What will the Supreme Court decision on Second Amendment rights mean for anti-gun state like Hawaii?

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HONOLULU, HI – The Supreme Court of the United States recently sided with law-abiding gun owners and the 2nd Amendment when they ruled that laws like those in New York were too restrictive and were an infringement on Constitutional rights of the citizens of those states.

We often read (and we many times write) that there have been few states as restrictive as New York and California.

Enter Hawaii.

Like some of the mainland states, Hawaii has legislated “demonstrate your need to carry” requirements.

According to Alan Beck, an attorney representing George Young who is suing the state for the right to carry, it is hard to provide the necessary “proof.”

He told the Associated Press that in the past 22 years, Hawaiian police chiefs have issued only 4 concealed carry permits.

Four.

In a state with more than 1.4 million residents across the inhabited islands, less than .000003% of Hawaiians have granted the “right” to concealed carry.

What does the SCOTUS ruling do for Young’s case?

“It’s a huge deal,” Beck said. “Not only does it mean Mr. Young’s case will prevail, [but] it also means the door has been opened to challenging numerous aspects of Hawaii firearms law.” 

But state lawmakers are lashing out over the 2nd Amendment win.

“Bottom line is, Hawaii is about to become a more dangerous place,” State Sen. Karl Rhoads said. “Hawaii will go from a place where the right to carry in public is the exception to a place where not having the right to carry on the street is an exception.”

We must assume that Rhoads is referencing the “exception, not the rule” axiom.

But what he is missing is that the United States Constitution, through the 2nd Amendment, made the ability to keep and bear arms the rule. Hawaii legislators are the ones who made it the exception.

Joseph Robello, a Hawaii resident, uses pistols and rifles to hunt pigs, doesn’t believe that the Supreme Court ruling will turn Hawaii into the “Old West.”

“Most people won’t just carry to carry around, to wear it on your hip and walk around in the store to say, ‘I got a gun, and I can use it,'” he said. “That’s dumb. Ridiculous.”

Rhoads counterpart, Senator Chris Lee, said that the state will look at additional restrictions, such as additional background checks, training requirements and laws surrounding public places where firearms are prohibited.

They will, undoubtedly, push their restrictions as far as they can, making it more difficult on gun owners to go through the process to be fully “capable” of concealed carry.

Or, as pro-2nd Amendment Americans like to call it, more infringement.

US LawShield shared their thoughts with us on this topic.

“Because Hawaii’s permitting structure is extremely similar to the New York regulations invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court, state and local officials will almost certainly be forced to make adjustments to their requirements to avoid further challenges,” said Kirk Evans, President of U.S. LawShield.

“However, the State of Hawaii has consistently fought every constitutional challenge to their gun laws over the years.  While we may see an elimination of the ‘exceptional case’ standard for obtaining a carry permit, we should also expect a slew of new licensing requirements to make carrying a firearm for self-defense very difficult for the general public.”  

Denise Eby Konan is the Dean of the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is also a member of Hawaii’s Gun Violence and Violent Crimes Commission.

She addressed what she believes is the real issue.

Tourism. It drives the state’s economy.

She thinks that guns in public places, like beaches and hiking trails, could damage the state’s reputation for being a safe place for tourists.

“I think many of our visitors are coming from countries where gun laws are quite strict,” she said.

Rebecca Donahue, along with her husband, live in Florida, where they both have concealed carry permits.  She told the AP that looser gun laws on the island wouldn’t be a deterrent for them to come back.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority declined to comment.

The irony in what lawmakers and Eby Konan are saying is that law-abiding Hawaiians with guns will make the island more dangerous.

Never mind the fact that the criminal element in Hawaii is likely already armed.

Nope. It is the legal gun owners that will be the reason that crime skyrockets, according to Rhoads and others.

Those state lawmakers, from Rhoads and Lee all the way to Governor David Ige, may be jumping the gun, so to speak.

“Despite recent speculation, the new Supreme Court decision regarding New York’s carry laws does not mean that residents or folks travelling to Hawaii can immediately begin carrying firearms in public without a permit,” US LawShield also told Law Enforcement Today. 

“While a step in the right direction, gun owners in Hawaii can expect further legal challenges and further changes to the permitting scheme before we receive any legal clarity on who, how and where guns can be carried in Hawaii.”

Report: Suspects in slaying of missing Seattle woman cut ankle monitors and skipped bond

For more on what one state is doing following the Supreme Court decision, we invite you to

DIG DEEPER

State looking to force gun owners to buy liability insurance, and lawmakers are saying it’s because… cars.

 

SACRAMENTO, CA – California is seeking to become the first state in the US to require liability insurance for gun owners.

“Guns kill more people than cars,” Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, said in a statement.

“Yet gun owners are not required to carry liability insurance like car owners must. Why should taxpayers, survivors, families, employers, and communities bear the $280 billion annual cost of gun violence? It’s time for gun owners to shoulder their fair share.”

First, the comparison by Skinner is apples and zebras.

While she is technically correct, the application does not necessarily correlate.

According to the CDC, more than 32,000 people die in auto-related accidents each year. Gun related deaths are at 48,000. However, nearly 55%, or almost 26,000 of those are used in suicides.

The same is not held true of vehicle deaths. To further illustrate the inadequacy of her comparison, no one sees their insurance premiums go up when a neighbor sits in their garage with the engine running and dies of carbon monoxide poisoning.

But that is exactly what would happen if this law were passed.

Gun owners would continue to be forced to pay more and more money to maintain their right to keep and bear arms in a state that already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.

What the California law wants to do is hold law-abiding gun owners financially responsible for suicidal and/or criminally negligent individuals.

Skinner sponsored and introduced the bill last week as state lawmakers seized the opportunity to strike restrictive regulations on gun owners in the wake of tragic shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.

The push at the state level comes on the heels of a San Jose city ordinance passed earlier this year which requires that gun owners maintain liability insurance.

According to the Sacramento Bee:

“If the bill passes, it will require gun owners to carry coverage for losses from death, injury, property damage and other incidents. Owners would have to keep written evidence of their policy where the gun is stored, and to carry it when transporting the firearm. They would be considered civilly liable for negligent or accidental use.”

While the bill will still have the state assembly and Gavin Newsom to make it into law, those to hurdles do not really seem like actual hurdles to many on the gun owner’s side.

All parties in power in California state legislation have been eager to enact stricter gun control requirements.

“Since the 1990s, our laws have prevented countless shootings and saved hundreds of lives,” Newsom said in a statement. “California isn’t waiting for Congress to act to protect our kids from needless gun violence.”

But to many, this isn’t as simple as taxpayer dollars and who has to foot the bill for gun violence.

Kirk Evans is the president of U.S. LawShield, an organization whom many of our readers are familiar. Many of us are clients.

“It’s just part of a movement nationwide to incrementally try to make life harder for gun owners,” Evans said. “There are local and statewide changes being promoted all across the country, and once this gets enacted, the next infringement seems that much easier for the gun control advocates.”

The National Association for Gun Rights agrees with the sentiment behind what Evans said. They are suing the City of San Jose in an attempt to keep the ordinance they passed from going into effect on July 25th.

They are arguing that the required insurance is nothing more than a tax on Constitutional rights, similar to a what has been referred to in the past as “free-speech tax.”

“What if they charged protestors $50 to exercise their right of free speech, or required them to have liability insurance?” Evans asked. “Nobody would ever go for taxing the right of free speech. But they picked the one right they didn’t like.”

Evans also pointed to the common-sense aspects of the proposed legislation.

One, insurance does not cover intentional criminal acts.

“The insurance they are requiring is liability insurance, which in California and most states will not cover an intentional criminal act in the first place. So, even though this is a proposed response to mass shootings, this would have no impact whatsoever on deterring the criminal. And insurance wouldn’t have covered it in the first place.”

Second, the criminal element that illegally possesses firearms will not abide the requirement. So, in the event that a felon, illegally possessing a gun, fires at someone, misses and hits an innocent bystander, killing them, whose insurance does their family file a claim against?

To this point, Evans said:

“California cities and the state itself should be focusing on arresting criminals and keeping them in jail. Empowering legally armed citizens; not punishing them.”

The Houston-based U.S. LawShield has more than 700,000 members across the country, offering their services in all but 4 states. They are not a gun-owner insurance policy, at least not in the way that auto insurance companies work. They are a legal defense network for law-abiding Americans that find themselves having to use their gun in self-defense or defense of others.

From their website, the say that their:

“Independent Program Attorneys will represent you in any legal proceeding – criminal or civil – should you ever need to use a firearm or other legal weapon to protect yourself, your life, or your property. Legal defense will be provided for all police investigations, pretrial proceedings, and both criminal and civil trials.

Your membership delivers benefits to you anytime – and especially in an emergency – with no caps on the time we spend on your case, no limits on our expenses representing you, and no deductibles or co-payments out of your pocket.”

This is not the type of “insurance” that the Skinner’s amendment to SB505 would require.

If passed, gun owners would:

  • Be held civilly liable for property damage, injury, or death resulting from the use of their firearms
  • Have to obtain liability insurance that covers losses or damages resulting from negligent or accidental use of their firearm, including property, damage, injury or death
  • Have to obtain proof of gun insurance, keep that proof with their firearm, and produce it when asked by a peace officer during the course of a lawful detainment.

What the bill does not mention is what kind of rates that the insurance providers would be able to apply to that type of policy.

It also does not state if a policy covers all legally owned guns for a single rate, or, like car insurance, is there a single premium for each gun owned, and if the rates vary by type of gun, caliber, etc.

What the bill appears to aim to do is to force gun owners to decide if legally owning guns under the new legislation financially possible.

Law Enforcement Today will continue to follow this story as well as the lawsuit against the city of San Jose. We will provide updates as they become available.

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For more on the San Jose ordinance passed in January, we invite you to 

DIG DEEPER

What Constitution? California city to require gun owners to carry insurance and pay annual fee

 

SAN JOSE, CA – In a direct challenge to the Second Amendment, San Jose voted Tuesday night to become the first authority in the country to require gun owners to carry liability insurance and pay an annual fee.

Members of the San Jose City Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of a gun-ownership ordinance Tuesday night.

If the measure is passed again after a second reading next month, as expected, the fees imposed on the roughly 50,000 gun-owning households in the city of more than one million residents could take effect in August.

Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) said Monday at a news conference:

“Certainly, the Second Amendment protects every citizen’s right to own a gun. It does not require taxpayers to subsidize that right.’

After passage of the first vote, the mayor praised the ordinance:

“Tonight, San Jose became the first city in the United States to enact an ordinance to require gun owners to purchase liability insurance, and to invest funds generated from fees paid by gun owners into evidence-based initiatives to reduce gun violence and gun harm.

“Thank you to my council colleagues who continue to show their commitment to reducing gun violence and its devastation in our community.”

The mayor estimated that San Jose residents incur about $442 million in gun-related costs each year, and compared the plan to car insurance mandates, which he credits with significantly reducing deaths resulting from automobile crashes.

Under the new ordinance, gun owners would be required to pay a $25 annual fee for the right to bear arms. The fee would be directed to a nonprofit set up to distribute funds to gun crime prevention and gun violence victims.

City officials say the annual “harm reduction fee” will go toward the cost of nonprofits that would help run programs to reduce gun violence, as well as to provide gun safety training, mental health counseling and addiction treatment.

In addition to requiring a fee to exercise their constitutional rights, gun owners would be required to carry liability insurance to cover any harm caused by the firearm.

The mayor said:

“We’re the urban center of Silicon Valley. And the spirit of Silicon Valley recognizes the importance and imperative of innovation when confronted with daunting challenges.”

Billy Rosen, managing director for state policy and government affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates stricter gun control laws, told The New York Times:

“It’s certainly not unheard-of to have reoccurring fees associated with gun ownership and possession. But the specific mechanics of this may be unique.

“We’ll be eagerly following to see how this plays out.”

The National Association for Gun Rights and San Jose gunowner Mark Sikes filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday night arguing that the ordinance is unconstitutional and violates both state and city laws.

At a press conference Wednesday, the president of the association, Dudley Brown, said the lawsuit would be successful in stopping the unconstitutional legislation:

“We filed this immediately because we wanted to make it very clear that there are ramifications to passing America’s most insane gun control.

“Frankly, we didn’t have enough paper to print all of the problems with this ordinance.”

The city plans to use the nonprofit to send out letters to registered gun owners who live in San Jose asking them to pay the annual fee. Once a payment is made, the nonprofit will send the gunowner a form with their proof of payment and a space on the form to fill out their insurance information.

Gun owners will be required to carry or store a copy of the paperwork with their firearm, according to the mayor. Police officers would be tasked with enforcement and would ask for proof of insurance, as they do with car insurance during traffic stops.

Police officers and low-income residents facing financial hardships will receive exemptions.

Critics of the plan say the ordinance violates the United States Constitution and punishes law-abiding citizens while having no effect on unlawful possession and use of firearms. Resident Cindy Fulk said:

“This movement attacking our Second Amendment (rights) arises when a mass shooting occurs, but San Jose had been unable to protect its citizens from these maddening criminals and is instead going after middle-class, law-abiding gun owners.

“Holding 55,000 gunowners responsible for the city’s failure to protect us is shameful.”

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