Danny De Gracia: Trust The People Of Hawaii To Carry Guns Responsibly - Honolulu Civil Beat

About the Author

Danny de Gracia

Danny de Gracia is a resident of Waipahu, a political scientist and an ordained minister. Opinions are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Civil Beat's views. You can reach him by email at dgracia@civilbeat.org or follow him on Twitter at @ddg2cb.

In Hawaii, our policymakers seem to perpetually struggle with understanding the difference between rights and privileges. The Bill of Rights in our U.S. Constitution, as well as the similarly worded bill of rights in our state constitution, enumerate the freedoms guaranteed to citizens and limit the power of government.

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Thomas Jefferson famously said that “a free people claim their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.” From this, we understand that if what we do or what we want to do requires the permission of someone else, it is not a right, but a privilege that can be revoked.

I don’t know if this is a result of Hawaii’s many years as an agricultural plantation, but our local leaders historically treat our individual rights as if they were privileges. We are regarded as children by nanny state regulators who have a “You bad boy! Go stand in the corner and be silent until I say you can move or talk” attitude to everything.

Don’t believe me? At the State Capitol, every session is an outrage fest over how many things in the world are unregulated, unlicensed, or untaxed.

“There are so many legal loopholes,” we hear every session, and by a “loophole” what they really mean is doing what you want to do without first getting a permit, being granted an exemption, or max donating to someone’s campaign so that you can have a bill written that gives you a legal carveout to be the only one in Hawaii who can do it.

Attend any 2022 candidate forum for any contest this year and rather than hearing about how we can use personal initiative or freedom to advance Hawaii, the discussion is likewise about what the government can do to micromanage more things.

Let’s phrase this another way for the politically uninitiated: Unless the “rights” you want to enjoy are “rights” that are endorsed and approved by the latest federal grant that the state or counties are milking, you better ask for the privilege and honor of doing what you want to do here in the Aloha State.

It is with this outrage and frustration that I caution our local leaders to go easy in their response to the latest U.S. Supreme Court decisions on Second Amendment matters. The conservative majority Supreme Court has essentially slapped states on the wrist that try to obstruct the right of law abiding citizens to open carry firearms for self-defense. You shouldn’t have to “prove” you need to open carry a firearm if you are a law-abiding citizen – the Second Amendment grants us that right.

Critics will of course say that the rash of mass shootings around the nation and political instability are proof that we can’t be trusted to own firearms, and some may even go so far as to say the Second Amendment should be abolished and the only people who should carry guns are police or military. You have the right to say that and feel that way, but until you amend the U.S. and state constitutions, we have the right to keep and bear arms.

If you ask me, Hawaii should welcome these SCOTUS rulings. The wave of violent robberies and assaults around Oahu is reason enough for law-abiding citizens to have the means of self-defense to protect themselves, or rather, the means of deterrence to put in the mind of every prospective criminal that they can’t just kill, steal or destroy in this state with impunity.

Everyone who wants to buy a handgun in Hawaii must take a six-hour course in firearm safety. Marina RIker/Civil Beat/2015

Our state and counties’ approach to firearms have given violent criminals a monopoly of force over defenseless innocent people, who are at the mercy of police showing up in time to save them. Excuse me, but that’s just stupid thinking.

We should also be aware of the fact that recent advances in artificial intelligence have made it possible to better determine the difference between peaceful and potentially hostile individuals.

The U.S. Air Force has already begun testing an AI surveillance system at Tyndall Air Force Base which has the ability to detect whether individuals are armed, identify whether weapons are holstered or slung, and when necessary, alert security forces to respond within seconds of a firearm being improperly drawn.

Hawaii could easily make use of this type of AI technology to discern between “good guys” and “bad guys” rather than approaching everything with a blanket, “you can’t have that, it’s not good for you, do as I say and don’t ask for more privileges” approach to Second Amendment rights.

I suspect it’s too heavy of a lift for our local leaders to seek technological solutions or even individual moral solutions to address fears of gun violence. If they want to protect government facilities and schools, then they should invest in the infrastructure and personnel to guard those places rather than casting aspersions on legal firearms owners. I am here to tell you that the people of Hawaii can be trusted to open carry and to defend themselves against evil criminals who would try to harm them.

Some say that Oahu would become “the Wild West” if open carry were to happen, but I say that Oahu is already the Wild West with crime out of control, the police nowhere to be found when we need them, and the economy souring.

It’s time to activate our sovereignty – our individual sovereignty as free, responsible citizens of the United States of America – and reclaim both the right to keep and bear arms and the right of self-defense.

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About the Author

Danny de Gracia

Danny de Gracia is a resident of Waipahu, a political scientist and an ordained minister. Opinions are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Civil Beat's views. You can reach him by email at dgracia@civilbeat.org or follow him on Twitter at @ddg2cb.

Latest Comments (0)

This is sad that someone would spout this propaganda. Have to ask, are you getting paid by the gun lobby? Fact of the matter is that if you have a gun, chances are that if anyone is shot, it will be you. The star advertiser had an article that said around 70% of gun deaths are suicides in Hawaii and this has been constant for a long time. I am tired about hearing about legal gun owners having the right to protect their property. The fact is a very low number of gun deaths are protecting one's property. It should be noted that theft of guns was the number one source of illegal guns for evil doers until gun shows replaced theft as a source of illegal guns. Why wasn't this mentioned?Even on the mainland I believe guns deaths are over 50% suicides. Do you really want to make it easy to kill yourself?

buds4fun · 1 month ago

Amen, Rev. De Gracia.

Shoeter · 1 month ago

This current Supreme Court is acting like the nanny state to everyone in the country. Their recent rulings have taken away many private rights and they have plans to take away more. They want to turn the United States into a theocracy, with 1920 rules. I can't support anybody who supports their rulings.

Scotty_Poppins · 1 month ago

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