that the individual rights “theory” currently — and correctly — held by the Supreme Court makes all their gun control victim-disarming people control laws unconstitutional.

No kidding. All else aside, you’d think they’d have noticed the separate usage of “people” (when talking about… people) and “states” and “congress” in the Bill of Rights. Perhaps they’re public school graduates and were unaware that the first ten amendments were proposed and adopted as a single document.

I was also amused by their claim that the MILLER case declared the Second Amendment to be a collective right. Yep, gotta be public school victims.

No. What MILLER did was merely say that in the absence of evidence that sawed-off shotguns are useful militarily, they “cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.”

In fact, in describing militias, the Court specified that it is composed of individual civilians called up for service (and carefully differentiated the militia from government “troops” in regular service). What’s more, those called up for militia service are expected to appear with their own personal weapons. Which, by necessity, they’d have to own before and separately from militia service.

That’s about as individual as it gets. And a strict read of MILLER suggests that those in the militia could be required to own military-grade firearms. (I don’t go that far, but only maintain they must be able to acquire them in time for a call-up.)

The collective right theory of the Second Amendment is a relatively recent invention of gun controllers. It has never been held by the Supreme Court, which always recognized it as a right of individual people. It even factored into the infamous Dred Scott case in 1856, with the majority maintaining that if Scott were recognized as a citizen then he — as an individual — would have the right to bear arms and all other enumerated rights.

I very much hope Hawaii passes this bill. Imagine anyone busted for breaking the state’s gun laws walking into court and declaring, “Your Honor, even the State says this is unconstitutional.”

Ah, but so long as we’re talking about MILLER…

“In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.”

TL;DR: Short-barreled shotguns can be regulated under the National Firearms Act because they weren’t shown to be suitable for military use.

I believe that is why the Supreme Court has never granted certiorari for a direct challenge to the NFA since MILLER. NFA items, under that ruling, are things that are not used by the military. Except… machineguns certainly are. And gun controllers whine about “military-grade” or “military-style” “assault weapons.” SCOTUS doesn’t really want to touch that.

Which is probably why the Court keeps granting extensions on the petition for cert in the Kettler NFA challenge. Their cert decision was due in February; they granted two extensions, making it — so far — due by April 22, 2019.


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Hawaii gun laws hit target
“I believe Hawaii is a model for the rest of the country,” said state Rep. Nadine Nakamura. “We have one of the lowest gun-related deaths (rates) among all 50 states due to many factors.”

Well, I’m glad to here that your state is such a crime-free paradise. And how did you manage that?

Those factors include the low rate of gun ownership, strong gun control laws and firearm permit issuing, a gun safety education requirement, and mental health affidavit with medical record accessibility being required at the time of registration.

“Hawaii also has a 14- to 20-day waiting period, (and) bans handgun magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and semi-automatic handguns with certain features,” Nakamura said.
Fully automatic firearms, shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches long, and rifles with barrels less than 16 inches long are prohibited by state law.
Permits are valid in the issuing county only, and Hawaii does not recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states.

“Currently, all firearm buyers must undergo a criminal background check, a mental health background check and subject themselves to active monitoring on an FBI-sponsored crime database,” Bryant said.
All firearms, including those brought into the state by new residents, must be registered.

That’s… draconian. Still, they say it paid off.

Sort of.

Let’s compare darned gun-free Hawaii to another state. Hawaii has a population of 1,428,557, so I’ll run with New Hampshire, which is close at 1,334,795 (2016 numbers). New Hampshire is also a good test of the effectiveness of those victim disarmament laws because it’s the virtual polar opposite of Hawaii: high rate of firearms ownership, CCW licenses available (shall issue) but not required to concealed or open carry, background checks only when purchasing from an FFL, no registration, NFA items are allowed, no weapon-type bans, no magazine limits, no waiting periods, CCW reciprocity is moot because visitors don’t need licenses either, no specific mental health check, and the cops don’t get to read your medical records without a warrant.

New Hampshire must be a crime-infested hell, right?


Crime Rates per 100K (2016)
Violent Crime Property Crime Murder
Hawaii 309.2 2992.7 2.5
New Hampshire 197.6 1512.9 1.3


Hawaii ranks 30th in violent crime. New Hampshire ranks… 48th.

Hawaii ranks 8th(!) in property crime. New Hampshire ranks… 50th.

Hawaii ranks 41st in murder. New Hampshire ranks… 50th again; go figure.

I’ve never been to Hawaii, and don’t want to. I used to live in New Hampshire. Other than winter, it’s a nice place. The road I lived on had several shooting ranges; roughly 1 in 3 houses had a range, possibly more.

Everybody didn’t open carry, but it wasn’t all that unusual. I often did, and offhand I only recall three times someone said something. 1) A woman from Taxachusettswas  outraged that I carried a gun in the grocery store. I told her that based on the statistics, I was more worried about her killing someone with her car, than me having to shoot someone. She rushed to the front of the store, presumably to warn the manager that an armed man was in there. Since I’m not the only person who open carried in there I was unsurprised when nothing happened.

2) A little boy whose family moved in down the road asked why I had a gun. I started listing the wildlife in the area — starting with the ubiquitous bears. I told him that I’d probably never need it, but it’s like a fire extinguisher.

3) I was headed to the mailbox when the guy running the local police department drove by. He stopped to chat. He glanced at my gun and said, “I’m glad to see that. I wish more people would carry.”

Hawaii regulates the heck out of what firearms they even allow, yet has significantly higher crimes rates than heavily armed New Hampshire.

I think the real difference is the people, not the laws. And if all those laws are holding down crime rates in Hawaii, what the heck are the people like?