Uh oh, Oahu: Hawaiian county hasn't issued any carry licenses since SCOTUS decision

(AP Photo/Tae-Gyun Kim)

The good news? Two of the four counties in Hawaii have changed their policies and have started issuing concealed carry permits on a “shall issue” basis for the first time in state history. The bad news? Only two of the four counties in Hawaii have changed their policies and started to issue concealed carry permits on a “shall issue” basis. And in the counties that have yet to issue a permit, the number of applications are starting to stack up.


In Kauai County, just 35 people have applied for their carry licenses, and so far none of them have been approved. In Oahu things are even worse, with more than 500 permit applications stuck in a holding pattern.

“Only two counties have issued them. That’s a worry,” said Andrew Namiki Roberts, with the Hawaii Firearms Coalition. “We shouldn’t have four different policies for issuing permits. The state law is the same across the state. The regulations and rules for getting them should be uniform.”

Earlier this month the Honolulu Police Department held a hearing about concealed carry rules and had originally targeted month-end for issuance but now HPD told KHON2:

“We are presently working with the Department of Corporation Counsel to consider changes to reflect the concerns that were raised at the public hearing.  The rules are expected to be finalized in the near future.”

There is no set timeline for issuance.

Well that’s a problem.

Look, I know that it was a blow to the sensibilities of many public officials in Hawaii when the Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the Second Amendment actually protects a right of the people to bear arms; a right that can’t be infringed by requiring those who want to do so to first provide some sort of “justifiable need”; a subjective determination that can be used to deny virtually all who would dare try to protect themselves with a firearm. For decades these officials have been operating under the delusion that they have the power and authority to deny that right to any and all who attempt to exercise it, only to be told in no uncertain terms that what they’ve been doing is unconstitutional.


And now, apparently, they need to be reminded that they’re still violating the rights of Hawaiian residents by dragging out the decision making process for the new post-Bruen rules in places like Kauai and Oahu.

“The 500 people in Honolulu that have already applied is a drop in the water,” Roberts said. “Day one that those get issued, we are going to see a mad rush on the police departments to get more people getting them. So whatever policies they need to put in place now needs to be streamlined to allow the effective issuance of them. If not, a delay is going to just cause a lawsuit.”

In one of the lawsuits that set the stage for concealed carry here in the first place — New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen— the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed states and counties can prohibit firearms in “sensitive places” like schools or government buildings.

Hawaii County Council’s public safety committee takes up a “sensitive places” measure, Bill 220, this coming Tuesday morning.

We’ll have more on that particular angle coming up later this week. There’s been more pushback than you might expect to the sweeping number of sensitive places outlined under Bill 220, including from council members themselves. Believe it or not there is some progress being made in one of the most anti-gun states in the nation, but in those parts of the state where the advances are coming at a glacial pace it may soon be time to light a legal fire and get the courts to address the continued (and arguably unconstitutional) delays in recognizing the right to bear arms in self-defense.


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