A man in Hawaii has filed a lawsuit against the Honolulu Police Department for discriminating against non-U.S. citizens with respect to gun rights.
The United Kingdom citizen, Andrew Namiki Roberts, is a legal permanent resident of the United States. When navigating the stringent gun laws of Hawaii, he ran into a bit of trouble.
First, he acquired a permit just to purchase and own rifles and shotguns. Then, he took a firearm safety course, which is required before one can be issued a permit to obtain a handgun. But when he went to get the permit, after jumping through every legal hoop, he was told that his background documentation was not complete. He would have to get a letter from the British consulate on his behalf. When his background check was denied, it also invalidated his previous permit to have rifles and shotguns and the one he had purchased from a Hawaii sports shop was seized.
Hawaii’s firearm permit allows a person to purchase a firearm, use it for hunting, or transport said firearm to specific locations like gunsmiths or shooting ranges. Hawaii law also requires firearms to be registered at a statewide level. The county police departments are in charge of handling the permits and registrations, like the DMV for guns. Last year, a ruling was made by a federal judge in Honolulu that said only granting permits to U.S. citizens was unconstitutional.
The department is hoping to circumvent the ruling by requiring those with green cards to obtain extra clearance. Roberts’ lawsuit is calling the extra documentation required “unfair” and discriminatory against permanent resident aliens. Another issue that the lawsuit takes with the arrangement is that there is no written requirement for the documentation.
Hawaii law states that an inquiry will be made into permit applicants if they are not U.S. citizens, through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and the Immigration Enforcement databases. Roberts’ is arguing that if he has already passed all the requirements to be a permanent resident, the extra requirements are unfair. The lawsuit states that, “Mr. Roberts has the constitutional right to keep and possess firearms in his home for the purpose of self-defense,”.
What do you think? Should he have to become a citizen to own firearms? Or is the permanent residency investigation enough?