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Hawaiʻi Opposes Forced Concealed Carry Reciprocity Legislation

October 23, 2017, 11:34 AM HST (Updated October 23, 2017, 11:35 AM) · 5 Comments
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Attorney General Doug Chin joined a coalition in opposing the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would force states to recognize concealed carry weapon permits from other states.

Attorney General Doug Chin. Courtesy photo.

AG Chin and 17 other Attorney General’s argued legislation (H.R. 38 / S. 446) would override local public safety decisions and endanger communities and police.

The letter, sent to House and Senate leadership, was led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and signed by the attorneys general of New York, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaiʻi, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Collectively, these Attorneys General represent over 140 million Americans.

“Hawaiʻi lawmakers already made decisions about firearms and public safety that best serve our state,” Attorney General Chin said. “We will resist any efforts by the federal government to turn our state into the Wild West and strip Hawaiʻi residents of the protections passed by our state leaders.”

The attorneys general fear that, if enacted, the legislation would inevitably “lead to the death of police officers and civilians, the proliferation of gun traffickers, and acts of terrorism and other mass violence.”

“Under the legislation, our residents would lose the protections that their legislators and law enforcement agencies have deemed appropriate, in favor of rules made by States legislating for very different local conditions. Rather than creating a new national standard for who may carry concealed firearms, these bills would elevate the lowest state standard over higher ones and force some States to allow concealed carry by people who do not qualify under their laws,” the attorneys general wrote.

That lowest state standard would, for example, weaken local prohibitions on concealed carry by violent misdemeanor offenders, domestic abusers, and others who states have determined would pose a danger.

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The attorneys general also pointed out that the Constitution and federalist system primarily reserve policing the public safety to the states, given the great diversity between them. “We would not mandate that one State honor another’s fishing, liquor, or hunting permits, yet the proposed legislation applies that same flawed approach to the far more serious issue of who may carry a concealed firearm.”

“The result of the proposed legislation would be a proliferation of potentially dangerous or irresponsible non-residents with concealed weapons in the States, cities, and towns across America that have made local judgments that certain regulations on the carrying of such weapons are necessary to protect public safety. Furthermore, the House bill would override some state laws that prohibit carrying concealed weapons in bars, schools, shopping malls, movie theatres, subways, or parks. States would not be able to enforce those restrictions; nor would local law enforcement officers reacting to specific risks to the public in such locations, which have tragically been the site of mass shootings in recent years,” the attorneys general wrote.

The letter also highlights how the legislation would endanger local law enforcement officers by forcing them to determine quickly, and often under duress, whether an armed individual is allowed to carry a concealed weapon under his or her local laws.

Currently, there are 12 states that allow concealed carry without a permit.

Finally, the legislation would facilitate gun trafficking, allowing traffickers to even more easily transport guns across state lines with just a driver’s license from a “permitless” state.

“Please do not let concealed carry reciprocity become the next federal loophole lamented in the aftermath of a tragedy,” the attorneys general concluded.

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