Blog 2/16/24

Weekly Spotlight 2/16/24 – 2/22/24

Sorry, Hawaii. The “Spirit of Aloha” does not supersede the U.S. Constitution.

A recent ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court upholding a state law that prohibits individuals from bearing arms in public raises significant concerns.  The court’s decision, which cites the “Aloha Spirit” as grounds for restricting public carrying of firearms, directly contradicts both the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case at hand, Hawai’i vs. Wilson, centered around gun owner Christopher Wilson’s assertion that Hawai’i law banning firearms in public places like parks and beaches infringed upon his Second Amendment rights.  Specifically, he argued that they do not conform to the precedent established by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in NYSRPA v. Bruen, which affirmed concealed carry rights.

While Hawaii’s Constitution does contain a provision mirroring the U.S. Constitution’s right to bear arms, Justice Todd W. Eddins stated in his opinion that “in Hawaii there is no state constitutional right to carry a firearm in public.”  This decision rests on the 1986 “Hawaii Law of the Aloha Spirit,” which mandates that lawmakers govern with an “Aloha spirit” defined as the coordination of mind and heart within each person.  Such a vague, culturally relative notion about aligning subjective feelings with public policy does not mean Hawaii may undermine the Bill of Rights so blatantly. There is certainly a delicate balance to strike between state law and federal law. Still, history has shown that states do not get to diverge on a given issue this dramatically when the Constitution expressly weighs in on it.

Furthermore, the law banning concealed carry in public will ultimately make Hawaiians less safe. States should remain committed to protecting Hawaiians and promoting responsible gun ownership and firearm safety. If they truly aim to keep the “Aloha Spirit,” then enabling law-abiding citizens to arm themselves and exercise their Second Amendment rights will go a long way and potentially protect Hawaiians in the face of threatening situations.

Ultimately, the Hawaii Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the ban on concealed carry in public may stay in effect for a while. That’s why advocates for Second Amendment rights must remain vigilant in protecting these fundamental freedoms and get involved in the political process, not only in Hawaii but across the United States.  While it’s Hawaii today, it could be your state tomorrow. 

Join us in advocating for sensible legislative solutions that will help save lives!


Three of the country’s largest credit card processors have quietly resumed work on implementing a special merchant code for gun stores. Credit card networks Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are currently working to comply with a new California law requiring payment processors to implement a specialized Merchant Category Code (MCC) for transactions at gun and ammunition retailers, CBS News reported Monday. Golden State lawmakers passed the requirement, which takes effect in May of 2025, with the hopes of prompting financial companies to track and ultimately flag “suspicious” purchases for law enforcement.

The House Judiciary Committee today passed legislation to strengthen firearm training requirements for concealed carry permits to promote responsible firearm ownership and protect Colorado communities from gun violence. HB24-1174 passed by a vote of 8-3. “As a gun owner and a concealed carry permit holder, I’ve seen the gaps in Colorado’s firearm training and testing protocols that can lead to unsafe situations,” said Majority Leader Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge.

House Speaker Mike Johnson is facing another challenge as he tries to navigate an already tricky spy powers fight: an effort within his own ranks to link upcoming legislation to gun rights. Rep. Warren Davidson is circulating a letter to Johnson and Majority Leader Steve Scalise urging them to use a revived debate over controversial surveillance power to also prevent data brokers from selling consumer information to law enforcement. And the Ohio Republican is weaving in another hot button issue, arguing that without changes, gun owners are at risk of being negatively impacted.

Former President Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner in the 2024 presidential race, said on Friday he had firmly protected gun rights while in the White House and vowed if re-elected to undo all restrictions enacted by President Joe Biden. Speaking to thousands of supporters at an event organized by the National Rifle Association (NRA), Trump promised to rescind a rule curbing sales of gun accessories known as pistol braces and other regulations put in place by the Biden administration.