Isle gun laws look safe from high court
The Supreme Court guts the capital's ban against handguns
Most state gun restrictions, including Hawaii's, appear to be allowed under yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a ban on handguns in Washington, D.C.
"It's really the municipalities that are the offenders," said Robert A. Levy, one of the lawyers on the winning side of the case.
Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in the 5-4 decision, also suggested that bans on concealed weapons would probably survive Second Amendment muster. He added that the court's list of permissible restrictions was not exhaustive.
Because the case before the court arose from the District of Columbia and thus involved only federal law, the court did not resolve the important question of whether the Second Amendment's protections affect state and local laws.
Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett said that while the Washington law differs significantly from Hawaii's gun control laws, "there is a strong indication that the court's majority would apply the Second Amendment to the states and state laws."
"We intend to fully review Hawaii's gun control laws, but we believe that they are defensible against constitutional challenges," Bennett said. "We believe that challenges to Hawaii's laws are likely, as are challenges to gun control laws throughout the United States."
"It's a good day for Americans," said Mark Plischke, director and legislative co-chairman for the Hawaii Rifle Association.
Plischke said, "This is the first Supreme Court validation of the Second Amendment in history. It affirms the individual's right to keep a firearm for self-defense and for hunting."
He predicted more court challenges on the issue of gun control, adding, "We're considering strategy at this point," but said it was premature to say whether the Hawaii Rifle Association would challenge any Hawaii gun control laws.
Star-Bulletin reporter Leila Fujimori and the New York Times contributed to this report.