Hawaii's anti-gun hubris leads to doubling down over permits

(AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)

It seems that it doesn’t take that long before Hawaii has to pop back into the pages of Bearing Arms. I’m not quite sure what’s more tiring, the amount of unconstitutional provisions in their laws or when they double down after getting walloped. Today we’re going to discuss what many honestly thought was going to be completely in the past, but it appears the officials in Honolulu and now Attorney General Shikada, which was the position Conners previously held, has decided to appeal a decision involving permitting in the Aloha State. What the ilk of Shikada, Honolulu, et.al. continues to serve truly is not da kine and I welcome the day we can say aloha goodbye to the constant garbage coming from the public masters.

The case was settled back in the summer of 2021,  Yukutake v. Connors (now Yukutake v. Shikada). I reported on the particulars of both the case and implementation of the new system in the past.

Plaintiffs in a case out of Hawaii have scored a major win against the draconian laws that regulate pistol permits and registration. Yukutake v. Connors involves two individuals challenging both the 10 day permit validation timeframe and requirement for in person inspection of arms by the police. All-star lawyers, Alan Beck and Stephen Stamboulieh challenged the Hawaii statutes which read in part:

134-2(e) …

Permits issued to acquire any pistol or revolver shall be void unless used within ten days after the date of issue.

,,,

134-3(c)

Dealers licensed under section 134-31 or dealers licensed by the United States Department of Justice shall register firearms pursuant to this section on registration forms prescribed by the attorney general and shall not be required to have the firearms physically inspected by the chief of police at the time of registration.

On February 22, 2022 an opening brief was filed by Shikada appealing the decision from last year. In the brief there are weak statements in support of Hawaii’s formerly unconstitutional and irrational law. Shikada’s introduction summarizes the case history as well as offers their plea to the court to reverse the former decision.

In this case, the District Court invalidated portions of two Hawai‘i firearm statutes: (1) a provision that established a ten-day expiration date for permits to acquire handguns; and (2) a provision that required the in-person inspection of firearms at the time of registration. In ruling in favor of Plaintiffs-Appellees TODD YUKUTAKE and DAVID KIKUKAWA (“Plaintiffs”), the District Court disregarded authoritative case law, disregarded or misunderstood legislative history, and failed to apply common sense. Defendant-Appellant HOLLY T. SHIKADA,3 in her official capacity as the Attorney General of the State of Hawai‘i (“Defendant”), respectfully requests that this Court reverse the District Court’s decision and direct the District Court to grant summary judgment in favor of Defendant.

While Shikada was on the topic of ignoring case law, we did not get any details about how Hawaii and multiple jurisdictions through the Union ignore Heller on the regular, picking what they want form the opinion. We can only speculate who and which bad actors are going to stick their head in the sand when NYSRPA delivers a headshot to the anti-freedom caucus’s arguments.

On what further grounds is it purported that this opinion should be reversed?

The District Court erred in striking down the ten-day expiration date for permits to acquire. The District Court improperly failed to apply the exception for “longstanding prohibitions” because it refused to consider 20th century laws, in violation of numerous Court of Appeals and Supreme Court decisions. The District Court also improperly failed to apply the exception for “conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms[.]”

The District Court purported to apply intermediate scrutiny to this case but in fact scrutinized this case to a degree that amounted to strict scrutiny. The District Court failed to consider whether the “government interest … would be achieved less effectively absent the regulation[,]” did not defer to the Legislature’s “predictive judgments,” rejected the Legislature’s “reasonable inferences,” and disregarded the legislative history.

The District Court erred in believing that the statute was not supported by evidence. The District Court ignored the legislative history of the statute that enacted the ten-day expiration date. The District Court failed to understand that the general purpose of a bill also applies to the specific provisions within the bill. It is a cardinal rule of statutory construction that a statute’s general purpose applies to its subsidiary provisions as well. Like the rest of Act 26, the ten-day expiration date provision had a public safety purpose in helping “law enforcing agencies” “control[] the sale, transfer and possession of firearms[.]” And that provision was intended to provide a “better means” of doing so by adding a short expiration date to permits to acquire. There are also studies that support the efficacy of permitting or licensing requirements as a whole in reducing gun violence.

Conveniently these “studies” were not cited nor substantiated within the brief. Shocking.

I reached out to Alan Beck, one of the attorneys representing Yukutake and he had some thoughts about the filing.

The State of Hawaii is unable to produce any evidence that its laws promote public safety. Its only argument is that it is common sense strict gun laws benefit the public. In our Answering Brief, we will demonstrate that their position is far from common sense.

What we’re seeing with this appeal is a classic case of not knowing when to fold em’. While yes, dealing with the 9th, it’s truly an anything goes scenario, is this the case that’s worth trying to reverse? The argumentation is weak at best and this filing is just continuing the circus of irrational madness from those who want absolute control and completely disregard civil liberties.

I hope Shikada, who just took over as Attorney General in December, has her pencils sharpened. If she does not like this opinion, she’s certainly not going to like a post NYSRPA America, and all kinds of challenges to Hawaii’s laws will undoubtedly follow.

As always, we’ll be watching how this case unfolds and report back with the latest news on the topic.