The state of Hawaii has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. They require permits to purchase firearms, your guns must be registered, and getting a concealed carry permit is damn near impossible. Despite all of this, Hawaii has a thriving “gun tourism” industry. Susannah Breslin, writing in Forbes magazine, tells of her recent trip to the 50th State.
To be fair, my husband spotted it. We were walking along Kalakaua Avenue in Honolulu, Hawaii, and there, on the bustling-est street in Waikiki, was a shooting range.
“What?” I said, gawking at the Waikiki Gun Club.
I’d come to Hawaii for the beach, the food, the weather. Apparently, some people come for the firearms.
They’re gun tourists, let’s say….
In fact, as you walk down Kalakaua, you’ll see guys holding signs for shooting ranges and wearing T-shirts with targets on them. It’s their job to bring tourists to the smattering of shooting ranges in the area. One flyer offered “REAL GUNS” and “FACTORY AMMO” at the SWAT Gun Club. Another displayed the different firearms — from a 9-mm Beretta to an AK-47 — you could shoot at the Hawaii Gun Club.
It was like Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California — except for instead of burning incense and selling hemp necklaces, they were hawking the fruits of the Second Amendment.
According to Lynn Selman of the Royal Hawaiian Shooting Club, the bulk of their customers are from overseas. She estimates that about 60% are Japanese, 30% are either Australians or New Zealanders, and the remaining 10% are locals or mainlanders. The club itself is located in the Royal Hawaiian Center along with high-end stores like Cartier, Hermes, and Fendi.
Why this many Japanese? It is because gun laws in Japan make owning a gun damn near impossible and because they’ve seen guns in all the action movies. Having seen them, they want the opportunity to shoot them because they aren’t going to get that chance at home.
While it is rather sad that these tourist have to come to Hawaii to get a chance to shoot, I’m glad that they are taking advantage of it. The more the Japanese and Australians and New Zealanders see that shooting can be fun, hopefully it will mean they will start pushing a little bit more at home for less restrictive gun laws. At least one can hope that.
Read the whole article by Breslin. It is interesting. It also is a warning of what the future might look like if we don’t work to preserve our Second Amendment rights now.