(BIVN) – The Hawaiʻi County Council has voted to pass Bill 220, which establishes certain “Sensitive Places” on Hawaiʻi island where the licensed carrying of a firearm will not be allowed.
Introduced by Hilo councilman Aaron Chung, the bill passed final reading on Wednesday.
The bill also states that it will be prohibited to carry a licensed firearm while intoxicated, and a license may be revoked for one year by the police chief “for any violation of the terms of this new article.”
“Our recommendation is to wait for the State Legislature to determine sensitive places, to avoid legal liability for the County, and have a standard across Hawaiʻi that prevents confusion,” said Todd Yukutake of the Hawaiʻi Firearms Control Coalition, who testified in opposition to the bill.
“This is a stop-gap measure, until such time as the State Legislature introduces their own”, said Councilwoman Heather Kimball. “My understanding is that there are discussions going on, and it is likely, if not probable that they will. However, I think we also should take into account the possibility – unlikely as it may be – that the State will leave it to the counties to do this.”
According to the third draft of Bill 220, the sensitive places where licensed firearms are prohibited are:
- Hospitals, medical facilities, medical offices, and/or medical clinics, except where permission is granted by the administrator of the facility;
- Schools, colleges, universities, and/or places where persons are assembled for educational purposes, except where permission is granted by the institution;
- Daycare centers, playgrounds, and parks, except where permission is granted by the administrator of the facility;
- Churches or religious assemblies, except where permission is granted by the administrator of the church, facility, or congregation;
- Voter service centers or places of deposit, and any appurtenances thereto, as defined by section 11-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes;
- Government buildings and the accompanying parking lots attached to such buildings, except when the licensed firearm is kept in the vehicle unloaded with an affixed trigger lock or in a locked case;
- Private property open to the public where it is conspicuously posted that public carry of firearms is not allowed;
- Public transit facilities and any mode of transportation utilized for public transit; and
- Bars, restaurants, and establishments that serve alcohol for consumption on its premises.
The bill also states that the subsection on sensitive places shall not apply to:
- A private security officer when acting in the official capacity of the officer’s scope of employment;
- A law enforcement officer; or
- Any person authorized to carry a firearm under the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004, as amended.
The bill states:
It is the further purpose of this ordinance to protect sensitive areas that have traditionally been subject to restrictions on carrying or possessing firearms therein; to protect health, life, and property; and to preserve order and security within the County. The Council finds that the public’s expectations have been shaped by legal restrictions on public carry that have been in place in Hawaii for 170 years, ( see 1852 Haw. Sess. Laws Act of May 25, 1852, Section 1 at 19) and within the historical tradition of the United States. Setting restrictions consistent with these public expectations will ease public fear and confusion, avoid individual confrontations, and facilitate private decision-making by property owners.
It is the further purpose of this ordinance to create a duty on the part of persons legally carrying firearms, upon contact with law enforcement, to inform officers that they are duly licensed and carrying a firearm; this is to protect the health and safety of the officer(s), the individual, and the public.
The council cast five votes in favor of the bill. The sole “no” vote was from Puna councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz, with councilmembers Sue Lee Loy and Rebecca Villegas absent.