City Council approves bill that would establish firearms-free ‘sensitive places’

The measure is a response to a Supreme Court decision that expanded gun rights.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 2:13 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 9:10 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The City Council on Wednesday approved a measure that would ban the public from carrying firearms into “sensitive places,” including schools, hospitals and polling places.

The measure is a response to a Supreme Court decision that expanded gun rights.

In the wake of the ruling, HPD’s chief has received hundreds of concealed-carry applications and granted 38.

The bill approved by the City Council on Wednesday establishes places where concealed-carry weapons aren’t allowed ― even under the Supreme Court’s broadened interpretation.

The full list includes:

  • City-owned buildings;
  • State and federally-owned buildings;
  • Schools and child care facilities; public parks;
  • Shelters, including homeless and domestic violence shelters;
  • Places frequented by children, including the Waikiki Aquarium;
  • Polling places;
  • Public transit;
  • Businesses that serve alcohol;
  • Large public gatherings, including protests;
  • Concert venues;
  • Cannabis dispensaries;
  • And hospitals.

The bill also says those carrying a firearm have duty to inform in any interaction with a law enforcement officer.

“As a City Council, our kuleana is health and safety, and passing Bill 57 today was crucial to ensure the safety of our communities,” said Council Chair Tommy Waters, in a news release.

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

“While the Legislature is at its halfway mark in session, we cannot wait for them to act. There is no certainty that any state bills will pass, and even if one does, the counties are still able to legislate to protect their residents.”

Meanwhile, gun advocates are saying the bill imposes on their rights.

“All this bill does is it prevents guys like me from carrying a firearm to protect myself, my family, and any other individual that might send me,” said Kainoa Kaku of the Hawaii Rifle Association. “But definitely, not surprised at all.”

The measure now heads to the mayor’s desk. If he signs it, the bill will take effect May 1.