City and state to pay $130K to settle gun owner’s lawsuit
HNN June 20, 2023: … The city and the state have agreed to pay more than $130,000 to settle a lawsuit by a Navy officer who was ordered to turn in his firearms.
A Honolulu City Council committee Tuesday approved the city’s portion of the settlement — $102,500 — which goes to the full council next month.
The lawsuit by Michael Santucci alleged that the HPD seized his guns and that it held up his permit application in 2021 because he wrote down on his firearms questionnaire that he had recently received mental health counseling.
His lawyer said police had violated Santucci’s constitutional rights….
read … City and state to pay $130K to settle gun owner’s lawsuit
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Sailor Wins Right to Register Guns
News Release from HiFiCo, May 25, 2023
Today marks another significant victory for the Second Amendment in Hawaii, all thanks to a homesick sailor.
The case of Santucci V. City and County of Honolulu saw a preliminary injunction become permanent today. The lawsuit was initiated by Michael Santucci, an officer serving in the United States Navy.
In July 2021, Mr. Santucci made an attempt to register his lawfully purchased firearms with the Honolulu Police Department. During the application process, he disclosed that he had sought treatment for an emotional or mental disorder.
Earlier that year, Mr. Santucci had sought medical assistance for feelings of depression and homesickness, believing it was the right thing to do. At that point, the Honolulu Police Department halted the background check and did not contact Mr. Santucci's medical provider to determine if he had a diagnosed condition that would legally justify denying him the right to own firearms.
They informed him that he was required to surrender his firearms, which he complied with, and instructed him to obtain a medical clearance letter certifying that he was no longer affected by a mental disorder that would disqualify him from owning firearms. However, this was impossible for him to do as he had never been afflicted by a disqualifying disorder.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Santucci, along with attorneys Alan Beck and Kevin O'Grady, filed a lawsuit against the city and the state on his behalf. The initial lawsuit argued that Mr. Santucci was not prohibited by Hawaii law from owning firearms and contended that the relevant statute, Section 134-7, was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment and/or unconstitutionally vague.
The court agreed with Mr. Santucci that he was not disqualified from registering his firearms based on Section 134-7. It determined that Mr. Santucci's affirmative response to Question 11 of the Firearm Application Questionnaire, which inquired about behavioral, emotional, or mental disorders, did not render him ineligible for firearm registration or ownership under the statute. The court concluded that Mr. Santucci should not have been required to provide a doctor's letter or compelled to surrender his firearms solely based on his affirmative response to Question 11.
Honolulu argued that it was obligated by law to request a doctor's letter in accordance with Section 134-3, which mandates firearm registration using forms prescribed by the Attorney General. However, the court found no basis for requiring a doctor's letter after an affirmative response to Question 11, as neither the statute nor the prescribed form supported such a requirement.
The court granted the preliminary injunction, ordering the return of Mr. Santucci's firearms, and enjoined Honolulu from demanding specific certifications solely based on an affirmative response to Question 11. It also stipulated legal fees to be paid in the matter, with Honolulu paying $102,500 and the State paying $28,000 more.
CB: Been To Therapy? You Can Still Register Your Firearm In Honolulu, Judge Rules