(BIVN) – The gun control debate – in particular the right to open carry – came to the Hawai‘i County Council this week.
On Wednesday, the council voted to hire a private attorney as part of an intergovernmental agreement in order to challenge a July 24 court ruling that residents have a constitutional right to open carry firearms pursuant to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Resolution 666-18 would allow the County to enter into an agreement with the State of Hawai‘i to retain the legal services of Mr. Neal Katyal as special counsel, with the State to pay all fees and costs. The County desires to retain special counsel to seek an en banc review by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of its decision.
As the resolution states, on June 12, 2012, Big Island resident George Young, Jr. filed a lawsuit against the State of Hawai‘i, the County of Hawai‘i, and various state and County officials alleging the denial of his applications for a license to carry a firearm violated his Second Amendment rights. Judge Helen Gillmor dismissed the lawsuit on November 29, 2012 and Young appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. A panel of three judges ruled 2-1 in favor of George Young’s attempt to obtain a license to openly carry a firearm in public to protect himself.
The State and the County do not agree with the Decision, the resolution states, and desire to defend the constitutionality of HRS § 134- 9 and seek en banc review by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. “Should en banc review be granted and an opinion rendered, it is likely further review by the United States Supreme Court will be sought by either Mr. Young or the State and County,” the county wrote.
During the public comment portion of Wednesday’s meeting, a handful of people spoke on the resolution, some in favor and some opposed.
On Friday, Hawai‘i Lieutenant Governor Doug Chin announced that he’s requesting a legal opinion from the State Attorney General to clarify the authority of county police chiefs to issue licenses permitting individuals to carry unconcealed firearms.
“I care deeply about public safety and it’s very important that we uphold Hawai‘i firearm laws for everyone’s benefit, ” said Lt. Governor Chin, who was the State Attorney General, previously.