Proposed ban on concealed weapons at ‘sensitive places’ moves forward at Council
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A ban on concealed weapons in “sensitive places,” like schools and parks, moved forward at the City Council on Tuesday.
The council voted 6-2 to send Bill 57 to the Executive Matters Committee for further hearings.
Their vote came after hearing emotional testimony from both sides of the gun debate.
Mayor Rick Blangiardi submitted the measure for consideration, and said he understands the desire for protection.
“We also want to protect the public,” he said.
“And that’s why we are really strong on the sensitive places. I can’t rationalize ― with our society being what it is ― why you have to take a gun to the places that we’ve listed.”
Bill 57 bars gun owners from carrying concealed weapons in public areas such as schools, parks, city offices and even buses.
The bill is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down broad state restrictions on carrying handguns in public.
That decision prompted about 600 Oahu residents to apply for conceal carry permits.
Bill 57′s supporters say public safety comes first.
“You’re only going to cause problems by having more guns in the community. Simple as that. Look at Texas, look at Arizona, right? Hawaii is completely different from all these places,” said Alfred Keakahiona Medeiros.
Added Elna Nagasako, who also supported the bill:
“Please keep in mind that concealed gun laws don’t just involve people protecting themselves or others. They also apply to people who might be angry or intoxicated or for whom a gun could turn a bad situation worse,” she said.
But some gun rights advocates say legal challenges are likely.
“We’re law abiding and good people but people who want this bill passed think we’re going to rob people, murder, rape and become active shooters,” said gun owner Marcus Tanaka, who opposes Bill 57.
“The conceal carry weapons holders ... have passed the Honolulu Police’s background checks multiple times. We’ve passed mental health checks, we’re added to a federal background check database.”
Gun rights advocates also argued the city’s definition of “sensitive places” is overly broad.
“I want to carry a gun for protection against crime to protect not only myself but others around me too,” said Todd Yukutake of the Hawaii Firearms Coalition.
“Though 57 would prevent me from doing that in places where crime most likely occurs -- bus stops parks, many other places listed.”
Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.