Gun owners and Second Amendment advocates have had a pretty successful year legislatively, with Florida and Nebraska joining the ranks of permitles carry states, the repeal of North Carolina’s pistol purchase permit law, and West Virginia’s adoption of campus carry legislation (just to name a few statehouse victories).
In Democrat-controlled states, however, it’s been another story. Yes, anti-gunners were unable to advance bans on modern sporting rifles in Colorado and New Mexico, but from California to Vermont blue states have been busy introducing and adopting new infringements on the fundamental right to armed self-defense, and now Hawaii has joined the ranks of those states responding to the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen striking down the state’s “may issue” carry regime by passing carry-killer legislation that will prohibit lawful gun owners from carrying in many publicly accessible spaces on the islands.
This law, parts of which take effect either July 1 or Jan. 1, creates statewide standards for where someone with a permit to carry a concealed firearm cannot legally do so, and allows individual counties to have stricter rules.
Such “sensitive places ” under the new law include schools, government buildings, public transportation, organized public assemblies, bars and restaurants serving alcohol, parks, beaches, sports facilities, movie theaters, hospitals, college campuses and other areas. Restricted places also include all private property unless the property owner gives authorization.
SB 1230 also prohibits carrying a firearm if a permit holder is consuming or under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, prohibits leaving an unsecured firearm in a vehicle unattended and requires that a licensed carrier with a firearm possess the license.
Rep. David Tarnas, chair of the Senate Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, said during the ceremony that the Legislature was prompted to pursue this legislation given a 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively nullified strong limitations for issuing permits to carry concealed guns in public, including limitations previously used in Hawaii.
“This changed everything, ” said Tarnas (D, Hawi-Waimea-Waikoloa ). “Hawaii had to take action in order to establish a concealed-carry weapon license system, and that’s what we’ve done through Senate Bill 1230.”
The Hawaii Rifle Association and the Hawaii Firearms Coalition are both expected to file lawsuits challenging the new restrictions imposed by lawmakers, which largely mirror the vast number of “sensitive places” imposed by New Jersey Democrats that have since been put on hold thanks to a federal judge’s injunction.
Meanwhile, the good folks at the Connecticut Citizens Defense League will likely be filing another lawsuit of their own in the coming days after the Connecticut Senate gave final approval to a sweeping gun control bill over the weekend. Gov. Ned Lamont has already indicated he’ll sign the measure in short order.
The bill expands the state’s existing assault weapons ban to include more such weapons, tightens penalties for possession of large-capacity magazines, and ties domestic violence offenses to ineligibility for gun ownership. Open carry will be prohibited in public and concealed carry will require a permit.
The legislation also limits the number of handguns that any one person can buy to three during a 30-day period, or six for instructors.
Stricter rules on storage, assault weapons and ghost guns are some of the other provisions, as is a mechanism to make gun dealers more accountable if they violate sale guardrails.
In addition, any private citizen buying body armor must have a pistol permit or a certificate demonstrating eligibility.
More laws that criminals will ignore and will instead harm responsible gun owners and non-gun owners alike, from new gun registration requirements to that bizarre mandate that individuals who want to purchase body armor first possess a pistol permit.
The good news is that many of these new infringements aren’t likely to withstand legal scrutiny. The bad news is that lawsuits take time, and every day that these restrictions are in place rights are being denied. I’m confident that Hawaii and Connecticut gun owners are going to get the last laugh when it comes to the flagrantly unconstitutional mandates lawmakers have put in place, but the damage done to their rights in the meantime is no joke.