VIDEO: Hirono Highlights Impacts of Supreme Court Decision Weakening Gun Safety Laws in Hawaii
Sen. Hirono: “As of December 2022, Hawaii County has issued 89 concealed gun licenses and Maui county has issued 18—between 50 thousand to 60 thousand people are expected to apply for concealed carry permits in upcoming years.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned a panel of experts about the impacts of a 2022 Supreme Court decision overturning a gun safety law and how this decision could increase the risk of gun violence in public and private spaces. During her line of questioning, Senator Hirono highlighted the impacts of this decision for Hawaii, which has been forced to loosen its firearm permit requirements.
“In 2020, Hawaii had the lowest gun death rates and the third lowest rate of gun ownership in the entire country,” said Senator Hirono during the hearing. “Prior to Bruen, Hawaii police departments had only issued four licenses to carry in the past two decades. Following the Court’s decision, however, police departments across all counties in Hawaii have begun issuing licenses. As of December 2022, Hawaii County has issued 89 concealed gun licenses and Maui County has issued 18—between 50 thousand to 60 thousand people are expected to apply for concealed carry permits in upcoming years.”
In 2022, the Supreme Court overturned New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, ruling that New York’s gun safety law requiring a license to carry concealed weapons in public places was unconstitutional, effectively allowing gun safety laws in states across the country to be challenged.
“State and local officials have expressed concerns that lax gun laws may lead to a rise in violent crime,” Senator Hirono continued. “State and local legislatures have also introduced gun safety measures, including an enacted law in Hawaii County designating sensitive places—such as churches—where firearms are prohibited. However, gun owners have stated their intent to challenge these gun legislations in court.”
During the hearing, Senator Hirono also asked about how the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen will make it harder to protect victims and survivors of domestic violence.
As of March 6, 2023, there have been over 100 mass shootings in the U.S., marking the earliest point in at least a decade that mass shootings have reached triple digits. The hearing follows President Biden’s executive order signed yesterday—to expand background checks for gun purchases, promote more secure firearm storage, and ensure federal agencies are complying with existing laws and procedures, such as the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
A link to download video of Senator Hirono’s full question line is available here.
Last summer, Senator Hirono emphasized the need to restrict widespread civilian access to military-style assault weapons amid the nation’s gun violence epidemic, highlighted the need for gun safety laws, and questioned experts about how to combat the growing domestic terrorism threat in the U.S. during Judiciary Committee hearings. She also voted to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to take meaningful steps to make communities safer from gun violence. In October, she joined her Senate colleagues in urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to issue enforcement guidance and clarify the recently finalized Ghost Gun Rule.
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