© 2024 Hawaiʻi Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Rules and requirements file in for Hawaiʻi concealed firearm licenses

A clerk hands a gun to a customer inside a gun shop, Thursday, June 23, 2022, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)m
Marco Garcia/AP
FR132414 AP
A clerk hands a gun to a customer inside a gun shop, Thursday, June 23, 2022, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)m

After a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June, all four of Hawaiʻi’s police departments have released new rules on how to obtain concealed firearms, or are in the process of proposing new requirements.

Maui and Hawaiʻi counties were the first to revise permit processes for a license to carry firearms. Applications vary slightly, with emphasis on certifications and identifications.

Kauaʻi Police Department Chief Todd Raybuck took a little more time, releasing revised requirements last week.

Kauaʻi Police Chief Todd Raybuck
Kauaʻi Police Department
Kauaʻi Police Chief Todd Raybuck

“Our community here on Kauaʻi have been incredibly patient as the department has looked at our internal processes and identified what changes needed to be made and what methodology and way that we will be able to distribute these new forms would take place,” Raybuck said Monday morning.

Revised federal laws stem from the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case, which essentially took away a police chief's ability to deny a permit outright to those who meet all established requirements.

This prompted police departments to consider how their current requirements may need an update.

“This is a new day for law enforcement and our community,” Raybuck said. “Previous to this, it was incredibly rare for an individual to lawfully carry a firearm outside the scope of their employment.”

Since releasing the new application on its Kauaʻi Police Department website last week, there have yet to be any new sign-ups that weren't related to security jobs. But Raybuck says it’ll be a matter of time.

“It’s likely that we will see more individuals legally carrying firearms for personal reasons outside the scope of work, and in doing so that means that community members may start to see individuals who are carrying firearms that they haven't seen before,” he said. “And police officers will be having contact with legally armed individuals who are not carrying for the purposes of employment.”

And with that, Raybuck says new internal training and community outreach are imperative.

“It's important for the community and the police department to discuss what those interactions, safe interactions look like, and how to ensure that persons who are carrying and the public who witness people carrying, and law enforcement who interact with people who are legally carrying, all have a common understanding of the best way to navigate those contacts,” he said.

Gun violence on Kauaʻi remains among the lowest in the state, with Raybuck reporting that gun-related crime or even reports “very rarely" occur.

But on the more populous Oʻahu, further development and discussion are taking place.

A rule change public hearing is scheduled for Oct. 4 for the Honolulu Police Department.

The Honolulu Police Department headquarters
Casey Harlow/HPR
Honolulu Police Department headquarters on Beretania Street.

“Hawaiʻi is one of those states where we have the lowest rate of gun violence. I mean, despite what we hear in the media, and the perception that it's on the rise, still when you compare to other places in the nation — very, very low,” Honolulu Police Deputy Chief Rade Vanic told the Honolulu Police Commission last month.

Vanic said as a law enforcement agency, it’s their job to keep it that way.

“We at the police department, we understand that we have a role in that and we want to make sure that we honor that role, so we want to make sure we get the rules right,” Vanic said

During a report last week, HPD Chief Joe Logan reported nearly 400 conceal weapon applications are pending in Honolulu.

Sabrina Bodon was Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter.
Related Stories