Hawaii's Weed-and-Gun Blunder Should Be a Wake-up Call to Gun Owners

In November, news broke that medical marijuana cardholders received letters signed by Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard, informing them they had 30 days to turn in their firearms. While Hawaiian police may be backpedaling after tremendous public backlash, the whole situation serves as a reminder of the danger of mandatory registries cataloging anything the state might want to later criminalize or regulate. Be it guns, vices, medication or otherwise, it seems state actors find it hard to resist abusing resources predicated on the trust of their citizens.

Hawaii is one of 29 states that have decriminalized and allowed the medical use of marijuana, and the state mandates registration of medical marijuana users. It is also the only state that requires registration of all firearms. This comes as a result of a tortured interplay of federal and state law, calculated to deprive Hawaiians of their fundamental right to defensive arms.

As the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) makes clear in their updated form 4473 used for most firearms transactions, the “use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal...purposes in the state where you reside.” But it isn’t the federal government demanding the guns of Hawaiians here, it is their own state government, using vague and rarely-enforced federal law designed to target violent drug traffickers to transform an effort to legalize marijuana into a license to strip people of their arms --- a transformation the Hawaiian people didn’t want or vote for.

Hawaii is using the same logic that groups marijuana in with meth, heroin and crack.

Surely few people who supported Hawaii’s legalization of medical marijuana contemplated the state launching a campaign to disarm cardholders. If a desire to disarm anyone who registered for medical marijuana had been clear from the outset, perhaps the Hawaiian people would have been unenthused about the Medical Cannabis Program. It makes no sense for Hawaii to legalize marijuana, departing from federal law, just to turn around and vigorously enforce a tangentially-related federal law that strips different rights away from the people.

Federal law prohibits users of illegal drugs from owning guns for mostly the same reasons it prohibits drugs in the first place. The Ninth Circuit highlighted this last year when they reasoned that marijuana, because it is an illegal drug, is associated with violence and “negative interactions with law enforcement officers.” In states like Hawaii where marijuana is all but legal, though, these justifications don’t make sense.

When Hawaii decided to diverge from the federal prohibition of marijuana, they abandoned the federal government’s reasons for banning marijuana. However, by using federal law to require marijuana patients to turn in their guns, Hawaii is using the same logic that groups marijuana in with meth, heroin and crack. It makes no sense for a state which legalized marijuana --- presumably because they disagreed with the absolute federal prohibition --- to use the same law to disarm marijuana users.

All it would take is a signature.

The most dangerous part of this situation is the fact that these authorities have everything they need to conduct out-and-out confiscation. They know who has medical marijuana cards, and where every legally-held gun is. A developed registry makes invasive, possibly violent confiscation mere inches from implementation at any moment. All it would take is a signature once the state has a detailed list of which doors to kick, as they do here.

We have to remember that firearms are the best mechanism for personal defense, and their ownership is a fundamental Constitutional right. What might be called a “common sense” piece of gun control legislation turns out to be quite dangerous when applied by the state in a manner that defies common sense, as demonstrated here. Luckily, Hawaii is the only state that currently requires the registration of all firearms. Other states limit registration requirements to certain types of weapons, such as “assault weapons” and machine guns.

Events in the recent past highlight the dangers inherent in a registry of gun owners. All too often, these registries are used against lawful gun owners when their guns are most needed. For example, direct-to-door confiscations were ordered by the governor of the Virgin Islands during Hurricane Irma, leaving the islands’ inhabitants defenseless in the face of a natural disaster with little explanation. Widespread confiscation is made easy by mandatory firearms registration, which empowered the Virgin Islands’ confiscation efforts.

A neatly compiled list of guns and their owners is an incredibly powerful tool.

One thing is clear: a neatly compiled list of guns and their owners is an incredibly powerful tool. The question is whether you can trust arbitrary and irrational actors with such tools. Hawaii, California, and other jurisdictions in the Ninth Circuit have done enough to cripple the rights of their people to keep and bear arms. These lawmakers don’t need registries to help them, and they can’t be trusted with them. Hawaiian police should be spending their resources keeping their people safe, not targeting people for trying to legally take a drug commonly associated with giggling and junk food consumption.

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Matthew Larosiere is a Legal Associate at a Washington, D.C. think tank. He holds a J.D. and LL.M in taxation and is pending admission to the Florida Bar. He is a Young Voices Advocate and can be found on Twitter @MattLaAtLaw.

It's not just the Twitter mobs, the Leftist extremists and the flagrant fourth-wave feminists who want ICE abolished. As we've seen, there's a growing number of politicians who want to see it as well.

Cue Alejandro Alvarez, who in his 32 years has managed to cultivate his brand as a "serial immigration violator." Alejandro has been deported 11 times. Well, he's facing deportation once again, after allegedly "slashing his wife with a chainsaw." His wife is in recovery and is expected to survive.

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Around 3:00 pm last Wednesday, police arrived at Alejandro's. When they arrived, they found Alvarez's wife suffering from "traumatic physical injuries, believed to have been inflicted by a chainsaw." The couple's three children were huddled in fear inside the home. Alejandro's wife was rushed to a nearby trauma center for an emergency surgery.

Alejandro fled the scene of the crime, but was eventually hauled in by police and booked under "suspicion of attempted murder, child endangerment, hit and run, and grand theft auto."

Sounds like the kind of guy who should be in our country illegally, right?

ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley noted that "Immigration officers have lodged a detainer against Alvarez, requesting that local authorities notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement before his release to allow them to take the man into custody."

This is the new reality.

This is the new reality. The immigration agency has to ask for permission, to file requests, to have illegal immigrants who are guilty of crimes dealt with. Luckily for Alejandro, Los Angeles is a sanctuary city, so maybe he'll get another pass and be back on the streets in no time.

UPDATE: Here's how the discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.

Why is nobody talking about this?

Alabama law enforcement officials say that an illegal immigrant and an immigrant in the United States on a green card are responsible for the brutal murders of a grandmother and her 13-year-old special needs granddaughter in what investigators say is violence related to Mexican drug cartels.

The Purple Heart is reserved for those wounded or killed during battle. Awarded by the President, the medal has George Washington's image right there on the front of it. Make no mistake, it is reserved for heroes. True heroes. Men and women who've faced death and still persevered. Soldiers who fought in battle at the cost of their limbs, their lives, or their inner peace. John F. Kennedy earned a Purple Heart for his heroism as a gunboat pilot in 1944. John McCain received one for, well, we all know his horrific story. Colin Powell. Roughly one million Purple Heart medals have been awarded to veterans, all of whom were determined to have fought valiantly, with courage and heart.

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So it was a bit of a head-scratcher to hear comments from Democratic Representative Steve Cohen from Tennessee and self-appointed "Leader in Effort to #ImpeachTrump." During a House Oversight Committee hearing questioning Peter Strzok, Cohen said, perplexingly, that Strzok deserves a Purple Heart. You know, because he's injured by all those mean text messages that HE sent?

As we've seen, other than Cohen's fanboy praise, Strzok hasn't gotten off easy. Thankfully. The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General wrote: "We did not have confidence that Strzok's decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the [Anthony] Weiner laptop was free from bias."

Lack of confidence. I believe that's one of the criteria for a different medal. Not a Purple Heart, though. Sorry, Strzok, you'll have to get your trophy elsewhere.

Time mgazine is back at it again, reporting the real news, doing the proper journalism. One of their latest articles is sure to earn them a Pulitzer. Surely. The article is titled, "Women Are Buying Up Plan B Because They're Terrified of the Future Supreme Court."

Here's how the article opens:

Within hours of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement announcement last month, Emily Hauser was standing at a drugstore counter asking a pharmacist for two packages of Plan B. At age 53, she didn't need the emergency contraception pills — in fact, she wasn't sure who would, or when. But Hauser bought them anyway.

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I like that the article sets up Kennedy's retirement as an apocalyptic event. A recurring theme in the mainstream media, now that I think of it, especially lately. Here's the gist of it:

Across the country, Americans are stockpiling emergency contraception in light of Justice Kennedy's retirement and President Donald Trump's Monday nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. The nation's highest court is on its way to having a conservative majority, making threats against Roe v. Wade seem more dire than ever.

A good article includes backstory. History. The context. Here's what Time had to say about the sudden influx—some would say panic—in birth control:

To understand the interest in buying up Plan B, you need to brush up on Roe v. Wade. Some background: The court handed down the 7-2 decision in 1973, confirming that a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy is covered by the Fourteenth Amendment. Progress has been rocky since then.

Of course they reduce the issue to a series of strawman fallacies.

Ah, yes. Of course they reduce the issue to a series of strawman fallacies. At this point, it's impossible for those inflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome, and now Kavanaugh Derangement Syndrome, to have a civil conversation. They certainly aren't going to budge in their opinion. Our main goal, obviously, is to connect to them as fellow human beings, living in the same chaotic world, and, hey, maybe along the way they'll admit that, maybe, they're a little more biased and deranged than they previously realized.

If all you knew about American politics came from The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, or MSNBC, you'd think that a "Blue wave" is about to swamp the country, with hip, millennial geniuses like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez surfing the crest of the wave. In fact, you would already think Ocasio-Cortez is the greatest hope for America since Barack Obama.

America is a very large country, and reality is usually more complex than the media lets on. But, since the media already has their narrative and superstar Ocasio-Cortez set for this November, there's no room for another young, minority, female, child of immigrants, political outsider, from the ultimate blue-wave state of California, named Elizabeth Heng. Well, there probably would be room for a story like that, except that she's a conservative.

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Thirty-two-year-old Elizabeth Heng is running for Congress against Democrat Jim Costa, in California's 16th district. It's been 40 years since a Republican won in that district.

In the early 1980s, Heng's parents fled the violence in Cambodia and immigrated to the U.S. In 2008, after graduating from Stanford where she was student-body president, Heng opened several cell-phone stores with her brothers in the central San Joaquin Valley. Running her own business and managing 75 employees opened her eyes to a not-so-dirty secret about capitalism trying to survive the virus of progressivism. She says, "I saw firsthand how government regulations impacted businesses negatively. I constantly felt that from Washington, D.C., and Sacramento, they were saying that I was everything wrong with our country, when all I was doing was creating jobs."

That's when she decided to venture to Washington, D.C., where she worked for six years learning the ins and outs of legislation and campaigning. She ended up working as a director for President Trump's inauguration ceremony, a job she managed while also finishing her MBA at Yale.

Fiscal responsibility isn't quite as sexy-sounding as free college for everyone.

One of the biggest lessons she learned working in Washington became the platform she is now running for office on: fiscal responsibility. She says, "In a family or a business, we don't suddenly act surprised when a budget comes up for the year. We get it done."

What a concept.

Still, fiscal responsibility isn't quite as sexy-sounding as free college for everyone. So, don't expect Elizabeth Heng to replace Ocasio-Cortez as the media darling anytime soon.