‘One set of rules’: Counties look to state lawmakers for uniformity on concealed carry firearms

After last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling expanding gun rights, the state is now under pressure to find a new balance.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 10:02 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 10:14 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling expanding gun rights, the state is now under pressure to find a new balance.

Every county has been working on its own way of dealing with concealed weapon permits and identifying sensitive places. Now, there’s a push for statewide legislation to clear up confusion.

“It might be useful to have some statewide minimum standards and identify the sensitive places,” said state Sen. Gilbert Keith-Aragan in a legislative hearing on Monday to Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth.

“As a former prosecutor, do you think that’s useful to do?”

“I personally think it is ... if everybody was under the same rules,” Roth replied. “Even if the state preempted the counties, we have one set of rules versus four sets of rules.”

Hawaii County was the first in the state to enact a ban on firearms in sensitive places, including medical centers, schools, parks, and public transportation.

Honolulu’s City Council is considering a similar ban.

Both Maui and Kauai County are reportedly interested as well.

County leaders would like the state to take the lead because of the threat of lawsuits.

Honolulu City Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam chairs the executive matters and legal affairs committee.

They’re reviewing the legality of Bill 57, a ban requested by Mayor Rick Blangiardi four months ago.


On our part, we want to make sure that if something, you know, a bad incident were to happen, that we thought of every dimension,” said Dos Santos-Tam.

“And we’ve done our diligent work to make sure we’ve kept people safe.”

The Hawaii Firearms Coalition opposes a concealed carry ban in “sensitive places,” but gun advocates agree with state and county leaders that Hawaii needs a uniform law.

“It’s very easy to accidentally break a law you don’t know ... because it only exists in one county,” said Andrew Namiki Roberts, of the Hawaii Firearms Coalition.

State Sen. Lynn DeCoite said the next step is for the mayors to collaborate on a bill that’s bulletproof.

“I would hope that you folks come up with something that you guys can agree on,” said DeCoite. “So that an individual wouldn’t get caught with doing something wrong as in hunting without certain regulations.”

Dos Santos-Tam said they’re planning on having a hearing on Bill 57 sometime in February.

He invites the public to testify.

The committee wants to hear from all sides to ensure they’re balancing safety and the rights of gun owners.