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Hawaii: House to Vote on Anti-Gun Bills

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Hawaii: House to Vote on Anti-Gun Bills

This Thursday, February 27th, three anti-gun bills: HB 1902, HB 2736, and HB 2744 will be eligible for floor votes in the House. All three bills were heavily amended while in committee to include far more restrictions on your Second Amendment rights. Please use the “Take Action” button below to contact your Representative and urge them to oppose HB 1902, HB 2736, and HB 2744.

House Bill 1902 HD 1 prohibits possession of magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds. These so called “high capacity” magazines are in fact standard equipment for commonly-owned firearms that many Americans legally and effectively use for an entire range of legitimate purposes, such as self-defense or competition. The bill recognizes the utility of these magazines by carving out an exemption for law enforcement, but will still violate the rights of ordinary citizens. It contains no “grandfathering” provision for magazines lawfully acquired prior to the ban, so citizens will be forced to dispose of their property, alter it, or surrender it to the government.

Just last year, a 9th Circuit opinion ruled that California's ban on standard capacity magazines was unconstitutional in Duncan v. Becerra. This case is currently under appeal. There is no reason to believe that a similar restriction would make Hawaii any safer. Multiple studies show that banning “high capacity” magazine has no effect on violent crime rates.

In addition, the committee added the HD 1 amendment to include language from House Bill 2322. It expands the ability to prohibit categories of individuals for firearm ownership by requiring medical documentation that an individual is no longer adversely affected from behavioral, emotional or mental disorders they were treated for as a minor. The language of this legislation is vague and could implicate those who have received treatment for common, non-dangerous mental health issues. This legislation further stigmatizes individuals who receive mental health treatment, and may even prevent minors who need help from seeking it out for fear of having their rights restricted later in life.

House Bill 2736 HD 1 restricts ammunition purchases and possession to those who provide a proof of firearm registration for the particular caliber of purchase. The bill also requires licensing for ammunition sellers. Evidence clearly shows that restriction and registration of firearms and ammunition provides no public safety benefit. Criminals will easily sidestep these new requirements while law abiding gun owners and businesses are punished yet again by burdensome and unnecessary restrictions.

The committee has amended HB 2736 in a misguided effort to address some of the issues with the original bill. Unfortunately, the changes made by the HD 1 amendment only make the proposed system even more complex and burdensome. All the restrictions on firearms introduced by the bill now apply to ammunition as well. The amended bill also now creates a system in which the registered owner of a firearm may officially designate an alternate who, after being subjected to fingerprinting and a background check, will be issued a permit to purchase ammunition for that firearm for no more than three years. Additionally, if someone owns a firearm that is capable of shooting multiple calibers (i.e. .357 Magnum and .38 Special) and wishes to purchase an alternate ‘non-registered’ caliber, they will have to demonstrate to local police that their firearm is capable of shooting the alternate caliber. They will then be issued a permit to purchase the alternate caliber that will not be valid for more than three years.

These changes only add more bureaucratic red tape to an already absurdly complicated system, without addressing some of the bill’s most glaring problems. Under current law, owners are not required to register long guns acquired in the state prior to July of 1994. Owners of these firearms will be unable to purchase ammunition for them, unless they register the firearms. Additionally, law-abiding citizens who want to make a one-time purchase of ammunition to hunt or shoot with a friend or simply try out a firearm will be denied that right unless they own a firearm in the same caliber or are officially designated as the alternate ammunition purchaser and go through the permitting process.

House Bill 2744 HD 1 uses your tax dollars to create a commission to research “gun violence”.  While the NRA does not oppose objective research, this bill is likely to produce biased advocacy instead of sound science. Despite ample evidence showing the public benefit of gun ownership, “gun violence research” often only measures the negative impact. As this bill does not include a requirement to study the effects of gun ownership holistically, we are concerned this commission will be misused to create anti-gun propaganda

The HD 1 amendment adds language from a previous bill which prohibits the purchase and manufacture of certain firearms parts by private individuals in an effort to ban home built firearms and so called “ghost guns.” Law abiding firearm enthusiasts should be free to engage in their craft free of government overreach. Furthermore, the language of the amendment is vague and overly broad as to what exactly could constitute a part or parts that could subject a person to felony penalties. Under this legislation, it is far too easy for a well-intentioned, and otherwise law-abiding gun owner to accidentally run afoul of the law. This legislation would not prevent prohibited persons from obtaining firearms, as they already cannot lawfully possess any firearm, whether home built or produced by a licensed manufacturer. 

Again, please use the “Take Action” button above to contact your Representative and urge them to oppose HB 1902, HB 2736, and HB 2744.

Continue to check your inbox and www.nraila.org for updates on issues impacting your Second Amendment Rights and hunting heritage. 

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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.