Second Amendment advocates score victory in Hawaii court


U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright said a legal alien resident of Hawaii should be allowed to apply for a firearms permit

By Malia Zimmerman |

HONOLULU – A legal victory for Second Amendment advocates will lead to a significant change in Hawaii’s firearms law.

U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright has ruled Hawaii’s police chiefs must consider Steve Fotoudis’ application for a firearms permit.

The Honolulu Police Department denied Fotoudis, a permanent legal alien in Hawaii and competitive shooter from Australia, the permit because of his status as an alien resident.

But Seabright ruled unconstitutional Hawaii’s law prohibiting alien residents from applying for firearms permits.

“The undisputed facts establish that Fotoudis, as a lawful permanent resident alien of the United States and resident of Hawaii, was denied the opportunity to apply for a permit to acquire firearms solely because of his alienage. This classification violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution,” Seabright says in his ruling.

Willes Lee, National NRA committee member and Hawaii Republican Assembly National director, said: “This is a great affirmation of Second Amendment rights to have a judge in Hawaii make this ruling. Especially in a state that has such strict gun control laws, this is an important trend for civil rights.”

Under Hawaii law, the state’s four county police chiefs may issue permits to U.S. citizens 21 years and older, representatives of foreign nations or law enforcement officers who are aliens. In addition, people 18 years or older with a hunting license may obtain permits for rifles and shotguns for 60 days; and aliens 21 and older can obtain firearms for up to six months if they are in training for a specific organized sport-shooting contest held within those six months.

There have been similar challenges around the country, including lawsuits filed by the Second Amendment Foundation in Washington, Massachusetts and Nebraska.

Gottlieb, who is holding a Second Amendment Foundation conference in Chicago this weekend for more than 800 people, told he is pleased with the judge’s ruling and proud the judge relied on precedent set by Second Amendment Foundation legal challenges.