Hawaii already has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, but there’s no such thing as too much gun control for some folks. That would include Honolulu police chief Susan Ballard, who held a press conference to push for the passage of several new anti-gun bills in the state legislature, including a ban on ammunition magazines that can accept more than ten rounds.
“We’re asking them to please, please pass these bills, for law enforcement, for all of our public safety, for the safety of our officers, for the safety of our community,” Ballard said at a press conference Wednesday morning that included Jim Howe, Director of Emergency Services.
Both addressed the growing dangers they face entering crime scenes and connected the new measures to the murder of several people on January 19, when Honolulu Police Officers Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama were gunned down in a Diamond Head neighborhood.
Jerry Hanel killed his landlord, Lois Cain, then ambushed the responding police officers, before setting the home on fire.
Hanel, 69, was not supposed to have access to a rifle, because he had temporary restraining orders filed on him by neighbors and police had previously sent him to get a mental health evaluation.
According to Hawaii News Now, Hanel may have illegally obtained the firearm used in the killing, but Ballard is pushing for laws that would impact the state’s legal gun owners far more than those prohibited from possessing a firearm. From NRA-ILA:
Senate Bill 2519 SB 1 prohibits the manufacture, possession, sale, barter, trade, gift, transfer, or acquisition of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds. Magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds acquired prior to the specified date must be registered with the county, similar to firearms. The registered magazines will be prohibited from any transfer other than inheritance. 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 bill recognizes the utility of these magazines by carving out an exemption for law enforcement, but will still violate the rights of ordinary citizens. Just last year, a 9th Circuit opinion ruled that California’s ban on standard capacity magazines was unconstitutional in Duncan v. Becerra, currently under appeal.
Senate Bill 2635 SB 1 restricts ammunition purchases to those with a valid permit to purchase a firearm, a handgun safety training affidavit, or hunter education card. It further restricts possession of ammunition for firearms owned by another and requires licensing for ammunition sellers. Criminals will, of course, simply sidestep these new regulations, while law-abiding gun owners and business owners will be forced to bear the burden of more regulation.
So not only is are anti-gun lawmakers in the state pushing for a magazine ban, they’re pushing for a ban that is likely to be ruled unconstitutional, as California’s magazine ban was (though as NRA-ILA notes, the case is currently on appeal in the 9th Circuit). The only difference between California’s ban and Hawaii’s proposed magazine ban is the grandfathering of existing magazines as long as they’re registered. And honestly, I’m not sure how you register a magazine, given that they don’t have serial numbers on them.
SB2635, meanwhile, would attempt to put in place an ammunition licensing system of sorts, and the restrictions on possessing ammunition for firearms that aren’t registered to you is bizarre (much like many of Hawaii’s other gun control laws).
Honolulu has long been one of the most hostile cities to the Second Amendment in the entire country. It wasn’t long ago that the police chief sent out letters to medical marijuana patients who were also registered gun owners telling them that their firearms would be confiscated. Ultimately, after a backlash, Ballard relented, but the department is still not issuing or renewing firearms licenses to those who use medical marijuana.
So, Ballard’s support for these gun controls really isn’t a surprise, but it is a real shame. Instead of standing on the side of the Constitution she swore an oath to protect and defend, she’s backing bans on commonly possessed arms and backdoor registration schemes that will weaken their constitutional rights instead of bolstering their personal safety.