Honolulu police chief: call us if you see anyone openly carrying

Honolulu police chief: call us if you see anyone openly carrying
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

What’s amusing about Chief Arthur “Joe” Logan’s comments is that it’s already against the law to openly carry in Hawaii without a permit. That’s been the case for decades, and is the subject of a longstanding lawsuit called Young v. Hawaii that was first filed long before the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental right to bear arms in self-defense in public.

But with Hawaii’s “may issue” laws overturned by the Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, it’s now at least theoretically possible for the average citizen to exercise their carry a firearm in self-defense. And with hundreds of concealed carry permit applications piling up in Honolulu, Logan sat down with one local media outlet on Monday to discuss the changes to state and local law while seeking to reassure any Honolulu hoplophobes that police will still investigate anyone who’s spotted carrying in violation of the law.

If you see a person walking around Oahu with a gun that is visible after the Honolulu Police Department begins issuing concealed-carry weapon licenses, please call 911, Honolulu Police Chief Arthur “Joe ” Logan told the Honolulu Star-­Advertiser’s “Spotlight Hawaii ” livestream program Monday.

Officers will be dispatched and investigate, Logan said, and police will need a physical description of the alleged illegal gun carrier, what was seen, what time, a location and any other information that would aid the investigation.

“Obviously, concealed carry and the definition of ‘conceal’ means that you can’t see it or it is unrecognizable to the average person, ” said Logan. “If it is noticed and you can see it, I would ask you to call 911.”

How will Logan and the HPD handle inadvertent or accidental displays of a lawfully concealed firearm? What happens if part of someone’s pistol is briefly visible when they raise their arms up to grab something off the top shelf at the grocery store, for instance, or if a warm tropical breeze momentarily exposes the butt of a handgun concealed in someone’s waistband? Logan didn’t get too specific, but did note the “challenges” of trying to strictly enforce the latest gun control rules against those who are trying to comport with the law.

Clearing up questions about what to do if you are legally armed but forced to enter a “sensitive place ” through no fault of your own is critical to making the law work.

“The way the language of the law is written is really going to impact how we enforce, ” said Logan, using the example of a person legally armed whose spouse needs them to pick up their child at the last minute. “It’s something we need to figure out.”

Police officers are asked to risk their lives every day to keep the community safe and enforce the law, Logan said, and a new regulation regarding deadly weapons has to be clear.

“It becomes a little difficult for us on an enforcement level, ” said Logan. “We’re already asking our officers to do a lot.”

And the Democrats in control of Hawaii’s state legislature are likely to ask them to do more, including some unconstitutional actions like enforcing bans on lawful carry in “sensitive places” that aren’t treated sensitively at all; public parks, public transportation, and restaurants where alcohol is served, to name just a few.

While the new year is expected to bring new litigation taking on Hawaii’s post-Bruen gun laws, the continued infringement on the right to keep and bear arms hasn’t stopped at least some residents from applying for a concealed carry license anyway. The Honolulu police have more than 600 applications already on file, and thousands of other residents from across the state have started to receive their own county-issued licenses over the past couple of months. There are still plenty of issues to be resolved, including the state’s current ban on open carrying without a permit, but there’s also a strong group of 2A activists in Hawaii who are committed to securing and strengthening their Second Amendment rights, and they’re now fighting from a much stronger legal position than they’ve had in the past.