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Honolulu Police Department received 48 applications to carry guns in public after high court ruling

In the aftermath of a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a New York law requiring people to show proper cause for carrying a gun in public the Honolulu Police Department has received 48 applications as of today, Chief Arthur J. Logan told the Honolulu Police Commission this afternoon.

In a 6-3 decision, the court struck down a New York law that required people to provide a specific need to carry a gun, if they wanted to carry a gun in public. Hawaii has similar restrictions on people seeking to be strapped in public. County police chiefs have granted four permits to carry a gun in public in the last 22 years. The Supreme Court decision takes away the chiefs’ ability to deny qualified, law-abiding citizens a permit to carry a handgun.

“We do have applications coming in. The supreme court ruling took away the requirement to ask for a why. Why do you need a license? (to carry a gun in public),” said Logan. “What it didn’t take away is the state’s responsibility to administer this program, how people will get a license and what requirements are behind a license to carry. We are standing by to issue those licences. We don’t think it’s and if it’s a when.”

Logan said the previous high for applications was 27 but usually HPD receives two to seven requests to carry a gun in public each year. Logan said all applications are on hold until the department receives official guidance and direction.

The state Department of the Attorney General met June 30 with county corporation counsels to review input input from prosecutors and police to start creating policies and procedures a process for licensing gun owners who apply for a permit to carry a pistol in public.

That same day government attorneys met, the Supreme Court said gun cases involving restrictions in Hawaii, California, New Jersey and Maryland deserve a new look following its major decision in a New York gun case June 23. In light of that ruling — which said Americans have a right to carry a gun for self-defense outside the home — the court said lower courts should take another look at several cases that had been awaiting action by the high court.

On June 30 the court granted a petition in the case George K. Young Jr. v. Hawaii stemming from a 2012 lawsuit against the Hawaii County Police Department filed by Young, a retired police officer, who had his application to carry a gun turned down twice.

Young’s case was sent back to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for further consideration of its 2021 ruling that the right to “keep and bear arms” in the Constitution’s Second Amendment “does not guarantee an unfettered, general right to openly carry arms in public for individual self-defense.”

But the high court said the Constitution protects “an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-­defense outside the home.”

On Thursday, representatives from the AG’s office met with representatives from the county prosecutors’ offices, police departments and corporation counsels to begin the discussion on how to balance the high court’s decision with public safety.

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers expressed concern about how the ruling will impact interactions between police and the public.

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