What’s the Law: Firearms in a non-fixed place of business

WHAT’S THE LAW?

BY DARRYL CHOY

TOPIC: Firearms in a “non-fixed” place of business

Question: I know in Hawaii you can have a firearm at your place of business. But what about those who work at a place other than their business address? I was talking to a woman at the Range, and she asked me about a concealed carry permit. She told me that, as a real estate agent, she often sits alone at open houses. Once a guy came in, and she lost track of him. When she found him, he had removed all his clothes. She ran away, and the guy was never found. She told me that it seems this happens from time to time in Hawaii but is a big problem in the mainland. Can she keep a firearm with her during an open house?

Answer: Excellent question. Sounds like the situation in the movie, Lincoln Lawyer, in which the bad guy tells of his L.A. realtor mom who was attacked at a quiet open house.
The law allowing a firearm at a place of business was enacted with a store or shop in mind. The law envisions a “fixed” place. So just about any fixed place today would apply, like an office, store, or even a service business.

But does it also apply to non-fixed places such as a real estate agent at an open house, tradesmen/handyman going to a home, construction workers at a project, or even when the place of business is mobile for people working as taxi and truck drivers, door-to-door sales reps, delivery persons? Most likely not. The argument could be made. But it’s doubtful it will apply.

Not sure we have answers to these questions. It will be up to the prosecutor to decide whether to file criminal charges. They may decide not to. But if they do, the defense lawyer will try and argue the law allows it. The problem though is, when arrested on a charge of “place to keep,” the defendant will be jailed until bailed out or released by the arraigning judge. And the legal cost will be high even if the gun owner wins.

© 2012 – 2015, Hawaii Historic Arms Association. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the Hawaii Historic Arms Association with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.