Gov. Josh Green used the occasion of National Gun Violence Awareness Day Friday to sign into law a pair of gun-related bills.
Senate Bill 1230 became Bill 52. The law requires applicants for concealed-carry firearms permits to undergo approved training, defines “sensitive locations” where licensees may not carry weapons, and specifies that licensees cannot legally carry weapons while consuming alcohol. or other intoxicants.
And House Bill 1329 became Bill 53. It requires public and charter schools to work with public employee unions to develop and implement active shooter training programs.
“This is a crisis,” Green said at a bill-signing ceremony at the state capitol in Honolulu. “This is a public health crisis in our country. On average, there are 11.9 deaths from firearms for every 100,000 inhabitants in the country. And Hawaii averages 3.8 firearm deaths per 100,000 people. … We are the second safest state in our country.”
Only Massachusetts has fewer gun deaths per 100,000 population than Hawaii.
Green said lawmakers’ work on the two bills set the stage for Hawaii to “work to be the safest.”
Over the years, county sheriffs had issued only a handful of concealed carry permits to private citizens. However, the state’s hand was forced by last year’s US Supreme Court decision in Bruen, which struck down as unconstitutional New York State’s concealed carry law that required a person to prove that “proper cause” existed before a license was issued allowing a person to carry a concealed handgun or revolver in public.
Nick McLean, Hawaii’s first assistant attorney general, called SB 1320 “a bill that will reduce the risk of gun violence in our communities by strengthening state firearms laws and establishing reasonable safeguards.”
“SB 1230 will promote gun safety by establishing new training and education requirements,” McLean said. “It will clarify gun licensing rules to comply with the Supreme Court decision in Bruen last year. It will also create new protections for sensitive places. These are places like schools, parks, hospitals and playgrounds, places where guns just don’t belong.”
State Rep. David Tarnas, D-Big Island and House Judiciary and Hawaii Affairs Chairman, said the intent of lawmakers in crafting SB 1230 is to “create a balanced approach that respects the rights of gun owners and the need to maintain a safe and secure location.” space in Hawaii.
“Some of the highlights of the legislation include a robust training requirement to obtain a license, strict background checks, including whether the applicant would pose a danger to the community based on a number of factors, and the requirement that the Applicant must identify any health problems. care providers who possess records related to the applicant’s mental health,” Tarnas said.
Senate Vice President Michelle Kidani called the active shooter training measure “an important step forward in ensuring the safety and well-being of our students in this beautiful state of Hawaii.”
“This comprehensive training program will equip our educators, students, and law enforcement agencies with the necessary tools, knowledge, and skills to respond effectively in the event of an active shooter situation,” Kidani said. “But God help us, that never happens.
“Let us also reflect on and be aghast at the larger issue at hand, remembering the precious lives that have already been lost and the families affected forever by gun violence. The safety of our children is our top priority, and this legislation reflects our commitment to creating a safe and nurturing learning environment.”
Tarnas called HB 1329 “a strategic approach to the national epidemic of school mass shootings.”
“This bill is an investment that equips our students and teachers with the fundamental knowledge and skills to respond to emergencies,” he said.
“These new laws ensure that Hawaii remains one of the safest states in America,” said Sen. Glenn Wakai, chairman of the Committee on Military and Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Safety that introduced SB 1230. “Gun advocates They threaten to sue the state, but I’m sure the legislators have crafted bills that are legally bulletproof.”
Email John Burnett at [email protected].