The Honolulu City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday to consider Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s proposed legislation to protect sensitive places where carrying concealed firearms will be restricted.

More than 300 people have already provided online written testimony on Bill 57, prior to the 10 a.m. meeting in third floor council chambers at Honolulu Hale.

Hawaii has traditionally been very strict on issuing concealed gun permits and had some of the lowest violent crimes rates in the nation, but a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June invalidated a 170-year-old law in Hawaii that required firearms permit applicants to prove a special need to carry a concealed gun.

The high court ruled that a New York concealed-carry weapons law was unconstitutional and expanded gun owners’ right to carry firearms outside the home. However, the court allowed that jurisdictions could restrict concealed gun carry in sensitive areas leading to new laws across the county defining where guns would not be permitted.

The first day of McKinley High School's 2022 school year.
Testimony is being heard by the Honolulu City Council Tuesday on prohibiting concealed guns in public schools and other sensitive places. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Testimony Available Online

As of 5 p.m. Monday 60 people had given testimony supporting the bill, 196 in opposition, with 44 submitting comments.

“So now you want to tie the hands of law abiding, trained, certified, licensed gun owners to defend themselves and/or the public should the time come, when you know darn well criminals don’t and never have followed the law!” Mililani resident Rita Kama-Kimura wrote in opposition to the bill. “I prefer the idea that if I am out and about and something should happen, that there is a chance someone who is carrying is there to help. I strongly urge you to oppose the passing of this bill.”

Guinevere de la Mare of Kailua submitted testimony in support of the bill.

“I fully support the 170-year ban on firearms in Hawaii. People should not be allowed to bring firearms to schools, parks, public transit, or any other gathering spots. Our keiki should be safe at school, our ‘ohana should be able to gather without fear,” de la Mare wrote.

According to the bill, sensitive places are defined as “all areas in or on city-owned or controlled businesses and offices,” but there are exclusions.

These include dwellings not used for child care, the Koko Head Shooting Complex, scheduled firearms shows at the Blaisdell Center or other city-owned buildings; all federal and state-owned buildings excluding dwellings not used for child care; all schools, child care facilities and places frequented by children; all voter service centers and public transportation and areas within 100 feet of the outer edge of groups of 25 or more people gathered in a public space to express their free speech rights.

Carrying a concealed weapon on any business or charity property would be prohibited unless given express permission.

A violation of these sensitive areas would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $2,000 fine.

This is the council’s first reading of Bill 57 and as with all bills, will be followed by further committee and full council action with more public input allowed during each hearing.

Following a public hearing in October, Police Chief Joe Logan amended the rules for concealed carry permits to coincide with the Supreme Court ruling and began the process for issuing licenses last week. Some 600 applicants are on the waiting list for a permit.

Permits for people to carry concealed weapons are already being issued in Maui, Kauai and Hawaii counties. The Hawaii County Council this month passed a sensitive places bill which is now awaiting Mayor Mitch Roth’s signature to become law.

State lawmakers are considering introducing legislation next session to restrict where concealed guns can be carried.

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