Hawaii Must Never Allow a Gun-Friendly Majority in Any Governing Body; Kudos to Honolulu City Council on Their Gun Ban at Sensitive Places

The Honolulu City Council’s approval of a bill to ban guns from sensitives places will save lives. It is one of the most significant legislations to be passed in the history of the Honolulu City Council. The news of this bill has been receiving national attention and hopefully it will spark a trend for city councils across the mainland to enact similar legislation.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi is expected to sign Bill 57 in days. If it is signed, the bill will take effect May 1, 2023.

These are the members who voted to approve bill 57: Tommy Waters, Esther Kiaʻāina, Radiant Cordero, Matt Weyer, Calvin Say, and Tyler Dos Santos-Tam.

The three members who voted AGAINST this bill are Andria Tupola, Val Okimoto and Augie Tulba.

Voters should remember this vote tally. And this historic vote will follow the candidates each time they’re up for election. The media will make sure of this – this is how significant this bill is.           

The City’s Responsible and Preventative Action
Bill 57 is in response to last year’s Supreme Court decision that expanded gun rights that would make it easier for people to carry concealed handguns in public. Since that ruling, the Honolulu Police Department has received 582 concealed-carry applications. To date, 41 have been approved, HPD spokesperson Michell Yu said.

Because of Bill 57’s expansive definition of “sensitive places” it’s likely that even if more concealed handgun applications are approved, those permitted to carry these guns will have limited places to actually carry them.  

Bill 57 would ban firearms in the following places: city-owned buildings, state and federally-owned buildings; schools and child care facilities; public parks; shelters, including homeless and domestic violence shelters; places frequented by children, including the Waikiki Aquarium; polling places; public transit; businesses that serve alcohol; large public gatherings, including protests; concert venues; cannabis dispensaries; and hospitals.

We encourage that private establishments also adopt rules to ban guns on their premises as well rendering that misguided SCOTUS ruling impotent.

Why must gun-friendly lawmakers be held accountable? 
There’s abundant statistics available that more guns increase the likelihood of gun violence.

The current Hawaii law requires that a permit be acquired in order for a concealed weapon to be carried in a public space.

But what happens if a state opens the door wide open and allows anyone (over 21) that’s not a felon to carry a gun without going through a permit process – that next dangerous step?

There’s a recent model of this in the state of Texas, and the results have been disastrous!

This is why the city council lawmakers who voted against Bill 57 must be held accountable – and that such gun-friendly lawmakers collectively must never comprise a majority in Hawaii in any governing body.

In Texas where they have a “permitless gun carry law” that was passed by their state legislature just over a year ago, the statistics have just been recently made available.

It shows a shocking number of mass shootings rising 62.5%. From June 13, 2020, to June 13, 2021, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the permitless carry law, Texas had 40 mass shootings. In that same time period from 2021 to 2022, the number of mass shootings rose to 65. The numbers were compiled using the databases from the Stanford University MSA Data Project, the Mass Shooting Tracker, Vox’s Gun Violence Archives, Mother Jones, The Washington Post, the FBI, and the Congressional Research Service. All incidences met at least two definitions of a mass shooting. 

In the one-year period before the bill was signed, 187 people were killed or injured in mass shootings in Texas. In the one-year-after period, it was 375 people killed or injured, a 100% increase. Even if the 40 people killed or injured in the Robb Elementary School Massacre are excluded, the increase is 79%, a huge jump in gun deaths.

And these statistics are just for mass shootings. Individual shootings have yet to be compiled.

Keep Hawaii’s gun violence low
Hawaii must never get to a point where we have lawmakers like in Texas that ignore countless gun deaths and statistics or raise absolutely silly arguments such as “government overreach” that would enable a wild west environment to destroy Hawaii’s aloha society.

Hawaii’s gun violence is relatively lower than in the mainland and we want to keep it that way. Ask any Hawaii transplant living on the mainland, and they will tell you gun violence is a real problem and out of control, which is why Bill 57 is such an important measure and essentially acts as a containment legislation.

While the Honolulu City Council’s bill when signed will have the full weight of the law, the Hawaii State Legislature should pass a similar bill to encompass all other counties in our state. A state law will also send a message that Hawaii will not follow states such as Texas and that we in Hawaii value life, safety and security over an outdated, misinterpreted Constitutional amendment that have been weaponized for conservative votes.

A big mahalo to the members of the Honolulu City Council who showed heart and leadership by passing Bill 57.

The just days-old mass school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee that resulted in the deaths of three students and three adults is yet another reminder why lawmakers should be doing everything in their power to stop the gun violence.

A majority of Americans are tired, saddened and angry that more innocent children are being killed to gun violence. The next step at the federal level should be a ban on automatic weapons.

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