Post-Bruen progress is real, but achingly slow in anti-gun states

(AP Photo/Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Christopher Mullen)

Slowly but surely the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen is starting to be felt across the country. This week a federal judge in Texas declared that adults younger than 21 cannot be barred from bearing arms in self-defense; a decision that could also doom the federal prohibition on sales of handguns to adults between the ages of 18 and 20. A federal judge in New York, meanwhile, heard oral arguments and is now considering whether to put a halt to some or all of the new gun control laws hurriedly enacted by the Democrat-dominated state legislature after the SCOTUS decision was handed down a couple of months ago.

Some of the states that were impacted by the Supreme Court’s opinion declaring “may issue” concealed carry permitting schemes unconstitutional are even starting to issue concealed carry licenses. Bearing Arms contributor John Petrolino wrote about the first permits to go out in the anti-gun state of New Jersey a week ago, and now there’s word that permits are also being issued in Hawaii.

Well, permit, technically speaking.

The Maui Police Department has issued its first license to carry a concealed firearm permit.

As of Aug. 24, 2022, the MPD Records Division had distributed 187 Concealed Carry Weapon license applications in 2022.  Department spokesperson Alana Pico tells Maui Now that 13 of those 187 have been submitted to MPD for processing.  A single application was approved.

The Records Division also distributed nine License To Carry – Unconcealed license applications as of Aug. 24.  Two of those nine have been submitted to MPD for processing.  None of the unconcealed applications have been approved yet, according to Maui police.

Before the Bruen decision was handed down, it was virtually impossible for gun owners in Hawaii to obtain a concealed carry license; even if they were able to document a specific threat against their life, licenses to carry were simply not approved.

But while more licenses will undoubtably follow this inaugural issuance, the state of Hawaii still has a long way to go before it fully recognizes the right to keep and bear arms. In order to simply possess a firearm in the home residents in Maui County (and the rest of the state) have to first apply for a “Permit to Acquire” a gun; a process that requires the in-person completion of an application at a local police department, proof of completion of a firearms safety course, and the applicant to be fingerprinted and photographed. Applicants must also know the which type of gun they wish to acquire, including the “caliber, make, action, and source” of all handguns. No changing your mind if you get to the store and decide you want to get your original second choice instead, and if the store in question has sold the gun you had your eye on, you get to start the process all over again.

Of course, you can’t just walk out of the police station with your Permit to Acquire the day you apply anyway. There’s a mandatory 14-20 day waiting period before you can pick up your permit, and if you don’t go back to the police station to grab it before the state’s 14-day grace period ends, you’ll have to start the process all over again as well.

Remember, this is what Hawaiians have to go through to simply purchase a gun. There’s a whole other Kafkaesque process to register your newly acquired firearm with the state, and yet another round of hoops and hurdles to navigate In order to obtain a concealed carry permit. Again, you can’t print off an application online but are forced to go to one particular police station to pick up an application or request in advance that the county mail an application, not to you but to your closest police substation where you can go pick it up. The entire process seems designed to make it a pain in the neck to exercise a constitutional right.

Speaking of which, what other right do you know of that requires you to write a letter to your local police chief informing them of the “purpose” of you exercising it?

Documents Required at the time of LTC or CCW application submission to MPD:

  • A letter to the Maui County Chief of Police addressing the purpose for the license
  • Two passport-sized color photographs
  • Copy of State of Hawaii Firearm Registration of the firearm to be carried
  • Copy of signed a signed firearms proficiency test including scores*

Incomplete application packets will not be processed. Completed packets may be dropped off at that address above and witnessed (signed) by MPD staff.

* Firearms proficiency tests shall be taken with the firearm intended to be carried, and must be taken within 90 days of submitting your application. The test must be administered by a state-certified or National Rifle Association firearms instructor of the applicant’s choosing (attach instructor certification). Signed test results must include shooting scores. A pass/fail test result without scores is not sufficient.

The Bruen decision is making a difference, but it cannot and will not be the last word on our right to keep and bear arms. With former “may issue” states from Hawaii to New York continuing to treat that right as a moral wrong that should be inhibited at every turn, Second Amendment advocates still have a lot of work ahead of us… and hopefully many more victories to come.