Hawaii considers taser control measures

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

Hawaii doesn’t like armed citizens. While the state likes to think of itself as paradise–and they’re not wrong in oh-so-many ways–the truth of the matter is that if you value your right to keep and bear arms, the Aloha State is probably not for you.

They’re one of many states that banned electronic guns like tasers, only to have the courts overturn the ban. As a result, they’re looking at gun control as a model.

House Bill 1732, as currently proposed, would prohibit most people — other than law enforcement personnel and members of the Army or Air National Guard involved in emergency relief activities — from carrying an electric gun “in or near certain sensitive locations,” with exceptions.

That list of places initially identified as “sensitive” included: in or near an airport, passenger transportation terminal, commuter operations areas, state or county government buildings or any meeting place required to be open to the public for government meetings.

The latest draft of HB 1732, which awaits decision-making in the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday morning, is more specific as to where electric guns would not be allowed:

  • a public school including any building, grounds, facility or parking structure;
  • a nonresidential building owned, leased or controlled by the state or county, including Iolani Palace, the state Capitol, an office building, a library, a college, a court of law, a stadium or an arena;
  • an airport including any terminal, building, structure, facility or parking structure;
  • a public mass transit vehicle, mass transit terminal or transit center, except for a bus stop that is located on a public sidewalk; and
  • a government meeting place required to be open to the public.

My read of the latest draft is that people who are lawfully allowed to have electric guns could take them to just about anywhere else, including a public park or beach.

In other words, Hawaii wants to treat tasers and stun guns just like firearms in many ways.

The problem is that this really doesn’t make any sense. While I disagree with gun control on every level, I at least get the arguments for banning guns in these specific places. Gun control advocates argue it’s about the potential loss of life.

But tasers are less-lethal weapons. They’re not guaranteed to be non-lethal–things happen when you send that much electricity through someone–they’re far, far less likely to take a human life.

Plus, they’re generally single-use weapons. You’ve yet to hear of a mass tasing, and for good reason.

So why dump all these restrictions on such weapons?

The answer is that Hawaii, like many other anti-Second Amendment states, simply can’t fathom the idea of armed citizens, even if they’re armed with something other than a firearm. Armed citizens suggest that the state can’t protect people and that’s something officials in Hawaii simply can’t deal with.

However, it’s true. No matter how much law enforcement may want to protect others, they simply can’t be everywhere.

Less-lethal weapons like tasers give people the opportunity to protect themselves even when they don’t believe they’re capable of taking a human life. This isn’t a bad thing, either. I can respect someone for making that determination and being honest with themselves about it.

But there’s no reason to treat these weapons as if they’re firearms. Granted, there’s no reason to treat firearms this way either, but even if you think there is, tasers are hardly the same thing.

Hawaii needs to wake up and stop spreading the stupid on its morning toast.