Hawaiʻi County working on bill to designate areas off limits for concealed weapons
The Hawaiʻi County Council continues to tackle a “sensitive places” bill that would designate areas off limits for concealed carry weapons.
Bill 220 is the county’s attempt to create “sensitive places.” The bill was introduced in October by Councilmember Aaron Chung, at the request of retiring police Chief Paul Ferreira.
In one respect, the measure would designate sensitive places as anywhere children gather, like playgrounds and schools. Other sensitive places include hospitals and religious buildings.
"I bet every community who's been adversely affected thought the same way. I don't want to announce to the world that there's no chance of a licensed gun being in a school or in a hospital. That, in and of itself, hopefully will provide some deterrence to any of the so-called bad people that, you know, we seem to be talking about. And that's why I think it's important to have these exceptions in there," Chung said.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the council passed new amendments that would prohibit firearms in establishments serving alcohol, public transit and vehicles.
Councilmembers also discussed allowing firearms in medical facilities with permission and government parking lots so long as they are unloaded and locked up.
Hawaiʻi doesn’t have statewide concealed weapons regulations just yet. Councilmember Heather Kimball said Bill 220 can be a way to signal to the state the county’s position on sensitive places.
"Even though this bill is intended to establish a law that applies to our county at this time until the state does implement some sort of legislation, it is also fundamentally going to be a signal to the Legislature about what our county is willing to accept. And so, you know, I am anxious to get something put in place. But I'm also very cognizant that I think we want to spend as much time as possible deliberating," Kimball said.
A second and final reading will be held in two weeks.