Rebellion In The Lower Courts


Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act in January 2023, and it is among the nation’s worst gun-control laws. It bans the sale and possession of more than 1,000 models of rifles, including commonly owned AR-15s and certain semi-automatic handguns and shotguns, as well as rifle magazines with a capacity greater than 10 cartridges, and pistol magazines with a capacity greater than 15 cartridges.

In Barnett v. Raoul, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the state’s bans, which clearly violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. But what do I know? I just read and understand English, not pettifoggery in legal decisions. So I’m glad somebody with a law license agrees with me: 

“The Seventh Circuit defiantly jettisoned the U.S. Supreme Court’s holdings in both Heller and Bruen in favor of its own invented test that impermissibly shifts the burden to citizens to prove which firearms are Constitutionally-protected by the Second Amendment,” said Lawrence G. Keane, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s senior vice president and general counsel.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision chastised states and inferior courts that would reduce Second Amendment rights to a state-government privilege granted by bureaucrats. The Seventh Circuit’s decision upholding the Illinois gun bans is a direct and open challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s authority. Left unchecked, the Seventh Circuit’s flagrant disobedience will give license to states and other courts to ignore the fundamental liberties enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. 

Hopefully, the nation’s top court will simply strike down all of these gun and magazine bans, rather than giving the inferior courts, such as the Fourth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits, any latitude to get it wrong in the future.

Of course, you’re reading the above in the comfort of your living room and saying to yourself, “Things aren’t so bad that courts are ignoring Supreme Court precedent and simply ruling whatever way the lower courts choose.” But you would be wrong in thinking that. It’s a lot worse. 

Hawaii’s Supreme Court recently reversed a state trial court decision that found a man (Christopher Wilson) could carry a gun without a permit. Sounds good, right? Instead, the Hawaii Supreme Court reversed the trial court and ruled its state constitution provides no gun-rights protections whatsoever, despite containing very similar language to the 2nd Amendment.

“We reject Mr. Wilson’s constitutional challenges,” the court wrote. “Conventional interpretive modalities and Hawaii’s historical tradition of firearm regulation rule out an individual right to keep and bear arms under the Hawaii Constitution.” Authored by Justice Todd Eddins, the opinion in Hawaii v. Wilson goes on to say, “The spirit of Aloha clashes with a federally-mandated lifestyle that lets citizens walk around with deadly weapons during day-to-day activities.” Further, “The history of the Hawaiian Islands does not include a society where armed people move about the community to possibly combat the deadly aims of others.” I’ve loaded a PDF of the opinion on the website. You should read it.

— Todd Woodard


  1. “The history of the Hawaiian Islands does not include a society where armed people move about the community to possibly combat the deadly aims of others.”

    Did James Cook know this?


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