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Hawaii is a beautiful place with a lot going for it. The state’s gun laws aren’t one of them, however.
While Hawaii has concealed carry, there are issues with the law. For one, Hawaii’s a “may issue” state, and that’s bad.
There are also limits on who a permit may be granted to, and that’s at the heart of a lawsuit recently filed against the state. From a press release:
LEGAL RESIDENT ALIEN SUES STATE OF HAWAII OVER STATE CARRY LAW
British Citizen Says Hawaii’s Law Prevents Legal Immigrants From Carrying Firearms For Self Defense and is Unconstitutional
Honolulu, Hawaii – Lawyers, Alan Beck and Stephen Stamboulieh filed a lawsuit in the Hawaii Federal District Court today, on behalf of Hawaii Firearms Coalition Director, Andrew Namiki Roberts. Mr. Roberts is a lawful permanent resident of the United States and has been since 2007. He lives full time in the state of Hawaii.
Mr. Roberts wishes to carry a firearm for self defense. In order to do so, he must apply with the Honolulu Police Department for a licence to carry a firearm. Hawaii’s law prevents him from doing so because it requires that all applicants must be a citizen of the United States of America.
HRS 134-9 Licenses to carry reads “the chief of police of the appropriate county may grant a license to an applicant who is a citizen of the United States of the age of twenty-one years or more “
Since Mr. Roberts is not a citizen, he is unable to apply for a licence to carry a firearm. This is solely based on his immigration status. Mr. Roberts argues that Hawaii’s laws are unconstitutional and are in conflict with the Equal Protection clause of the 14th amendment.
Mr. Roberts is no stranger to the constitutionality of Hawaii’s firearms laws. He has previously and successfully filled a lawsuit in 2015 against the Honolulu Police Department for a discriminatory policy that effected legal permanent aliens. Mr. Roberts also filled a lawsuit against the State of Hawaii last year, challenging the state’s ban on electric arms (Tasers).
Andrew Namiki Roberts is a director for the Hawaii Firearms Coalition a non profit organisation that advocates and fights to protect the second amendment and the right to bear arms in the state of Hawaii.
You can read the lawsuit yourself here.
Now, let’s be clear. Roberts is legally allowed to purchase firearms within the United States. That indicates that the law recognizes his Second Amendment rights. His previous victory against the state also does that.
In other words, while there’s an argument out there that the Constitution only protects American citizens, the law recognizes Roberts’ right to keep and bear arms.
As such, why should he not be issued a permit? More specifically, why should the law specifically exclude him from being issued a permit?
To be sure, there are some far-reaching ramifications of this case that extend well beyond the state of Hawaii. After all, depending on how far up the chain this lawsuit goes, it may impact the concealed carry rights of legal residents who aren’t citizens throughout the nation.
I do find it ironic that Hawaii–the state run by the same party outraged over a proposal that would require gun stores to call ICE if an illegal immigrant tried to buy a gun–would back such an anti-immigrant stance. Perhaps the problem is that Mr. Roberts got permission before setting up house in the Land of the Free?