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The non-profit Hawaii Defense Foundation president Christopher Baker has filed a lawsuit against the Honolulu Chief of Police Louis Kealoha, the Honolulu Police Department and the City & County of Honolulu as well as the State of Hawaii and Gov. Neil Abercrombie for violating the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.

The complaint, which was filed in Hawaii’s U.S. District Court by attorneys Richard Holcomb, Alan Beck and Kevin O’Grady, argues that Hawaii’s license to carry firearms statute as well as Hawaii’s other firearm regulations, are unconstitutional.

Michelle Yu, spokesperson for the Honolulu Police Department, said the chief has no comment on the lawsuit.

Hawaii has some of the most restrictive gun policies in the country.

Hawaii is a “may issue” rather than “shall issue” state, which means that police chiefs that provide concealed and open carry firearms permits may issue them at will. This is different that shall issue states, where the government must provide concealed carry permits so long as the applicant passes all background checks and has no history of mental illness.

A total of 49 states have a concealed carry law with Illinois being the exception. Illinois has banned carrying of all concealed weapons including guns and knives. Wisconsin changed its law in July 2011 to allow concealed carry.

Baker said licenses to carry in Hawaii are only issued in “exceptional circumstance” or “where a need or urgency has been sufficiently indicated.”

This language violates the Second Amendment, which secures the right of all responsible, law-abiding citizens to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense, he said.

The lawsuit also claims that the state’s bad on non-lethal tools for self-defense such as electric guns is a violation of civil rights.

“The Second Amendment protects the right to self-defense. Everyday around the islands good people are robbed, assaulted, raped, or in the worst cases murdered. It’s simply a matter of physics, the Police can’t be everywhere to stop criminals from committing violent acts. We must be allowed to carry the tools that give us a chance to protect ourselves from harm,” Baker said. “We want criminals to have to think about the consequences of attacking someone,” he continued, “but right now, nothing serves as a deterrent to them – the odds are in their favor.”

The foundation, which was established as a mechanism to defend civil rights and offer educational courses on firearm safety, self-defense training, and life saving techniques, has launched a fundraising effort to support the litigation.

More information on the web (www.TheHDF.org).

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Hawaii Reporter is an award-winning, independent Hawaii-based news and opinion journal founded in 2001 and launched in February 2002. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards.