The other day Cam had us popping the bubbly and clicking our heels over victories in Hawaii. Unfortunately with victories there’s also subversion. The celebration of Honolulu police chief issuing more firearm permits than ever can be overshadowed by some problems on the Big Island, Hawaiʻi proper. On August 4, 2023, attorney Alan Alexander Beck filed a suit for his client challenging some serious rights violations being inflicted upon residents of the County of Hawaiʻi.
Pursuant to that provision of the Hawaii County Code, the chief of police requires, inter. alia., Hawai‘i County applicants for a permit to carry a concealed firearm to execute a notarized “Waiver of Liability and Release Form for Application for License to Carry Firearms and Weapons” (the “Waiver” or “Waiver Form”). A true and correct copy of the Waiver Form is attached hereto as Exhibit One and can be found on the Hawai‘i Police Department’s (“HPD”) website at:
https://www.hawaiipolice.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/6.-License-to-CarryWaiver-of-Liability-Form-082422.pdf (last visited 7/23/2023)
The complaint goes on to enumerate the things applicants are signing away if they acquiesce to the unlawful demand, undoubtedly only executed by people under duress.
a. That the applicant prospectively waive any and all potential claims (apparently related to the application process or otherwise) against anyone who might provide information in connection with the application:
I, ___________________________________________, applicant, hereby release from liability and promise to hold harmless from any liability under any and all possible causes of legal action any and all persons that shall furnish any information or opinions regarding applicant’s background, family, personal habits or reputation in order to determine whether applicant is able to meet the qualifications to carry a firearm in the County of Hawai‘i.
b. That the applicant waive any and all legal privileges in connection with information provided in connection with the application process:
Further, the undersigned waives for this purpose any and all legal privileges I may have to maintain such information as confidential, including but not limited to the following privileges: attorney-client, clergyman-penitent, husband-wife, physician-patient, psychologist-client, creditor-customer, and accountant-client.
c. That the applicant prospectively waive any and all potential claims against the Hawai‘i Police Department in connection with the application process:
The undersigned further agrees to hold harmless and release from liability under any and all possible causes of legal action the Department, its officers, its employees, and its agents, for any statements, acts, or omissions in the course of its investigation into applicant’s background, family, personal habits, and reputation. I further realize that it is necessary for the Department to thoroughly investigate all aspects of applicant’s personal background and qualifications and, by applying for a License to Carry a Firearm in the County of Hawai‘i, I expressly waive all of my legal rights and causes of action to the extent that the Hawai‘i Police Department investigation (for purposes of evaluating my suitability or application to carry a firearm) may violate or infringe upon these aforementioned legal rights and causes of action. I hereby authorize the Department to reproduce this form to be used solely for the purposes of my Application for a License to Carry a Firearm in the County of Hawai‘i.
This release from liability given by the undersigned to the Department, its officers, employees, agents, and all others as heretofore provided, shall apply to any right of action that might accrue to the undersigned, my heirs, and personal representatives.
Needless to say, there’s a lot of unconstitutional to unpack there. The blatant Second Amendment violation is facially there, by the county making this a requirement. Further the county expects people to surrender other liberties such as their Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights?
The county has the hubris to force citizens to hold harmless the issuing authority on any damages that may result from the surrender of their privacy rights. To keep it succinct and professional, that’s totally unacceptable.
This filing is so fresh and hot it’ll make the volcanoes jealous in the former territory archipelago turned 50th star on our Jack. There’s been a lot of work that’s been getting done in Hawaiʻi, and the efforts of attorneys like Beck and plaintiffs like Grell are commendable. I suspect that there’s a high potential that the county will try to come to an agreement with the aggrieved to amicably moot the case. I could be wrong on that, but given the number of legal spankings that have been doled out in the land of Dole, the county of Hawaii would be smart to just do the right thing.
The progress of the case can be followed over at CourtListner.com under Grell v. County of Hawaii.