Honolulu mayor wants city to adopt New York's sweeping "sensitive places" restrictions on right to carry

Seth Perlman

And given the leftward tilt of the Honolulu City Council the mayor is likely to get his wish… as well as the lawsuit that will inevitably follow.

It’s been about three months since the Supreme Court struck down New York’s “may issue” concealed carry licensing regime, and most of the other blue states with similar laws on the books have at least dropped their requirement that applicants demonstrate a “justifiable need” to carry a firearm in self-defense before they may be given permission to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Even in Hawaii a number of jurisdictions have already tweaked their laws, but Honolulu officials have been dragging their feet. In fact, the Honolulu Police Department is holding a hearing today to discuss proposed changes to the application process, but the department has yet to issue any concealed carry licenses since the Bruen decision was handed down. Based on the proposed changes, it looks like the city is still trying to do everything it can to prevent residents from exercising their constitutionally-protected right to carry a firearm in self defense.

For example, applicants have to go through an exhaustive training and application process as well as an extensive background check.

As HPD tries to change its policies, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi is asking the City Council to pass new laws limiting where guns are allowed.

The mayor said he wants guns banned in so-called “sensitive places,” such as schools, government buildings, parks, voting locations and public transportation. He also wants to give the power to private businesses and charities on whether firearms are allowed on their premises.

“We haven’t in 107 years allowed people to open carry. So now, the Supreme Court has said they can do that. And, what we want to do — what I think a lot of other major urban areas are doing — is keeping public safety, our priority and looking at what seems to be fair and reasonable,” Blangiardi said.

“So from that standpoint, you know, I think the fact that we don’t want to allow guns in schools and government buildings is a very reasonable approach.”

Meanwhile, gun advocates like Andrew Namiki Roberts from the Hawaii Firearms Coalition are against such restrictions.

“What’s being proposed by the Mayor’s Office is essentially a ban on carrying anywhere in Hawaii except public sidewalks. With these rules, in effect, you won’t be able to go into any building anywhere without the consent of the owner,” Roberts said.

Private property owners, including private businesses and charities, should absolutely be able to decide whether or not they want to allow concealed carry on the premises. The problem is that Blangiardi wants to borrow a page from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and make concealed carry on all private property banned by default rather than allowing property owners to ban firearms from their premises if they choose; something that flies in the face of how we generally treat our constitutionally-protected rights.

In essence, Honolulu still wants to treat the right to bear arms as if it’s a privilege to be doled out by the state or its political subdivisions only to those it deems acceptable, and only in a handful of locations. The net result, as the HFC’s Roberts points out, is that the vast majority of legal gun owners would still be prohibited by law from bearing arms in self-defense; not only on private property but in the vast majority of publicly accessible spaces as well.

New York’s new “sensitive places” restrictions are already facing scrutiny thanks to multiple lawsuits that have been filed in the wake of the Bruen decision, but Honolulu’s mayor isn’t waiting to see what the courts decide. He and other anti-gun politicians like Hochul are trying to erect a firewall between law-abiding gun owners and the Second Amendment rights; shamefully choosing massive resistance instead of recognizing the right of the people to keep and bear arms.