LIHUE, Hawaii — A foreign citizen living legally in Hawaiʻi is suing the state over laws preventing him from obtaining a gun license, according to court documents.
United Kingdom citizen Andrew Roberts filed the federal civil lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Honolulu, The Garden Island reported Sunday.
Hawaiʻi statutes restricting gun ownership on the basis of citizenship are unconstitutional denials of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment, the lawsuit claims.
"The law is clearly in violation of the Constitution," Roberts said. "This is just the process we have to go through in order to change it."
Roberts, a director for the Hawaii Firearms Coalition, moved there from England 12 years ago and established legal residency. He said this is his third gun rights lawsuit in Hawaiʻi.
His 2015 federal lawsuit overturned a Honolulu Police Department policy requiring non-citizen residents applying for a gun-ownership license to provide additional documentation from their country of origin. In 2018, he filed a lawsuit, which is still pending, that challenges Hawaiʻi laws banning civilians from owning stun guns, the newspaper reported.
Hawaiʻi has some of the nation's strongest gun laws and is the only state that requires firearms to be registered at a statewide level. Hawaii permits allow firearm purchase and transport to limited places such as shooting ranges or gunsmiths, and for hunting. Prior to 2014, Hawaii only granted ownership permits to U.S. citizens until a federal judge ruled that statute unconstitutional, the newspaper reported.