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Hawaii: 2013 Legislative Session Begins with a Battle for Our Second Amendment Rights in the Aloha State

Friday, January 25, 2013

Misguided state legislators are taking their lead from the national anti-gun wave that is being spread around the country by extremist New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  They are pursuing efforts to cripple gun owners’ rights and penalize law-abiding citizens with ineffective and onerous legislation. The NRA will be actively fighting proposed anti-gun measures while keeping you updated on scheduled hearings and any action taken. While each bill has been assigned to a committee, most have not yet been scheduled for hearings.

Senate Bill 36, introduced by state Senators Clarence Nishihara (D-17), Gilbert Keith-Agaran (D-5) and Glenn Wakai (D-15), would increase already burdensome regulations regarding firearms registration, background checks, storage and permits. In addition to requiring annual renewals of firearm registrations, SB 36 would also require gun owners to attend firearm training at least once every two years. This onerous bill would mandate that all members of a household where a firearm is stored undergo the same evaluation of fitness to acquire a firearm as an applicant for a firearm owner permit. This bill has been fast-tracked by Senate President Donna Mercado Kim (D-14), and has been referred to the Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs Committee (PSM), Judiciary and Labor Committee (JDL), and Ways and Means Committee (WAM).

Senate Bill 69, introduced by state Senators Will Espero (D-19), Rosalyn Baker (D-6), Brickwood Galuteria (D-12) and Josh Green (D-3), would appropriate $100,000 to County Police Departments statewide to establish “gun buyback” programs. Such gun buyback schemes across the country have proven to be complete failures and an irresponsible waste of taxpayer dollars. The average person who voluntarily surrenders a firearm to police is not a criminal and the firearms surrendered are not those misused by criminals. This bill has been assigned to the PSM and WAM Committees.

Senate Bill 219, is the most egregious of the bills introduced so far. This proposed ban of so-called “assault weapons” was introduced by state Senator Les Ihara, Jr. (D-10). This bill would result in widespread confiscation of firearms. It would prohibit the sale or transfer, as well as the possession of many modern sporting rifles. Furthermore, it would require relinquishment of these firearms to law enforcement. SB 219 lists proposed banned firearms by name in addition to implementing the two-feature test to determine if a firearm falls under the political misnomer, “assault weapon.”

This misguided legislation will only hinder law-abiding gun owners in exercising their Second Amendment rights. Criminals - by definition - violate laws, especially gun control laws. They never obey gun bans, register their firearms, or comply with any gun control schemes whatsoever.  As a result, innocent, law-abiding citizens are the only ones who pay the price and are left defenseless.

This bill has been assigned to the PSM, Commerce and Consumer Protection (CPN), and the JDL committees. Please contact your state Senator TODAY and respectfully express your opposition to this bill. You can find your state Senator and their contact information by clicking here

House Bill 30, introduced by state Representative Karl Rhoads (D-29), is another frivolous bill to require that individuals who purchase ammunition provide proof of firearm ownership in the caliber being purchased. HB 30 has been assigned to the House Public Safety and Judiciary committees.

House Bill 426, introduced by Scott Saiki (D-26), seeks to repeal newly enacted legislation that protects NRA instructors from liability while teaching the introductory pistol and revolver course that is necessary to purchase a firearm. This bill is scheduled to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee this Tuesday, January 29, at 2:00 p.m. in conference room 325 of the Capitol. You can view the committee agenda by clicking here. If your state Representative is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, please contact them TODAY and respectfully request that they oppose HB 426. The contact information for this committee can be found at the bottom of this alert.

The bright note amongst the anti-gun bills is Senator Sam Slom (R-9), who has introduced several pro-gun bills:

Senate Bill 262 will authorize chiefs of police to issue licenses to openly carry a firearm. SB 262 has been referred to the PSM, CPN, and JDL committees.

Senate Bill 274 will amend the current law pertaining to concealed carry licenses to make Hawaii a shall-issue state. This bill has been referred to the PSM and JDL committees.

Senate Bill 280 will repeal the current state law that limits detachable magazines to ten rounds. A cap on magazine capacity is a proven failure at stopping crime.  SB 280 has bill has been referred to the PSM and JDL committees.

Senate Bill 293 provides that the justified use of force shall limit a person's civil liability as it relates to a perpetrator who suffers injury or death, provided that, if injured, the offender is ultimately convicted of a crime. This bill has been referred to the JDL committee.

Additionally, state Representative Calvin Say (D-20) has introduced self-defense legislation. House Bill 603 would allow the use of deadly force when protecting one's primary dwelling against an intruder. This measure would also exempt the actor from civil liability. HB 603 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Your involvement in the legislative process is crucial and your phone calls and e-mails make a difference. Your NRA-ILA will continue to keep you informed as these and other firearm-related bills make their way through the legislative process. Please check our Hawaii Legislative Page for updates.  Thank you in advance for your efforts!

House Judiciary Committee:


Representative Karl Rhoads (D-29), Chair



Representative Sharon E. Har (D-42), Vice Chair



Representative Della Au Belatti (D-24)



Representative Tom Brower (D-22)



Representative Rida T.R. Cabanilla (D-41)



Representative Mele Carroll (D-13)



Representative Ken Ito (D-49)



Representative Derek S.K. Kawakami   



Representative Chris Lee



Representative Clift Tsuji



Representative Jessica Wooley



Representative Bob McDermott



Representative Cynthia Thielen




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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.