Newsletter: Hawaiians Face Gun Sales Shutdown

I hope your holiday season is progressing nicely, and this week between Christmas and New Year’s has been more relaxing than disorienting. Although, the latter seems to be the more common effect for me! Anyway, let’s get rolling.

Prospective Hawaiian gun buyers and carriers received an unpleasant gift from their local officials this week when gun permitting was effectively cut off in the state. The failure of localities to set up a recertification process for safety instructors has left applicants for purchase permits and carry licenses without a way to obtain the classes required to complete the process. And that issue could persist for weeks or even months.

While that’s a pretty clear Second Amendment violation, I explain why it will be more difficult than you might think to get a court to intervene unless the issue really does drag on for months.

We also have an update on the Maine mass shooting. Footage of a law enforcement officer discussing using the state’s “yellow flag” law against the shooter before his rampage was released that reveals why he decided against it and one of the main practical shortcomings of temporary confiscation laws.

New York also enacted a new law banning certain kinds of hunting competitions. And Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman examined a Massachusetts ruling that upheld an AR-15 ban using a new approach to what guns ought to be considered “dangerous and unusual.”

Plus, The Trace’s Mike Spies joins the podcast for a candid discussion about gun suicide.

The Hawaiian Flag blowing in the wind
The Hawaiian Flag blowing in the wind / Photo by little plant on Unsplash

Activists: Honolulu Has Cut Off Gun Sales
By Stephen Gutowski

Gun sales have been blocked for much of December in Hawaii’s largest city.

That’s what the Hawaii Firearms Coalition, a local gun-rights group, claimed in a statement on Wednesday. It said the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) has advised gun purchase or carry permit applicants they won’t process them without a currently-unattainable training certification. And it’s unclear when those permits might become available again.

“It has been brought to our attention from multiple sources that the Honolulu Police Department, under the guidance of Police Chief Logan, is no longer processing ANY firearms permit applications or concealed carry applications until after the new year, and he has the ability to verify or certify instructors,” the group posted on social media. “The department requires all applications submitted after December 18th to provide proof of instruction by a certified/verified instructor before processing their application.

“The problem?????? He hasn’t certified or verified any instructors.”

Click here to read more.

A collection of firearms on sale at a Pennsylvania gun store in April 2023
A collection of firearms on sale at a Pennsylvania gun store in April 2023 / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Why Hawaii’s Gun Sales Ban Will be Hard to Challenge in Court [Member Exclusive]
By Stephen Gutowski

Gun sales have effectively been halted in Hawaii. That’s a pretty straightforward Second Amendment violation, but successfully fighting it in court will be complicated.

There are several reasons for that. Most of them are practical rather than legal.

The most prominent has to do with the nature of the ban. It’s not a straightforward sales ban. Instead, it stems from how Hawaiian officials have seemingly bungled implementing the state’s new training requirements. Law enforcement officials need to certify instructors under the state’s new gun-carry law once it goes into effect in a few days, but none of them seem to have created those new certification processes yet. That means, for now, nobody can obtain the training that’s required to buy a gun or get a gun-carry permit because nobody is yet certified to teach it.

But this issue could be worked out within the next few weeks. That’s because, at least according to the activists who’ve brought the issue to public attention, the effective shutdown of sales and carry permitting wasn’t necessarily intentional. It was the result of negligence or incompetence.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to read more. If not, buy a membership today for exclusive access to this and hundreds of other pieces!

Police barriers thrown on the ground
Police barriers thrown on the ground / Stephen Gutowski

Footage Reveals Police Considered Using ‘Yellow Flag’ Law on Maine Mass Shooter Before Attack
By Jake Fogleman

Police officers responding to the Lewiston, Maine shooter’s deteriorating mental health considered but decided against using the state’s temporary gun confiscation law in the months leading up to the attack, according to newly released recordings.

Dash camera footage from the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office confirms that officers called to conduct wellness checks on the Lewiston shooter resisted using the state’s “yellow flag” law—which allows police to temporarily remove firearms from a person deemed a threat by a judge—out of fear of instigating a violent encounter.

“Then there’s the yellow flag laws,” Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Seargent Aaron Skolfield said in the video. “So, when there’s someone who’s a danger to themselves or others, there’s a process we’re supposed to go through to seize their weapons if they are deemed a danger to themselves or others. So that, you know, that obviously is a hurdle we have to deal with, but at the same time, we don’t want to throw a stick of dynamite into a pool of gas either and make things worse.”

Click here to continue reading.

Rifles displayed at the 2022 NRA Annual Meeting
Rifles displayed at the 2022 NRA Annual Meeting / Stephen Gutowski

New York Bans ‘Hunting Contests’
By Jake Fogleman

The Empire State is cracking down on hunting contests and tournaments.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D.) signed legislation S.4099/A.2917 into law last Friday. The new law will make it illegal for any person to organize, sponsor, conduct, promote, or participate in any contest, competition, tournament, or derby with “the objective of taking or hunting wildlife for prizes for other inducement, or for entertainment.”

“Protecting wildlife is critical to fostering the integrity and resilience of our environment and our outdoor recreation economy,” Hochul said in a press release. “This legislation establishes strong safeguards for our state’s precious wildlife species and protects our important fishing and hunting traditions.”

Click here to read the full piece.

Podcast: A Candid Conversation on Gun Suicide With The Trace’s Mike Spies
By Stephen Gutowski

This week’s episode is a bit different than normal.

I’m speaking with Mike Spies from The Trace about his latest article. But, unlike a regular episode, this story impacts me personally. The subject of Mike’s piece was Bob Owens. Bob was a gun-rights writer, but, more importantly, he was also a good friend of mine. Unfortunately, like many other Americans, Bob took his life several years ago.

Mike agreed to come on the podcast to talk about Bob and gun suicide. It was honestly a difficult conversation to have. But I think we were able to be frank, and I believe it was constructive.

Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss the leaked document we published showing the Biden Admin’s plan to curtail gun exports.

You can find the show on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here. Video of the episode is available on our YouTube channel.

AR-15 rifles on display at the 2023 NRA Annual Meeting
AR-15 rifles on display at the 2023 NRA Annual Meeting / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: A New Twist on the ‘Dangerous and Unusual’ Standard for Gun Bans [Member Exclusive]
By Jake Fogleman

A Massachusetts federal judge upheld the commonwealth’s ban on AR-15s and similar rifles this week. His rationale for doing so relied on an idiosyncratic understanding of the rifle’s purported lethality and defensive utility.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV denied a motion for preliminary injunction against Massachusetts’ ban on “assault weapons” and ammunition magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds. He did so by putting a new twist on an old argument. He determined that modern laws banning AR-15s fit within the country’s historical tradition of regulating “dangerous and unusual” weapons.

“The banned weapons are ‘dangerous,’ because they are unreasonably dangerous for ordinary purposes of self-defense due to their extreme lethality and high potential for collateral harm,” Saylor, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote in Capen v. Campbell, “and they are ‘unusual,’ because it would be unusual for an ordinary citizen to carry such a weapon on his person on the street for self-defense, or to use it in the home to confront invaders or to protect against personal violence.”

While Saylor is certainly not the first to uphold a hardware ban since the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision, his analytical framework for doing so stands out among the rest for its emphasis on the “dangerous and unusual” standard and his understanding of how AR-15s fit in.

If you’re a Reload Member, click here to continue reading. If not, buy a membership today for exclusive access to this and hundreds of other pieces!

Outside The Reload

Renowned Firearms Innovator Gaston Glock Dies at 94 | The Daily Signal | By Tony Kinnett

Homicides in U.S. set to drop by record numbers this year | Axios | By Jacob Knutson

The Covenant Parents Aren’t Going to Keep Quiet on Guns | The New York Times | By Emily Cochrane

Lawsuits filed after Nebraska AG says local concealed carry bans violate Second Amendment | The Washington Examiner | By Lily Larsen

Mark McCloskey, Pardoned for Brandishing Guns at Protesters, Can’t Get the Guns Back | Reason | By Eugene Volokh

Taser maker Axon has a moving backstory. It’s mostly a myth | Reuters | By Jeffrey Dastin

That’s it for this week in guns.

If you want to hear expert analysis of these stories and more, make sure you grab a Reload membership to get our exclusive analysis newsletter every Sunday!

I’ll see you all next week.

Stephen Gutowski
The Reload

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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