Applications for firearm permits in Hawai’i are setting new records, and law enforcement officials are concerned more guns are being stolen and more are being used by drug dealers, reports the Honolul Advertiser. A total of 8,695 private firearm permit applications were processed in Hawai’i in 2005, the latest year for which numbers are available. That was an increase of 27 percent over 2004 and the highest number since the state began keeping count in 2000, according to the state attorney general’s office.
Hawai’i has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, and one of the lowest rates of firearms-related deaths. The state had only 3.45 firearms-related deaths per 100,000 residents in the five years to 2004. By comparison, the number for Washington, D.C., was 29.1. The recent shooting death of an off-duty deputy sheriff has drawn attention to the issue of gun control.