After months of debate, the Honolulu Police Department is close to issuing the first concealed-carry permits

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The Honolulu Police Department will begin processing permits for civilians to carry concealed firearms starting Monday, but applicants face a daunting list of requirements in order to be approved.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi last week approved controversial new licensing rules based on a Supreme Court ruling giving citizens the right to bear arms to protect themselves.

According to the ministry, 600 permit applications are already pending.

Samantha Kasnetz trained at the 808 Gun Club in Kakaako on Friday and hopes she will be good enough to pass the proficiency test. She wasn’t sure if she would use a concealed carry permit, but is glad to have the opportunity.

“I will practice and take my lessons and do my best to try and pass,” Kasnetz said.

808 Gun Club owner Tom Tomimbang, along with gun instructor Russell Tangi, demonstrated the proficiency test for Hawaii News Now.

With Tomimbang protected by goggles and ear defenders, Tangi barked out the norm to be met with the first stage.

Tomimbang then holstered his shirt, drew his Glock pistol, and fired twice.

The test requires removing the weapon from the holster and hitting a silhouette target placed at five ranges from 9 to 45 feet. For Tomimbang, a 25-year veteran, the test was a breeze.

And he added that this won’t be a major obstacle for conscientious owners.

“Practice, practice, practice, right?” he said.

“If they do that before taking the actual qualification course, they should be able to.”

At Wednesday’s police commission meeting, HPD chief Joe Logan — who has not regularly spoken publicly about the incident — told commissioners that proficiency tests aren’t necessarily designed to show someone can shoot, but that they can shoot under stress . He said that’s why they added the timer to put more pressure on the shooter.

“You may have to learn to deal with that stress of shooting,” he said.

“And that, for us, is the reason for the time.”

Tomimbang said if that’s the goal, simulators could be a better test of decision-making under stress that forces the firearm user into difficult “shoot-or-no-shoot” situations.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Commissioner Carrie Okinaga appeared alarmed at how quickly permits could be issued and questioned police officers about it.

“Is it about a year or two years? Or two months?” she asked.

When told it would be more like a month, she said, “Wow. OK.”

She pointed out that permits would likely be issued before the city could legislate to control where firearms could be carried.

The mayor’s Bill 57 to tightly control where concealed firearms may be carried is scheduled for a special meeting of the full city council on Nov. 29.

Tomimbang said permit holders pose no threat to public safety after being screened for mental health and criminal issues and undergoing hours of training and drills.

“It’s a huge burden, you have to answer for every round you fire,” he said. “So yes, you have to be familiar with it, it’s going to cost money,” he said.

Some gun owners hoping to apply have pointed out that the city’s Koko Head Public Shooting Complex is closed indefinitely for health reasons due to lead contamination.

The closure appears to reduce the availability of training or testing opportunities.

However, Tomimbang said the municipal facility is not suitable for practice or testing as part of the HPD process anyway, as it does not allow the short-range shooting required in the proficiency tests.

It also doesn’t allow for holsters or the type of target required.

He said there are only two indoor courts for civilians on Oahu, which could mean long waits to qualify. The city has indicated that many military members and families have access to the areas on the base.