The Wire

Avon Barksdale (Wood Harris), Slim Charles (Anwan Glover) and Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) in The Wire

(Photo: The Wire/public domain)

Citing The Wire's Slim Charles, Hawaii Supreme Court Rebukes SCOTUS on 2nd Amendment

"The thing about the old days, they the old days."

A 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling paved the way for states to weaken gun safety laws, but the Hawaii Supreme Court made clear on Wednesday—with the help of the character Slim Charles on HBO's "The Wire"—that the high court's regressive decision would not force the state to allow residents to carry unlicensed firearms in public.

The court unanimously upheld the state's ban, saying that "states retain the authority to require individuals have a license before carrying firearms in public."

The 5-0 decision was at odds with New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, the 2022 case in which the Supreme Court's right-wing majority ruled that laws and regulations pertaining to firearms must fall within the United States' so-called "historical tradition."

Last year, Bruen underpinned a decision made by a federal judge in Virginia that 18-to-20-year-olds could not be barred from purchasing guns since men as young as 18 were permitted to join armed militias at the time of the United States' founding.

"Time-traveling to 1791 or 1868 to collar how a state regulates lethal weapons—per the Constitution's democratic design—is a dangerous way to look at the federal constitution," wrote Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Todd Eddins in the ruling. "The Constitution is not a 'suicide pact.'"

Eddins acknowledged that the state's constitution, like the U.S. Constitution, says, "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."

"Those words do not support a right to possess lethal weapons in public for possible self-defense," he wrote.

The court issued an unequivocal rebuke of the importance the Supreme Court placed on the United States' "historical tradition."

"As the world turns, it makes no sense for contemporary society to pledge allegiance to the founding era's culture, realities, laws, and understanding of the Constitution," wrote Eddins before citing the words of Slim Charles, the fictional character from the popular series, who once said: "The thing about the old days, they the old days."

"This is a top-10 court precedent in history," one lawyer said of the citation.

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