As bad as things are in Virginia, where I live, gun owners in Hawaii have it even worse than we do this legislative season. Part of that is because the gun laws in Hawaii are already atrocious. The right to bear arms is non-existent, with “may issue” licenses required to carry either openly or concealed, and the right to keep arms is curtailed as well, with every gun owner required to register their firearms with the police. In recent years we’ve seen the Honolulu police department use that list to try to seize guns from the state’s medical marijuana users, before backing down after an outcry and a lot of unwanted media attention.
Gun owners on the islands are now having to deal with dozens of new gun control bills introduced this session, and even the local public radio station seems somewhat sympathetic to their cause (at least as far as public radio goes).
Gun rights advocates say the proposals are only hurting law-abiding citizens.
“A lot of the firearms problems that we’re seeing are stemming from other, sort of, roll-on effects, and these laws don’t tackle that,” said Andrew Namiki Roberts, a director of the Hawaii Firearm Coalition.
“These laws only tackle law-abiding people getting firearms. They don’t look at charging criminals that use firearms. They don’t look at where criminals are actually getting their firearms — which is theft.”
Namiki Roberts says the loopholes that lawmakers are trying to close allow citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Somehow I doubt that Namiki Roberts actually used the word “loophole,” because that’s not what lawmakers are trying to do. They’re trying to put new laws on the books, not “close loopholes,” though he’s right that the laws they’re intent on passing would curtail the rights of citizens, while doing nothing to address criminals.
The NRA is holding a town hall meeting in Honolulu on February 13th to inform gun owners about the dangerous new legislation, and I’d strongly encourage anyone who can attend to do so. I briefly spoke with Dan Reid, the Western States Director for NRA-ILA out at SHOT Show, and I’m hoping to have him on Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. in the next week to go over some of these bills as well. As the organization recently reported, the latest bills to be introduced would be a nightmare for the state’s legal gun owners.
House Bill 2736 and Senate Bill 2635 restrict ammunition purchases and possession to those who provide a proof of firearm registration for the particular caliber of purchase. Additionally the legislation requires licensing for ammunition sellers.
We’ve seen the problems with California’s required background checks for ammunition purchases. Tens of thousands of legal gun owners have been unable to purchase ammunition because of the broken system the state of California has in place, and now Hawaii lawmakers want to try to put a similarly flawed program in place in their state.
Senate Bill 2519, like House Bill 1736 and Senate Bill 2154, reported on previously, prohibits possession of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds. These so called “high capacity” magazines are in fact standard equipment for commonly-owned firearms that many Americans legally and effectively use for an entire range of legitimate purposes, such as self-defense or competition. The bills recognize the utility of these magazines by carving out an exemption for law enforcement, but will still violate the rights of ordinary citizens. They contain no “grandfathering” provision for affected magazines lawfully acquired prior to the ban, so citizens will be forced to dispose of their property, alter it, or surrender it to the government.
Once again, Hawaii lawmakers are taking a page from their counterparts in California, but are ignoring the issues with California’s magazine ban. In fact, California’s law that bans the possession of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds has been blocked by a federal judge for violating the constitutional rights of residents, but that’s not stopping legislators in Hawaii from trying to do the same thing.
Go read the latest ILA alert for even more awful pieces of legislation that have just been filed, because the bills above are really just the tip of the iceberg.
This is where the gun control movement wants to take us. Not to the sandy beaches and warm sunny days of Hawaii, but a place where the right of the People to keep and bear arms doesn’t exist and instead, it’s a tightly restricted privilege that can only be pursued by those the State deems to be worthy.