Hawaii’s Firearm Laws Discourage Gun Ownership-As a Result, There are Higher Crime Rates

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Regarding Honolulu Police Department Chief Lee Donohue’s (Feb. 24, 2004) opposition to a “shall-issue” concealed firearms carry law for Hawaii, the county police chiefs have issued zero carry permits in the past 10 years because permits are entirely at the discretion of the chiefs.

Hawaii’s low crime rate is rising (Honolulu Star Bulletin June 13, 2003, “Major crime soars on Oahu”; Advertiser, August 26, 2003, “State crime up for 3rd straight year”).


Economist Dr. John Lott’s studies show that the deterrent effect of a non-discretionary carry law against violent crime is most effective under such circumstances.

Murder, rape, robbery, assault, and at-home burglary rates drop an average of 5% in counties that pass such laws. 37 states now have them, with more states added annually.

Adults, after a negative criminal and mental health background check, on payment of a fee that covers the costs of the program, shall be issued permits, which are periodically renewable with a background check. Some states require proficiency training.

Hawaii’s strict gun control laws discourage law-abiding citizens from possessing firearms, and result in higher crime rates. If Hawaii passed a non-discretionary carry law, there would be approximately 2 fewer murders, 20 less rapes, 50 fewer robberies, and 75 fewer assaults reported annually, statewide. Suffering of victims and their families, dollars lost to medical care and loss of productivity, and the justice system burden would be proportionately reduced. There is no down side.

Florida enacted its law in 1987. Florida Law Enforcement Commissioner James Moore testified in a 1995 Michigan Judiciary Committee hearing, “From a law enforcement perspective, the licensing process has not resulted in problems in the community from people arming themselves with concealed weapons.” Had Eric Kawamoto had a defensive firearm on his person when he entered his house, most likely he would not have been shot.

Leaders like Chief Donohue and Senator Colleen Hanabusa, who declined to hear SB 2398 this year, should be more open to ordinary citizens’ needs.

”’Dr. Maxwell A. Cooper is the Legislative Chair for the Hawaii Rifle Association. He can be reached via email at mailto:mcooper@mail.aloha.net”’