HONOLULU (KHON2) — Bill 57 from 2022 was passed by the Honolulu City Council. The Bill intends to prioritize community safety by restricting where conceal carry guns as well as open carry guns will be permitted.
Since the 2022 Supreme Court decision in New York Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, gun carry regulations have been broadly relaxed in many places across the U.S. In this case, the State of New York wanted those with conceal carry permits to show justified cause for the need to carry a gun in public.
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Honolulu has been grappling with ensuring public safety while also ensuring the freedom to carry a gun since this case.
“In response, the Honolulu Police Department amended its rules to provide for concealed carry permits in accordance with the Supreme Court decision,” said HCC.
There is strong support in Honolulu for restrictions on where guns can be carried in public.
Ward Research conducted a poll and found that the Hawai’i public supports restrictions on public carry in sensitive places. Bill 57 is also garnering support from local organizations like the Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association and the Hawaiʻi State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The forward momentum of this case left the Honolulu City Council with some decisions to make and appeals to proclaim.
“Hawaiʻi historically has had low rates of gun violence, and we need to keep it that way,” said Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Chair of the Committee on Executive Matters and Legal Affairs.
The sites that will be safe from conceal and open carry as proposed by Bill 57 are:
- City-owned buildings.
- State and federally owned buildings.
- schools and childcare facilities.
- public parks.
- shelters, including homeless and domestic violence shelters.
- places frequented by children, including the Waikīkī Aquarium.
- polling places.
- public transit.
- businesses that serve alcohol.
- large public gatherings, including protests.
- concert venues.
- cannabis dispensaries.
“Over the course of five hearings, we listened to the public and identified what we as a community would consider to be ‘sensitive places,’ like schools and hospitals. We also worked to make clear rules that the licensees could follow. Bill 57 is a step toward keeping our island home safe from the violence and tragedies we see on the mainland,” explained Santos-Tam.
Bill 57 extends a bit more and requires that anyone with a gun on them at a time when they interact with law enforcement officers must disclose to those officers that they are carrying a gun and present their up-to-date gun carry license.
“As a City Council, our kuleana is health and safety; and passing Bill 57 today was crucial to ensure the safety of our communities,” said Council Chair Tommy Waters.
Waters went on to say that while the Legislative session is on the verge of its halfway mark for the year, he believes that HCC cannot wait for them to act.
“There is no certainty that any State bills will pass; and even if one does, the counties are still able to legislate to protect their residents. With approximately 55 already issued by the Honolulu Police Department and over 800 applications pending, establishing ‘sensitive spaces’ is paramount,” added Waters.
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Waters concluded by stating that the issue of public safety is the kuleana of HCC and that they need to “uphold the safety and well-being of our residents”.
If Mayor Rick Blangiardi does sign Bill 57, then it will go into effect on May 1.