A Hawaii lawsuit seeks to strike down baton ban

A lawsuit was filed in Hawaii at the end of July which seeks to challenge the Aloha State’s prohibition on batons. In Hawaii, according to the case document, “The  State of Hawai‘i generally bans the  possession  of  ‘deadly  or dangerous weapons’ outside the possessor’s home without some prior authorization.  Haw. Rev. Stat. § 134-51.The ban specifically includes ‘billies.’ Id.” Attorney Alan Beck is representing plaintiffs Todd Yukutake and Justin Solomon in challenging the prohibition. Hawaii’s list of contraband weapons not only bans batons, so-called “billies”, but other weapons too.

Any person, not authorized by law, who carries concealed upon the person’s self or within any vehicle used or occupied by the person or who is found armed with any dirk, dagger, blackjack, slug shot, billy, metal knuckles, pistol, or other deadly or dangerous weapon shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and may be immediately arrested without warrant by any sheriff, police officer, or other officer or person.  Any weapon, above enumerated, upon conviction of the one carrying or possessing it under this section, shall be summarily destroyed by the chief of police or sheriff.

If someone is in possession of one of those items while in commission of a crime, it’s a felony offense.

This new challenge to Hawaii’s perennially insane and unconstitutional laws, comes in a post NYSRPA v. Bruen world, and within the filing the case is cited. How any of these weapons laws are going to be able to avoid being scuttled by NYSRPA is beyond me. 

One would think that at the time of our founding someone could carry a stick for self-defense, no?

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment guarantees individuals a fundamental right to keep and carry arms for self-defense and defense of others in the event of a violent confrontation. District  of  Columbia  v.  Heller, McDonald  v. Chicago, Caetano v. Massachusetts.

The Supreme Court has recently affirmed that this right of self-defense does not extinguish at the threshold of the citizen’s front door.   New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Bruen, (holding specifically  that  the Second Amendment “presumptively guarantees” the right  to bear arms in public for the purpose of self-defense).“To confine the right ‘to bear’ arms  to  the  home  would  nullify  half  of  the  Second  Amendment’s  operative protections” and “would make little sense given that self-defense is ‘the central component of the [Second Amendment] right itself.’”

While Bruen addressed the right to bear actual firearms, it is obvious that  the  right  extends  to  batons. Arms are “‘weapons of offence, or armour of defence.’ ”They are anything that a man [or woman] wears for his defense, or takes into his hands, or uses in wrath to cast at or strike another.’ 1 A New and Complete Law Dictionary (1771).” [citations removed]

Why is this such a big deal? It’s such a big deal because states like Hawaii, New Jersey, and others have prohibitions on defensive weapons that are either non-lethal or less than lethal, which all should be available to an individual for use as they see fit to arm themselves legally. 

New Jersey, for example, has similar prohibitions. However the “slug shot”, also known as a “slung shot”, mentioned in Hawaii’s law was changed to “slingshot” in NJ’s law, inadvertently or out of ignorance when it was written. In NJ Bart Simpson and Dennis the Menace would be criminals. 

Further insult to injury, the only defensive weapon available to the peasants in the land of 1000 diners outside of the home, up until the lessening of carry restrictions, which is listed in statute that’s acceptable for self-defense is ¾’s of an ounce of pepper spray. While electric weapons have been decriminalized in the Garden State, the statute has yet to be changed to align with the former fact.

The mentioned electric weapon prohibition lifting in New Jersey, as well as in Hawaii and other jurisdictions across the country were all also litigated by attorneys Alan Beck and Stephen Stamboulieh. They have an impeccable track record of systematically tearing down regulations set forth by overreaching governments. Most of the jurisdictions that the team operates in are akin to a battered partner saying “They beat me because they love me”, with of course the governmental agency relishing in the fact that their subjects are left defenseless while they get pummeled by both criminals and the government.

I reached out to Beck for comment about the filing and he noted the unconstitutionality of the law as it stands.

“In Bruen, the Supreme Court made it clear governments can not ban the carrying of protected arms.  Hawaii’s ban on the carrying of batons is blatantly unconstitutional” – Alan Beck

It’s truly commonsense that if a lethal arm such as a pistol or other firearm is perfectly acceptable to use in defense of self or others, these other options should be too. The mentality needs to shift concerning weapon possession in this country. With all this emphasis on criminal justice reform and bail reform, the tools for people to be able to defend themselves however they wish need to be returned to them.

The focus, which 2nd Amendment supporters have been saying for years, should not be on the weapon but on the criminal and criminal act. Simply carrying a baton, slingshot, pistol, etc. and being charged for it is essentially mopery.

Seeing measures like this continue to work their way through the courts is encouraging and depressing all at the same time. While it’s important that we fight to regain every available right we’ve lost, it’s also oh so depressing knowing that states like Hawaii won’t just willingly change with the times. We’ll be following this case as it proceeds through the system and report back with any new findings.