5 Ways to Fix Hawaii Gun Laws
From Hawaii Firearms Coalition, February 15, 2020
Whenever we as gun owners object to yet another second amendment infringing law, we hear the same old line, "well, we have to do something," but year after year, law after law is passed, and it changes nothing. Why ? because these laws only target law-abiding citizens, they don't address gun crimes. Gun safety or gun deaths.
Legislators TODAY could address five significant issues that would not only reduce gun crimes and safety but would have zero effect on LEGAL gun owners. They could easily gut and replace some of the remaining gun bills on the table in this year's legislative session and do some good.
1: Gun safety in schools. We teach our children all kinds of basic safety minded programs whilst they are in school. Among them, Stop drop and roll, Stranger danger, Just say no, and sex ed.
The legislators could easily pass a bill requiring and funding a basic firearms education program in the K-12 system. Were not talking about a pro-gun or anti-gun program, but merely a program that will teach kids the basics of staying safe.
If you find a firearm, Stop don't touch, Leave the Area, Tell an adult. Learning these three steps could take as little as 15 minutes every six months and could reduce or eliminate firearms accidents with children.
2: Fund a gun lock program. Most new firearms come with some form of gun lock inside the box. Older models or used guns, however, do not. By creating and funding a free lock program, legislators could help firearm owners keep their firearms secure from unauthorized use.
Although the courts have ruled a law requiring firearms to be kept disabled as unconstitutional, many gun owners would willingly keep extra firearms secured with a gun lock. These locks could be purchased in bulk for as little as $3 and offered to all gun owners for free when registering a firearm (as required by state law) The police departments could distribute them when a person brings their firearms to the station. If 10% of people registering firearms took advantage of the program, it would cost as little as $2000 a year to run.
3: Punish those that steal firearms. It's well-document that most criminals who are in illegal possession of a firearm obtain them from theft, either committed by themselves or from a third party.
Right now, if a firearm is stolen, its treated no differently then any other property crime. This needs to change. Stealing a firearm needs to be a felony-level crime. It needs to be treated as a threat to public safety, and the punishment should reflect this.
4: Fix the permit and registration system. Hawaii's permitting and registration system is intentionally difficult to follow, time-consuming, and poorly thought out. The idea of the permitting and registration system is to make sure that any person who wishes to acquire or has a firearm in the state is a law-abiding citizen. But in reality, what it does is create hurdles and barriers for those that wish to own firearms legally.
The permitting and registration system should be taken away from the police departments. There is no reason why the background check process and the waiting period can not be administered by the FFL's just as it is for other states.
A person comes in wanting to purchase a firearm, and they fill out their background check forms online in the gun store. The gun store checks their ID and sends the forms digitally to the police department or attorney generals office.
The PD or AG completes the background check process, as they do now, and 14 days later, send a notification to the gun store on its status.
The purchaser comes in picks up their firearm, and the gun store sends a notification back to the PD or AG saying they picked it up. The PD or AG then mails the registration form to the persons mailing address.
The same process could be used to register firearms bought into the state. The person takes it to an FFL who then completes the registration data dor the firearm and sends it to the PD or AG.
Currently, Hawaii's Police departments spend more than two million dollars on the current permit and registration system. This money could be better used to fund actual police officers rather than office clerks in firearms departments.
5: Rewrite Hawaii's gun laws. Hawaii's gun laws look like they were written by somebody having a mental breakdown. They are unclear, contradictory, and poorly written. Rewriting them would make it easier for people to understand them and easier for people to follow Section 134 of the Hawaii revised statues is made up of 35 different sections. These need to be rewritten and reformatted to make them easy to navigate, easy to understand, and a lot shorter. You shouldn't need a law degree to understand what the law is. Take, for example, HRS §134-2 Permits to acquire, and it contains more than 12,000 characters and more than 2000 words. It could be rewritten to less than half that and be a lot easier to understand and comply with. Once people are able to understand what laws we have, they will be able actually to follow them.
So here you have it, these are FIVE ways that Hawaii's lawmakers could keep people safer without further infringing on the rights of law-abiding people.