Hawaii is on track to become the first U.S. state to enter gun owners into an FBI database that will automatically alert local police if an island resident is arrested in any state.
Stephen Fischer of the FBI ‘s Criminal Justice Information Services Division said that most of the people in other states who are in the “Rap Back” database are those in “positions of trust,” like school teachers and bus drivers, for example.
Hawaii is poised to become the first state to include gun owners.
“I don’t like the idea of us being entered into a database. It basically tells us that they know where the guns are, they can go grab them” said Jerry Ilo, a firearm and hunting instructor for the state. “We get the feeling that Big Brother is watching us.
However, supporters believe that the new law would make Hawaii the leading example in common sense gun control. Allison Aderman, a staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the legislation was “groundbreaking,” and that she’s unaware of any other states making this kind of commitment to reducing gun violence.
Sen. Will Espero (D-HI) introduced the bill, and the Honolulu Police Department said that Hawaii could become a model for other states to follow.
Predictably, this measure has received a lot of pushback from gun owners who feel that they shouldn’t have to be entered into a database to practice a constitutional right.
You’re curtailing that right by requiring that a name be entered into a database without doing anything wrong,” said Kenneth Lawson, faculty at the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.
Legal experts believe that the bill could face numerous legal challenges but would most likely hold up in court. Recent Supreme Court rulings have made it clear that states do have the ability to regulate gun sales, according to David Levine, a law professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law.
The bill is set to undergo a legal review process by various government agencies, including the Attorney General’s office, which also supported the bill. According to Cindy Mcmillian, a spokesperson for Hawaii Gov. David Ige, the governor will review the bill and decide if he will sign the legislation into law.
One of the legal hurdles will involve the cost of registering the names into the database. The current legislation calls for gun owners to pay a fee, although the amount isn’t specified in the bill.
According to Honolulu Police Department Major Richard Robinson, the database will be a great benefit to local law enforcement because currently Hawaii’s gun owners only undergo a background check when they register their firearms. In other words, police have no way of knowing if an individual is disqualified from owning a gun unless they attempt to register a new firearm.
We were only discovering things by accident,” said Robinson, who helped draft the bill. “They happen to come register another firearm, we run another background check, and then we find out they’re a prohibited person.
According to Robinson, this happens about 20 times a year.
But some local gun owners believe the law confirms their fear that “Big Brother” will soon know who owns guns and where they keep them, which they believe will be the start of gun confiscation in America.
This is an extremely dangerous bill. Exercising a constitutional right is not inherently suspicious,” said Amy Hunter for the National Rifle Association. “Hawaii will now be treating firearms as suspect and subject to constant monitoring.
Wouldn’t it be nice if organizations like the NRA believed that all U.S. Amendments deserved equal reverence? But instead, they deify the Second Amendment while lobbying to dilute the Fifteenth Amendment (the right to vote).
And how hypocritical is it that many NRA members will tell us not to trust the government when it comes to gun control, but they suddenly believe in the “rule of law” whenever a gun owner is acquitted of killing an unarmed black teenager?