Hundreds of gun owners stuck in limbo as Honolulu's backlog of carry applications grows

AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

It’s great to see that concealed carry licenses are now being issued given the fact that for decades it was virtually impossible for an average citizen to obtain one, but the city (and state of Hawaii) still have a long way to go before the Second Amendment rights of residents are truly recognized.


Honolulu police chief Joe Logan reports that 38 concealed carry licenses have now been issued, but there’s a backlog of more than 800 applications still outstanding. And three weeks ago, Logan told the city council that the HPD had approved 30 licenses. At the current rate, it would take more than five years for the department to get through the 800 applications that are pending, and any other resident who submits their application could face even longer delays.

While I’d like to think that the HPD is going to pick up the pace, there’s nothing to suggest that’s going to happen any time soon. In fact, Logan has been awfully vague about how long it takes to approve a typical permit. Back in December, when Logan announced that he’d approved eight carry licenses (while about 600 applications were still pending), he told reporters that he couldn’t give them a firm timeline on processing permit requests.

“As a police chief, it’s not something I thought I would have to do when I applied for this position a year and a half ago,” said Logan.

He adds there is no definitive length of time for the permitting process and it largely varies on proficiency requirements.

“It could be one week, it could be two weeks, it could be a month,” Logan explained.

“We don’t have control over that. We’re asking for information, so we’re waiting for information to come back.”


It’s taking a lot longer than a month, based on current statistics. Logan issued the first concealed carry license back in late December, and nearly three months later the backlog has grown by hundreds of applicants. Logan might insist that his department has no control over how long it’s taking, but there’s no excuse for keeping applicants in limbo for months on end. I can’t help but wonder if the department is taking its sweet time in approving permits while the state legislature is working on a bill that would turn many publicly-accessible places into “gun-free zones.” SB 1230 has already cleared the state Senate and is pending in a House committee; one of four anti-gun measures that are still on track to get to the governor’s desk.

SB 1230 defines 18 “sensitive places” where concealed carry will be off limits, including public parks, public transportation, restaurants that serve alcohol, public gatherings, banks, and virtually all private property unless the property owner posts signs permitting it. That’s not the only problem with the bill either. It prohibits individuals who are deemed “unsuitable” by a police chief to obtain a carry license, which is precisely the kind of arbitrary abuse of authority the Supreme Court shot down in the Bruen case. Oh, and the license is only good for a year, so gun owners get to go through the bureaucratic nightmare of re-applying every year.


Is it too cynical to think that maybe the Honolulu police aren’t in any rush to approve carry applications because the powers that be want to limit the number of individuals exercising their right to bear arms in self-defense until the state steps in and makes it almost impossible to do so? Given the response to Bruen that we’ve seen in other states historically hostile to the Second Amendment, I don’t think so. And if the Honolulu PD doesn’t pick up the pace, I hope one or more of the hundreds of applicants who are waiting for their permission slip to exercise their fundamental right bring these delays before a judge. SB 1230 is already going to face a court challenge if it becomes law, but it’s far from the only abuse of the right to keep and bear arms happening in Hawaii these days.

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