Lawmakers in Washington maintained the status quo and failed to take action on gun control measures this week. The governor of Hawaii on the other hand signed into law three bills Thursday aimed at better protecting island residents from potential gun violence.
Most notable is the SB 2954, now Act 108, which authorizes county police departments to enroll gun owners into a federal criminal monitoring database, called “Rap Back.”
Gov. David Ige’s signature means Hawaii is the first U.S. state to enroll gun owners in the FBI system. In addition to alerting authorities when a Hawaii gun owner is arrested for a criminal offense in the country, the measure will allow Hawaii police to evaluate whether the firearm owner can keep and own weapons.
Ige said this new law will help law enforcement better protect Hawaii residents and visitors.
“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership,” Ige said. “This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families.”
Honolulu Civil Beat reports that SB 2954 was introduced by Democratic Hawaii Sen. Will Espero as he urged Hawaii to be a model for other states.
The bill drew fire from gun enthusiasts, which included the Hawaii Rifle Association, which said the bill would put law-abiding citizens to unnecessary monitoring.
“The exercise of an individual’s Second Amendment rights is not inherently suspicious and should not require a person to surrender other civil liberties, including unwarranted invasions of privacy or unequal treatment under the law,” the Institute for Legislative Action, the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association, wrote in an online call to action. “The lawful acquisition, possession, carrying, or use of a firearm does not justify subjecting citizens to ongoing monitoring.”
Ige also signed into law HB 625 and HB 2632. The first, according to the governor’s office, points out that stalking and sexual harassment crimes are crimes of violence that disqualify a person from owning or possessing a firearm. The second requires gun owners to surrender firearms if they have been diagnosed with significant behavioral, emotional or mental disorder.
Hawaii already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and they also have the lowest gun death rate of any state in the country as well, according to the latest data from the Violence Policy Center.
Do you think these forms of gun control are right or do you believe this is infringing on American citizen’s right to bear arms?