Friday, June 02, 2023|
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HONOLULU — A U.S. Navy officer stationed in Hawaii cannot be denied a firearms permit solely because he sought counseling for feeling depressed and homesick, a federal judge ruled.
Michael Santucci, a cryptologic warfare officer from Fort Myers, Florida, saw a medical provider at a military hospital for feelings of depression and homesickness a few months after arriving in Hawaii last year, according to his lawsuit, filed in April.
He wasn’t diagnosed with any disqualifying behavioral, emotional or mental disorder, the lawsuit said.
He later filled out forms to register his firearms with the Honolulu Police Department and indicated that he had been treated for depression, but noted it was “not serious.”
Hawaii law requires registration of all firearms. Prior to acquiring a gun, an applicant must apply for a permit. Santucci needed such a permit even though he legally owned his firearms before arriving Hawaii.
Because Santucci answered “yes” on a form indicating he had sought counseling, the permit process was halted and his firearms were seized, his lawyers said.
Honolulu must return Santucci’s firearms and complete the registration of the weapons, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson’s order issued Wednesday said.
“The City is evaluating the decision and its impact on our processes,” Honolulu Corporation Counsel Dana Viola said in a statement Friday.
Kevin O’Grady, one of Santucci’s lawyers, said the case was “illustrative of Hawaii’s strong opposition to anything that approaches the free exercise of the Second Amendment.”
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