The Honolulu City Council Tuesday passed the first reading of a bill intended to define sensitive locations where carrying legal concealed guns would be prohibited. Bill 57 was subsequently referred to the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs committee chaired by Council Floor Leader Andria Tupola, who voted against the measure.

During the three hour meeting, nearly 100 people were allowed one minute each to testify about their opposition or support for the bill either in person or remotely. In the end, the council passed the bill 6 to 2.

The written testimony includes 196 people in opposition to the bill, 60 in support and 44 people who did not take a position but providing comments on the bill.

The sensitive locations designated in the bill include parks, schools, public transportation, private property and city, state and federal buildings with some exceptions.

Much of the testimony against the proposed bill was centered around a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that expanded gun owners’ rights to carry firearms outside the home and a perceived need for residents to be allowed to protect themselves.

Testimony in support greatly agreed with the measure’s sensitive locations restrictions in areas used by children and on private property unless specifically agreed to by the owner.

City Council Chair Tommy Waters reminded the council members that this was just the first reading of the bill and it would need to be heard two more times before being passed. He urged the council members to pass the bill to move the discussion forward.

Councilwoman Tupola asked Deputy Managing Director Krishna Jayaram why the city was even considering a bill to designate sensitive locations when it was likely that the state legislature would pass a bill of its own in the upcoming session that would supersede any county laws.

Jayaram said the Honolulu Police Department is moving forward with approving concealed carry permits for about 600 people and a state law would likely not take affect until next spring. He said it is important to pass these gun restrictions sooner than that.

Waters asked Jayaram if Mayor Rick Blangardi, who proposed this bill, is willing to defend the bill in court, as several opponents suggested was inevitable.

Jayaram said this bill is intended to keep the community safe so it would be defended.

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