March 1994 Home   Newsletters

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President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Vote Count Alert
Testimony before the State Legislature
Kakaako Makai Plan
Importance of Legislative Access (Jean Aoki)
Action Alert - Firearms Control Legislation
Action Alert - Public Access Legislation
Annual Meeting

Action Alert - Firearms Control Legislation

THE PROBLEM: The House Judiciary Committee under the leadership of Chairman Terrance Tom has gutted the three League-supported firearms control bills (SB 2346, SD 1; SB 2347, SD1; and SB 2393, SD1), which had passed the Senate earlier, and combined them into a much-watered-down omnibus bill SB 2393, SD 1 HD1.

SB 2346, SD 1 which would have required a permit for each long gun and rifle purchased and the registration of all presently-owned long guns and rifles, was greatly weakened.

Presently handguns are the only firearms that must be registered and once a person obtains a permit to purchase a long gun or rifle, he may purchase as many as he desires under that permit for one year. There is no way for law enforcement officials to determine who has such firearms in their homes or how many-are in circulation. The House Bill requires the registration of long guns and rifles after July 1, 1994, but notes that many of these firearms have no identifying numbers on them and the person should use the permit number to register it. But if the .permit can be used to purchase more than one firearm under it, how can you determine what number to use.

The bills also say no fee charged for the permit of registration. Isn't this ironic in this day of fiscal austerity when budgets are being cut, fees for marriage licenses, copies of death certificates, etc. are being increased, gun owners do not have to pay anything, not even to cover costs, for their permits?

SB 2347, SD 1, which would have restricted the sale of handguns, was reduced to the requirement that a two-hour firearms safety or training course be completed before a permit to purchase is issued. This is only a classroom course – there is no requirement to demonstrate the prospective owner's proficiency in using a handgun. Isn't this like saying. you will be able to play the piano expertly after watching a video for two hours?

SB 2393, SD1, which would have prevented a person under a temporary restraining order from purchasing a firearm and required the person to turn in those guns he owns to the police, was essentially made useless. The House Bill would require that specific proof be given to the court that the person under the restraining order intended to use the firearm to threaten, injure or abuse someone before the court can issue the order preventing the purchase or requiring the turning in of firearms. Data has shown that an abuser often becomes so angry when a victim seeks a restraining order that he then uses a firearm on the victim.

What You Can Do – As quickly as possible, contact House Speaker Joe Souki (Rm 904 State Office Tower - 5866100), House Judiciary Chairman Terrance Tom (Rm 803 State Office Tower - 586-6490), Senate President Norman Mizuguchi (Rm. 502 Hemmeter Building - 586-6870), Senate Judiciary Chairman Rey Graulty (Rm 508 State Office Tower - 586-6670) as well as your own legislator and any others you know and urge that:

  1. The provisions in SB 2346, SD 1 regarding the registration of long guns and rifles should be maintained. All long guns and rifles now in existence in Hawaii should be registered and allow only one firearm to be purchased under each permit issued.

  2. If a firearm safety or training course is to be substituted for the provisions to restrict the purchase of handguns in SB 2347, SD 1, the course should be devised and under the supervision of law enforcement officials and require the demonstration of the proficiency in the use of handguns.

  3. The provisions of SB 2393, SD 1 should be maintained so that the court can order that a person under a temporary restraining order be prevented from obtaining a permit to purchase a firearm and be required to turn in all those he owns to law enforcement officials.

For further information, call Evelyn Bender 737-2524.

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