HPD to begin processing concealed carry permits after approval of new gun rules

The Honolulu Police Department will start processing permits for civilians to carry concealed firearms starting Monday.
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 5:14 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 21, 2022 at 5:49 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Police Department will start processing permits for civilians to carry concealed firearms starting Monday, but applicants facing a daunting list of requirements to get approved.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi approved controversial new permit rules last week based on a Supreme Court ruling that citizens have a right to carry guns to protect themselves.

There are already 600 permit applications pending, according to the department.

Samantha Kasnetz was training Friday at 808 Gun Club in Kakaako, and hopes she’ll be good enough to pass the proficiency test. She wasn’t sure if she would use a concealed carry permit, but is pleased to have the option.

“I will practice and take my lessons and do the best I can to try and pass,” Kasnetz said.

The owner of 808 Gun Club, Tom Tomimbang, along with firearms instructor Russell Tangi, demonstrated the proficiency test for Hawaii News Now.

With Tomimbang protected by safety glasses and ear protection, Tangi barked out the standard that must be met with the first stage.

Tomimbang then pulled his shirt above the holster, drew his Glock pistol and fired twice.

The test requires removing the weapon from the holster and hitting a silhouette target, placed at five distances, from nine to 45 feet. For Tomimbang, a 25-year veteran, the test was a breeze.

And he added it won’t be a major barrier for conscientious owners.

“Practice, practice, practice, right?” he said.

“If they do that before they take the actual qualification course they should be able to do it.”

There are already 600 permit applications pending.

At Wednesday’s Police Commission meeting, HPD Chief Joe Logan ― who has not commented regularly about the process in public ― told commissioners the proficiency tests aren’t necessarily to prove someone can shoot, but that they can shoot under stress. He said that’s why they added the timer, to put more pressure on the shooter.

“You might have to learn how to cope with that stress while shooting,” he said.

“And so that’s for us the reason for the time.”

Tomimbang said if that was the goal, a better test for decision-making under stress might be available simulators, which force the firearm user into difficult “shoot or no-shoot” situations.

At the Wednesday meeting, Commissioner Carrie Okinaga seemed alarmed by how quickly permits might be issued, and questioned police brass about it.

“Is it like a year or two years? Or two months?” she asked.

When told it would be more like a month, she said “Wow. OK.”

She pointed out that permits would likely be out before the city could pass legislation to control where firearms could be worn.

The mayor’s Bill 57 to strictly control where concealed firearms can be carried is scheduled for a special full City Council meeting on Nov. 29.

Tomimbang said permit holders won’t be a threat to public safety after they’ve been screened for mental and criminal issues and completed hours of training and practice.

“It’s a huge liability, you are going to have to answer for every round you fire,” he said. “So yeah, you have to be proficient with it, it’s going to cost money,” he said.

Some gun owners hoping to apply have pointed out that the city’s Koko Head Public Shooting Complex is closed indefinitely due to health concerns from lead contamination.

The closure seems to reduce the availability of training or testing opportunities.

But Tomimbang said the city facility was not suitable for practice or testing under the HPD process anyway because it doesn’t allow for the shortrange shooting required in the proficiency tests.

It also doesn’t allow holsters or the type of target required.

He said there are only two indoor ranges available for civilians on Oahu, which could mean long waits to qualify. The city has pointed out that many military members and families have access to ranges on base.