HPD holds public hearing on open-carry gun rules following high court decision

Back in June, the Supreme Court ruled that law-abiding Americans have a right to carry a gun outside the home for self-defense.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 6:01 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 4, 2022 at 10:52 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Back in June, the Supreme Court ruled that law-abiding Americans have a right to carry a gun outside the home for self-defense.

Four months later, Oahu is about to start changing its rules to comply with that landmark ruling.

The Honolulu Police Department is holding a public hearing Tuesday on proposed changes to gun rules.

Because each police department in Hawaii issues gun licenses, they’ve been scrambling to update their rules.

Hawaii Island, Maui and Kauai police departments have already adopted new rules — HPD is the last to do so.

According to the proposed rules from HPD, it appears clear that officials still want to make it very difficult to get a license for concealed or open carry.

For example, applicants have to go through an exhaustive training and application process as well as an extensive background check.

As HPD tries to change its policies, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi is asking the City Council to pass new laws limiting where guns are allowed.

The mayor said he wants guns banned in so-called “sensitive places,” such as schools, government buildings, parks, voting locations and public transportation.

He also wants to give the power to private businesses and charities on whether firearms are allowed on their premises.

“We haven’t in 107 years allowed people to open carry. So now, the Supreme Court has said they can do that. And, what we want to do — what I think a lot of other major urban areas are doing — is keeping public safety, our priority and looking at what seems to be fair and reasonable,” Blangiardi said.

“So from that standpoint, you know, I think the fact that we don’t want to allow guns in schools and government buildings is a very reasonable approach.”

Meanwhile, gun advocates like Andrew Namiki Roberts from the Hawaii Firearms Coalition are against such restrictions.

“What’s being proposed by the Mayor’s Office is essentially a ban on carrying anywhere in Hawaii except public sidewalks. With these rules, in effect, you won’t be able to go into any building anywhere without the consent of the owner,” Roberts said.

So far, the Supreme Court ruling led to a big spike in concealed carry permit applications.

On Oahu, HPD reports it has received 477 applications for concealed carry this year — none has been approved. On Maui, 11 concealed carry weapon licenses have been issued.

For more information on HPD’s public hearing, click here. You can also submit written testimony via email at HPDLTC@honolulu.gov.