Federal Court Decision: Parts of Hawaii Gun Registration Law are Unconstitutional

Oral Arguments for En Banc Review of Young v. Hawaii on 24 September, 2020
Federal Court Decision: Parts of Hawaii Gun Registration Law are Unconstitutional

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- On 16 August 2021, in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, Judge J. Michael Seabright granted a motion for summary judgment for the plaintiffs. The two disputed parts of the State of Hawaii’s registration law are unconstitutional in violation of the Second Amendment.  From the decision:

HRS § 134-2(e)’s requirement that “[p]ermits issued to acquire any pistol or revolver shall be void unless used within ten days after the date of issue” is declared unconstitutional in violation of the Second Amendment. Defendant’s officers, agents, servants, employees, and all persons in active concert or participation with Defendant are permanently enjoined from enforcing HRS § 134-2(e)’s 10-day permit use requirement for handguns. To be clear, no other language in HRS § 134-2(e) is found unconstitutional.

HRS § 134-3(c)’s requirement that, with the exception of certain licensed dealers, “[a]ll other firearms and firearm receivers registered under [HRS § 134] shall be physically inspected by the respective county chief of police or the ch ief’s representative at the time of registration” is unconstitutional in violation of the Second Amendment. Defendant’s officers, agents, servants, employees, and all persons in active concert or participation with Defendant are permanently enjoined from enforcing HRS § 134-3(c)’s in-person firearm inspection and registration requirement. To be clear, no other language in HRS § 134-3(c) is found unconstitutional.

The order of summary judgment will not take effect until 15 September 2021. It is possible an injunction against the judgment will be issued by the Ninth Circuit before then.

To those who say the judge should have struck down the entire law as unconstitutional, the entire law was not challenged. A judge should not issue rulings about things that are not at issue in the case at hand. To do so is to make judges into mini-dictators.

This case, Yukutake v. Hawaii, is an extension of a case filed against the City and County of Hawaii, on 24 October 2019, which enforced a  policy of the limited time to use a permit to acquire a handgun and required in-person inspection at the police department to register the handgun. The case was settled with increased hours for the Firearms Unit and the elimination of the in person inspection requirement.

A month later, the State of Hawaii passed a statute requiring the 10-day limit to use the permit to acquire, an in-person inspection for registration.

The statute effectively nullified the settlement made the previous month.

Yukutake v. Hawaii, the lawsuit challenging the statutory change, was filed on 30 October 2020. The case was immediately stayed and administratively closed pending the outcome of the en banc decision in the Ninth Circuit, of Young v. Hawaii.

The outcome of Young could easily affect the case. It made sense to wait for the decision on Young.

The en banc decision on Young was published on 24 March 2021. Yukutake v. Hawaii was reopened the next day, on 25 March 2021.  Plaintiffs filed for summary judgment on 28 April 2021, followed by a counter-motion for summary judgment by the State of Hawaii on 28 May.

Summary judgment generally means the case is so clear cut and obvious the judge can rule on it immediately.  With countering requests for summary judgment, the judge has to explain why they chose one over the other or decided to dismiss both.

In Yukutake, Judge Seabright explains why, even under the twisted and highly limited rules the Ninth Circuit has adopted for interpretation of the Second Amendment, the two new statutory requirements are in violation of the Second Amendment.

The judge uses “intermediate scrutiny” as part of the Ninth Circuit procedure in Second Amendment cases.

Here is the logic, simplified for a short article:

  1. The two requirements are not longstanding. The statute was passed in 2019, so this may seem obvious. The judge goes into great detail to refute arguments about similarity to other laws.
  2. The requirements burden the core right of the Second Amendment.
  3. The State presented no evidence the requirements had any relationship to public safety, other than opinion.
  4. The mere opinion is not enough to justify a burden on the Second Amendment, even if the burden is not severe.

The refreshing part of this ruling is Judge Seabright does his job and follows the rules. In other cases, judges have used the Ninth circuit rules to gut any Second Amendment rights. They collapsed “intermediate scrutiny’ into “rational basis”, which is, essentially, no scrutiny.

Judge Seabright says the opinion of government officials is not enough. You have to have more to justify regulating the exercise of the Second Amendment. A state has to show actual evidence the regulation will be effective.

The State of Hawaii did not have any evidence, because no evidence exists.

For most of 80 years, Progressive judges have ruled by personal opinion and prejudice.

This case is part of a return back to the rule of law.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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Vinnie
Vinnie
14 days ago

“Judge Seabright says the opinion of government officials is not enough. You have to have more to justify regulating the exercise of the Second Amendment. A state has to show actual evidence the regulation will be effective.”

In that case, just about every gun law going back to the NFA needs to be repealed.

nobodyuknow
nobodyuknow
17 days ago

Hawaii SUCKS! You need to keep cutting pineapples and surfing. You obviously have little or no knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights.

gregs
gregs
17 days ago

the laws of this country are quite clear, but politicians and some activist judges seem to think they are smarter and know better that our founding fathers. all you need to do is follow the law and rule accordingly, without letting your feelings or concerns about public safety sway your opinion.
you cannot pick and choose which laws you want to follow, like the current administration and other politically connected people frequently do. if so, i want to change the definition of murder, to killing someone i like, ones i don’t isn’t murder. wonder if that will fly?

PMinFl
PMinFl
17 days ago

Maybe it’s me…what’s this REGISTRATION in Hi.? As in “inspected for registration”.

Last edited 17 days ago by PMinFl
Tank
Tank
17 days ago

A key grasp of the obvious eh…

Tyrants always like to use the collective “WE” by conflating the ignorant, fear phobic, weak, dumbed down, sheeple types. Immigrants/homeless/low educated/separated & disjointed families dependent on gubMINT subsidies/entitlements/benefit programs. It’s a mass psychosis trick the ruling hierarchy overlords have been doing for thousands of years since Rome created it (manufactured consent etc.)

Last edited 17 days ago by Tank
Bill
Bill
17 days ago

Amen! No opinion needed!!

nrringlee
nrringlee
17 days ago

Dean, first of all thank you for your clarity in language. For decades I have been asking my fellow conservatives and libertarians to stop using the term ‘liberal’ to describe progressives. Clear language is the key to clear thinking and is the foundation of clear argument. ‘Liberals’ wrote our Bill of Rights and our Constitution. Progressives are dedicated to the destruction of the same. On to the 9th and their ‘logic.’ Strict scrutiny is the only appropriate level of logic to analyze infringement of an enumerated right. Intermediate and utilitarian logic is not appropriate. The 9th needs to get reset… Read more »

Russn8r
Russn8r
18 days ago

No we can’t. Smell your own scharts: You say ~”We have no say since the USA’s not a Democracy; OBEY all laws, however unconscionable, unless scotus says otherwise; OBEY SupCt decrees, however perverse or treas0nous” – like Dred Scott. You pimp the ignorant, discredited, subversive, Unlimited Submission misrepresentation of Romans 13.

Last edited 18 days ago by Russn8r
Russn8r
Russn8r
17 days ago
Reply to  Russn8r

What’s’a matta’? Don’t like smelling your own scharts?

gregs
gregs
17 days ago
Reply to  Russn8r

can you two just grow up a little and stop letting your feelings and ego get in the way.

Russn8r
Russn8r
17 days ago
Reply to  gregs

Spare us the Rodney King routine.

Last edited 17 days ago by Russn8r