HONOLULU (KHON2) — A historic day for gun safety is what advocates against gun violence called Friday, March 31 after Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed Bill 57 into law.
The bill restricts where concealed weapons can be carried on Oahu by creating sensitive spaces.
Schools, public parks, voter centers and businesses with a liquor license are just some of the areas that will soon become sensitive places. Those with the legal ability to carry a concealed weapon will be prohibited from doing so in those areas starting on Monday, May 1.
“What we did through the course of this hearing was we wanted to create a law that where people wouldn’t be inadvertently caught,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam. “So it’s common sense. Things at schools, hospitals, parks, these are very, very clear places.”
For businesses that are not considered sensitive places, specific signage from the City is to be posted if owners want to allow guns on the property.
“Now, businesses and charities that don’t want to allow guns, again, that’s going to be the default rule anyway, but they can post signs if they would like to,” said Corporation Counsel Deputy Dan Gluck.
Honolulu Police Department said the signs will be key for enforcement. Officers will not be allowed to search everyone in a “guns allowed” area if they get a call for someone with a concealed weapon.
“The clear signage gives us the indication as whether or not we can or cannot take enforcement,” said Honolulu police Records & Identification Division Capt. Carlene Lau. “It’s most likely going to be a call for service for HPD to come down. So they’ll be an initial witness or somebody or a business owner that calls us to come down and investigate, so it all starts with an investigation with HPD and part of that is asking for identification.”
The Hawaii Rifle Association is frustrated and said the City can expect lawsuits.
“Despite all the background checks, repeated background checks that the gun owners of Hawaii go through, we are still treated, like I feel like we’re treated worse than criminals,” said Kainoa Kaku, Hawaii Rifle Association president. “You know, we have actual criminals carrying firearms on the street.”
KHON2 brought up Kaku’s point to Mayor Rick Blangiardi; Does Bill 57 target law-abiding citizens and not criminals?
“You know, that’s a really interesting question because I’ve listened to people describe scenarios that quite honestly are not the Hawaii that I know or for that matter, nor the Hawaii that I want to see get created,” Blangiardi said.
Honolulu police said as of Thursday, March 30, 84 concealed carry firearms were licensed, 908 were pending and none have been rejected.
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Click here to read a full list of the areas that will become sensitive places on May 1.