On Sunday, September 19, 2022, America’s Future along with 10 other amici organizations, submitted a Motion for Leave to File a Supplemental Amicus brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the Second Amendment legal battle Todd Yukutake and David Kikukawa v. Holly Shikada, in her official capacity as the Attorney General of the State of Hawai’i, et al., No. 21-16756 (2022). This is America’s Future second amicus brief filed in this case due to the June 23, 2022 United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen 597 U.S (2022).
The SCOTUS decision in the landmark Second Amendment Buen case altered the framework of Yukutake v Shakida along with all other Second Amendment cases in litigation on that day, across the nation. The decision reinforced and made clear that Americans enjoy a near-absolute constitutional right to bear arms. The decision warned national and local governments against enacting ticky-tacky arbitrary gun regulations; and further directed all lower courts to refrain from deciding Second Amendment challenges using what is known as the “two-step approach” which, in practice, gave courts unchecked discretion to uphold or strike down gun regulations at their whim by applying flimsy justification standards to the facts of any case to whatever outcome they wanted.
Specifically, the SCOTUS held: “New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.”
Writing for the majority in Bruen, Justice Clarence Thomas explained that in the Second Amendment context, there is only one question a court must tackle, “the test that the [U.S. Supreme] Court sets forth…requires courts to assess whether modern firearms regulations are consistent with the Second Amendment’s text and historical understanding [and nothing more].”
To assist lower courts with formulating proper analyses of Second Amendment cases, the Bruen Court categorized five different types of historical evidence: “(1) medieval to early modern England; (2) the American Colonies and the early Republic; (3) antebellum America; (4) Reconstruction; and (5) the late-19th and early-20th centuries.”
Turning to our supplemental Amicus brief filed this week, we posited that Hawaii has merely offered evidence that fits into the fifth category; the category the SCOTUS plainly states, in Bruen, as being the least significant.
For this reason and others, we urge the Ninth Circuit to heed the instructions provided by SCOTUS and restore the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment in favor of Mr. Yukutake, thus invalidating the following unconstitutional Hawaii gun regulations: HRS § 134-2(e) and HRS § 134-3(c), in relevant parts mandating that (1) “that individuals purchase a handgun (pistol or revolver) within 10 days of obtaining a permit to acquire” and (2) “that individuals physically bring their firearm to the police department for in-person inspection and registration within five days of acquiring it.”
Like the New York gun regulatory scheme struck down in Bruen, Hawaii’s onerous state gun regulatory regime is arbitrary, overburdensome and violates the Second Amendment.