Hawaii: Removes “Exceptional Case” Requirement for Concealed, NOT Open, Carry!?

Hawaii State Map
Hawaii State Map

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)-– Hawaii has had the most restrictive policy of all states regarding the issuing permits to carry in public, either concealed or openly. In the last few decades, the number of permits issued has been in the single digits.

From the staradvertiser.com:

Hawaii has among the strictest gun laws in the nation. So strict, said attorney Alan Beck, that Hawaii essentially bans carrying guns outside the home. It has been practically impossible to get a permit to carry a loaded gun in public, he said. In the past 22 years, there have been four permits issued in Hawaii, said Beck, who represents various residents challenging Hawaii gun laws.

The United States Supreme Court specifically mentioned Hawaii as violating the Second Amendment in the USR&PA v. Bruen decision. It was clear that Hawaii’s law allowing police to arbitrarily deny permits to carry is unconstitutional.

Hawaii’s Attorney General has issued a formal legal opinion, in the form of a letter, clarifying the response to the Bruen decision by Holly T. Shikada, the Attorney General of Hawaii.

From ag.hawaii.gov:

We advise that as to applications for concealed carry licenses, the chiefs of police should no longer require that an applicant “[i]n an exceptional case . . show[] reason to fear injury to the applicant’s person or property” in order to obtain a concealed carry license. HRS§ 134-9(a). The chiefs of police should continue to enforce all other statutory requirements for obtaining a concealed carry license, except for the citizenship requirement as applied to lawful permanent residents and U.S. nationals.

Thus, the Hawaii AG interprets Bruen as narrowly as possible. She specifically states that Bruen does not apply to open carry, characterized as “unconcealed carry licenses”:

Furthermore, we advise that as to unconcealed carry licenses, the chiefs of police should continue to enforce all requirements for an unconcealed carry license that were applicable before Bruen (this excludes the citizenship requirement as applied to lawful permanent residents and U.S. nationals). An applicant must still, among other things, “sufficiently indicate[]” an “urgency” or “need” to carry a firearm, and that the applicant is “engaged in the protection of life and property.” HRS§ 134-9(a).

The Hawaii AG openly states the State will restrict the right to keep and bear arms as much as the Supreme Court (and essentially the federal government’s power) will allow.  The other constraint on the State of Hawaii is how much power the voters of the State will allow the government to grab.

Analysis and Speculation:

The Supreme Court, in the aftermath of the Bruen decision, remanded Young v. Hawaii back to the Ninth Circuit, ordering the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the case under the guidelines the Supreme Court laid out in Bruen.

A fresh consideration of the case will require the interested parties to submit fresh briefs in the case. The Hawaii AG has foreshadowed the approach the State of Hawaii is likely to take.

The Ninth Circuit has shown a remarkable hostility to the Second Amendment in cases over the last decade.  That hostility has been tempered by President Trump’s replacement of some of the Justices in the Ninth Circuit. The Bruen decision vindicated those Justices.

This correspondent believes the Ninth will allow the strict restrictions on open carry in public spaces in Hawaii to stand, claiming they are equivalent to the restrictions on concealed carry which existed in some states after the ratification of the Second Amendment.  It is plausible George K. Young will be granted a permit to carry concealed, and the State will argue the case is now moot.

Many other restrictions are in the court’s docket to be re-considered in light of the Bruen decision.

It is difficult to see how bans on magazine capacity, semi-automatic firearms, or ammunition can stand under the guidelines issued by Bruen.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has meteorology and mining engineering degrees and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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uncle dudley

When Hawaii wanted to become a state and be a part of the United States they knew we had a constitution and Bill of Rights.
It was spelled out the duties and freedoms we believe in with the constitution and they agreed.
Why do they think they have the right to limit it or ignore it.


Because they are fiIthy IiberaIs.


Democrats making it up as they see fit. The party of lawlessness 4 million illegals in 2022 & 1 million that escaped into are country unabated that is a total of 5 million to date this year. Hawaii over run over priced with democratic overreach that as no end. How will our country clean up the mess that now is just plain unjust anti American behavior by the democratic party, The democratic party openly admits it goal is to dismantle the United States Supreme Court. The Democratic party openly disrespects the United States Constitution and our Bill of Rights. The… Read more »

Jim March

Everybody needs to be familiar with contents of footnote 9 in the Bruen decision. But to understand that you have to go back to the original question presented the Supreme Court in this case: “Whether the State’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.” This was an open-ended question that basically asks whether or not people’s rights can be violated or not when they apply for firearms carry permits. The answer of course turned out to be “no”. The decision focuses a lot on the subjective “good cause” concept and how that’s a problem.… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim March

If you want to write an article send it to the editor.

Wild Bill

That was a terrific report. Good attention to detail! Thank you for keeping us apprised.

Charles Nichols

The original question was whether or not there was a right to carry a handgun in public. The justices rewrote the question presented. Had New York limited its argument to concealed carry then SCOTUS Rules 24 & 14 would have applied. We would have had a much narrower opinion.

Instead, New York decided to make the case about where the Second Amendment applies, regardless of whether or not a firearm is carried openly or concealed.

“Dicta” is the part of the opinion one does not like.

Charles Nichols

I suspect that the Young v. Hawaii en banc panel would like to issue an opinion that says states can ban Open Carry in favor of concealed carry. However, there are a couple of jurisdictional problems with the en banc panel doing that. The first is the Young v. Hawaii three-judge panel was bound by the Peruta v. San Diego en banc panel opinion and held that there is only a right to Open Carry. Neither side fled an en banc petition challenging either that holding of the three-judge panel opinion or the Peruta v. San Diego en banc panel… Read more »

Wild Bill

Good job! Now, that is what I call activism! We certainly wish you a good Constitutional outcome.

Charles Nichols

Lawsuits are not won or lost because one has the Constitution or law on his side. They are won are lost because one side makes a procedural mistake. The State of California has made more procedural mistakes than I can count.


Good to see you’re still going with the lawsuit Charles it has been a while since I’ve seen anything written by you about the case.

Cheers from the oil patch in Central Wyoming

Charles Nichols

I post updates on my lawsuit status page at my website CaliforniaOpenCarry dot com


I for one found Jim Marsh’s comments valuable.