Posted on Feb 1, 2007 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 07-01
February 1, 2007
Firearm Permits

In response to an inquiry from the Honolulu Police Department (“HPD”), OIP concluded that firearm permit information that identifies an individual permit holder by name or address must be deemed to be “registration data” protected under § 134-3(b), HRS, and therefore should be withheld under § 92F-13(4), HRS, of the UIPA. Other permit information that could reasonably identify the individual permit holder (such as the individual’s social security number, fingerprints, and photograph) should also be segregated and withheld under the UIPA’s frustration exception (§ 92F-13(3)) to maintain the confidentiality of the individual’s identity.

OIP concluded that, under the UIPA’s privacy exception (§ 92F-13(1)), HPD may generally withhold information that allows the identification of individuals who have been denied permits, as well as those who did not apply for a permit, who did not complete the application process, or who were granted a permit, but allowed it to lapse without acquiring a firearm. OIP noted that circumstances may alter the usual balance between the individual’s privacy interests and the public interest in disclosure. Thus, HPD must determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether circumstances diminish the individual’s privacy interest and/or give rise to a heightened public interest that tips the balance in favor of disclosure.

In both of the above cases, once identifying information is properly redacted, HPD must disclose the remaining information in an application or application file unless it falls within another exception to disclosure.

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