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Article I, § 17 of the Hawaii Constitution states: “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.”

In State v. Mendoza, the Supreme Court of Hawaii rejected an art. I, § 17 challenge to Hawaii Revised Statutes Annotated § 134-4(b) which (along with § 134-2) requires a person to obtain a permit before acquiring any firearm.1 The court found that the state’s police power allows it to regulate the right to “bear arms” in a reasonable manner, and that the permitting requirement was “rationally related to the legitimate government interest of ensuring that only those who are mature, law abiding, competent citizens possess firearms.”2 Although the State v. Mendoza decision was overruled in light of Heller, Hawaii may continue to regulate the right to bear arms in a reasonable manner.3


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  1. 920 P.2d 357 (Haw. 1996).[]
  2. Mendoza, 920 P.2d at 368.[]
  3. Lowe v. Kealoha, 2010 Haw. App. LEXIS 866 (Haw. Ct. App. Dec. 22, 2010).[]