Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Second Amendment Case From Hawaii

A challenge on Second Amendment grounds to Hawaii's concealed carry laws has been launched by Chris Baker and the Hawaii Defense Foundation. They are suing the State of Hawaii, the City and County of Honolulu, and the Honolulu Police Department on Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds.

Hawaii is one of those may issue states like New Jersey where it damn near impossible to obtain a permit. The suit is also challenging the ban on non-lethel items such as stun guns.

For Immediate Release: 8/23/2011

Honolulu, HI – The Hawaii Defense Foundation’s founding director and president, Christopher Baker, has filed a lawsuit against Honolulu Chief of Police Louis Kealoha, the Honolulu Police Department, the City and County of Honolulu, the State of Hawaii, and Governor Neil Abercrombie in connection with civil rights violations of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States constitution.

The complaint filed in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii by attorneys Richard Holcomb, Alan Beck, and Kevin O’Grady alleges that Hawaii’s license to carry statute and various other firearm regulations are unconstitutional. State law mandates that citizens may be provided licenses to carry only in “exceptional circumstance” or “where a need or urgency has been sufficiently indicated,” all at the discretion of the county’s Chief of Police. The complaint asserts that this language violates the Second Amendment, which secures the right of all responsible, law-abiding citizens to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense. Additionally, the complaint also addresses the use of non-lethal tools for self-defense such as electric guns, which are banned in in Hawaii.

“The Second Amendment protects the right to self-defense. Everyday around the islands good people are robbed, assaulted, raped, or in the worst cases murdered. It’s simply a matter of physics, the Police can’t be everywhere to stop criminals from committing violent acts. We must be allowed to carry the tools that give us a chance to protect ourselves from harm,” says Chris Baker. “We want criminals to have to think about the consequences of attacking someone,” he continued, “but right now, nothing serves as a deterrent to them - the odds are in their favor.”
 The only criticism I might have about their suit is that it isn't narrowly focused. The issue of the non-lethel weapons might have been better to be in a separate lawsuit. I come from the Alan Gura school of suing on the most egregious item as opposed to the NRA school of suing bases on everything plus the kitchen sink. The respective suits against Chicago's New Gun Law provides examples of both of these approaches.

I have embedded the full complaint from Baker v. Kealoha et al below. I haven't had time to read it in its entirety yet so cannot speak to its points of law.


H/T Brandon Combs


  1. Complaint is lacking in specific references to Heller, McDonald, etc. That said, given that the Hawaiian State Constitution has a word for word the same as the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms (Article 1 Section 17) its going to be very difficult for the state to argue it means anything different than what the US Constitution says.

  2. My wife won't carry a gun :/, but she would carry a taser is why it was there.