Concealed Gun Limits in Hawaii May Go Down
(CN) - Hawaii's tough concealed-weapon regulations face review in light of a recent finding that similar rules in California violate the Second Amendment, the 9th Circuit ruled.
In last month's Peruta v. County of San Diego, the federal appeals court found that a "typical, law-abiding citizen" has the right to carry a weapon outside of the home for protection, striking a blow to states with so-called "may issue" permitting laws.
As in California and other such states, police chiefs in Hawaii may grant a concealed carry "in an exceptional case," but they don't have to, and rarely do.
Handgunlaw.us reports that it has been "years" since one was issued.
Christopher Baker, a process server, sought a federal injunction against Hawaii's permitting scheme after he was denied a concealed carry permit in 2011. He said that he needed the permit to protect himself, but simple self-defense does not usually qualify under the "may issue" scheme.
U.S. District Judge Alan Kay in Honolulu ruled for the state, but a divided three-judge appeals panel vacated that decision Thursday and remanded it, citing Peruta.
The same two judges who belonged to the majority in the California case, Diarmuid O'Scannlain and Consuelo Callahan, supported the application of their own logic in Hawaii.
"In light of our holding in Peruta, the district court made an error of law when it concluded that the Hawaii statutes did not implicate protected Second Amendment activity," the unsigned and unpublished ruling states. "Accordingly, we vacate the District Court's decision denying Baker's motion for a preliminary injunction and remand for further proceedings consistent with Peruta."
Judge Sidney Thomas dissented, as he did in California, by arguing that the majority had gone too far in "dealing a needless, sweeping judicial blow to the public safety discretion invested in local law enforcement officers and to California's carefully constructed firearm regulatory scheme."
He expressed similar concerns in the present case.
"Even assuming application of Peruta, there is simply no justification for a broadside interference with state law enforcement," he wrote. "Thus, I would hold, even with the new guidance of Peruta, that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the preliminary injunction. It considered and weighed the appropriate factors. Even if Peruta required a reassessment of one of the factors, the bottom line would be unaffected."