In the 21 years before the U.S. Supreme Court's gun-rights ruling in June, Hawaii police chiefs issued only six permits to carry a loaded gun in public. Since the ruling that struck down New York's law as unconstitutional and established a Second Amendment right to public concealed carry, only one permit has been granted in Hawaii, further cementing the state's reputation for the nation's strictest gun laws, the Associated Press reports. Kainoa Kaku, president of the Hawaii Rifle Association, said he's extremely disappointed. “This Supreme Court decision is almost two months old in a couple of days, and we need to start seeing it,” he said.
The largest police department in the state, Honolulu's, has not updated its procedures for granting permits. Kaku is among 333 people with pending applications. Until now, he said, "I never saw the point," since virtually no one ever was approved. The Supreme Court ruling says local governments can’t require those seeking a license to carry a gun in public to demonstrate a particular need, such as a direct threat to their safety. Since the ruling, Maui County is the only place where a single permit application has been approved. Alana Pico, a spokesperson for the department, confirmed the approval of one application but the department didn’t immediately respond to a public records request seeking more information. The Big Island’s police force is the only one other than Maui to have updated its permit rules since the high court decision. The Kauai Police Department is still working on its regulations. Revised rules for Maui and the Big Island include a requirement to submit shooting proficiency test scores. “Even though gun owners will no longer have to prove an ‘exceptional case’ to receive a carry permit, we do still need to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, especially in public,” Chris Marvin, a Hawaii resident with Everytown for Gun Safety, said in an email. Marvin also said lawmakers should be specific in their legislation making sure to note where guns wouldn’t be allowed to be carried, including schools, bars and polling places.