Yesterday, Governor Ige announced that he signed two anti-gun bills, Senate Bill 2954 and House Bill 625, into law. Both bills took effect immediately upon his approval. Apparently the Governor thinks that law-abiding Hawaiians should be entered into a federal criminal database for continuous monitoring because that is exactly what SB 2954 will do. Under SB 2954, the existing registration requirement will be expanded and law-abiding Hawaii gun owners, and visitors, will be entered into the federal “Rap Back” system, which is a biometric database managed by the FBI for continuous monitoring.
The exercise of an individual’s Second Amendment rights is not inherently suspicious and should not require a person to surrender other civil liberties, including unwarranted invasions of privacy or unequal treatment under the law. The lawful acquisition, possession, carrying, or use of a firearm does not justify subjecting citizens to ongoing monitoring.
Governor Ige also signed HB 625, which expands prohibited possessors to include certain misdemeanor crimes. Constitutional rights are generally restricted only upon conviction of a felony. The reasons for this are two-fold. It limits restrictions on constitutional rights to only the most serious offenses, and, perhaps more importantly, felony convictions provide greater procedural protections to the accused, which results in more reliable convictions. The right to keep and bear arms should not be treated as a second-class right and should be restricted only upon conviction of a felony.