HONOLULU (KHON2) — Four months after the Supreme Court ruling to allow licensed open carry of a firearm, the Honolulu Police Department is working to change the rules. HPD held a public hearing Tuesday giving people a chance to voice their concerns.
Some of HPD’s proposed rules on open carry include a firearm certification program that requires a four-hour lecture session, a written multiple choice exam and a shooting proficiency test.
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Applicants must also go through extensive background checks, but those wanting an open carry license are concerned it’s too much.
“Inability to fire a pistol like an Olympic competitor doesn’t make a person unsafe to carry a firearm,” said a testifier.
Some are concerned about costs, while others are worried about their safety amid recent crimes.
“There’s been two or three car chases in prior years and you have stabbings. Down the block right across the street there’s shootings right in Ala Wai Park so how am I supposed to protect myself from these types of people,” said Kimo, a testifier.
Meanwhile, supporters of tough gun rules believe they could be even stricter.
“The rules can be furthered strengthened by contacting employers, character references, people who live in the same household and or current or recent significant others,” said Erica Yamauchi of Moms Demand Action.
No definite decisions will be made by the Honolulu Chief of Police on Tuesday. If any amendments are made, HPD said the public will have another chance to voice their opinions. If no changes are made, the rules will be forwarded to the Mayor’s office.
Maui, Kauai and Hawaii police departments have already adopted new rules. MPD has issued 11 concealed carry licenses, Big Island police have approved six, and HPD received 477 applications, but no permits have been issued.
Gun advocates did have a discussion with Police Chief Joe Logan before the public hearing.
“The people of Honolulu have strong feelings about firearms in general and about ‘concealed carry’ in particular,” said Logan. “It was good to see and speak with individuals who made the time to come here to express their views and we will be going over all of the submitted testimony in the coming days.”
Advocates said they’re hopeful Logan will take their concerns into consideration.
“We’re hoping that most of this goes away and the police chief has the ability to issue these permits,” said Andrew Namiki Roberts, Hawaii Firearms Coalition Director. “We already have a process in place and people have already filled out applications. They should be issued already, but because of this process it’s taken a long time.”
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HPD said the testimony will be reviewed by the department and Corporation Counsel.