A 72-year-old Vietnam War veteran is asking an appeals court to speed up the processing of a gun permit he first sought 11 years ago, now that the Supreme Court has ruled that Hawaii’s gun-permitting system is unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court determined on June 23 that there’s a constitutional right to carry firearms in public for self-defense. On June 30, it found that Hawaii’s burdensome permitting process violates the Second Amendment and ordered the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the man’s case. But the appeals court hasn’t wrapped up the case, and it’s unclear when it will do so.
George K. Young Jr. of Hilo, Hawaii, is represented by attorney Alan Alexander Beck of San Diego.
“Mr. Young’s case has been in litigation for over 10 years,” Beck told The Epoch Times by email. “He deserves to have a quick resolution to his legal claims.”
According to a March 24, 2021, opinion issued by the 9th Circuit, Hawaii’s firearm-licensing law requires residents seeking an open-carry license to prove they have “the urgency or the need” to carry a weapon, be of good moral character, and be “engaged in the protection of life and property.”
Young applied twice for a carry license in 2011, but failed to convince officials of his need for one. He sued in federal district court and lost, then appealed to the circuit court and lost again.
Hawaii officials have apparently not yet decided how to deal with the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen.
In that decision, the high court struck down New York’s gun permit law that required an applicant to demonstrate “proper cause” to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun in public. As a consequence, similar laws in blue states are likely to be formally struck down whenever the lower courts get around to it. On June 30, the Supreme Court directed federal courts of appeal to take a fresh look at their rulings that upheld overreaching gun restrictions in Hawaii, California, New Jersey, and Maryland, as The Epoch Times reported.
Applicants Have to Wait
Honolulu Police Department Chief Arthur Logan told Andrew Namiki Roberts, director of the Hawaii Firearms Coalition, that gun permit applicants will have to wait.
Bruen’s “impact on Hawaii law is still being analyzed by the State’s Attorney General’s Office and the City’s Department of the Corporation Counsel. I ask for your patience while the state and county legal advisers review the decision and its impact on Hawaii law,” he wrote in a July 6 letter that the coalition posted on social media.
Logan told a local police commission on the same day that his agency had received 48 applications to carry a firearm in public in recent days, after receiving only three applications before the Bruen decision, Hawaii News Now reported.
The state granted only four permits from 2000 to 2020, representing an average of one permit every five years, Honolulu TV station KITV previously reported.
“As of now, these 48 applications are on hold until I get the guidance and direction needed on how to move forward,” Logan said. “The Supreme Court ruling took away the requirement to ask for a why—why do you need a license to carry a gun in public?
“What it didn’t take away is the state’s responsibility to administer this program, how people will get a license, and what requirements are behind a license to carry. We are standing by to issue those licenses. We don’t think it’s an ‘if’—it’s a ‘when.’”
Motion for Summary Reversal
Young asked the 9th Circuit to act in a motion for summary reversal (pdf) filed on June 30.
“We filed a motion for the 9th to issue an immediate ruling,” Beck said on July 9. “The state will respond on [July 11]. Seven days later, I will reply, and then, in a few weeks, the 9th Circuit will rule on the motion.
“I am hoping that the 9th Circuit will find that Hawaii’s handgun carry law is unconstitutional pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bruen.”
The motion reads, “Mr. Young should receive his permit post haste. This Court should not delay the relief Mr. Young seeks. Mr. Young has been on appeal in this court since 2012. He is 72 years old.
“Now that Mr. Young’s rights have been vindicated by the Supreme Court of the United States, this Court should immediately grant this Motion and … order to the Defendants to issue Mr. Young his permit immediately.
“How much longer should he have to wait to have his case adjudicated and obtain his relief? This Court should stand up for people like Mr. Young, someone who fought bravely for his county in Vietnam, has led an exemplary life, and seeks to simply exercise his constitutional rights as guaranteed to him by the Constitution of the United States of America.”
The Epoch Times reached out to Hawaii Attorney General Holly Shikada, a Democrat, for comment but didn’t receive a response by press time.