Gov. David Ige, a Democrat, approved a pair of measures on Monday to make Hawaii’s already tough gun laws even tougher.
The bills, SB 2046 and SB 2436, outlaw a host of bump stocks and similar accessories while cutting the time allowed for mandatory firearm surrenders down from 30 days to a week. Both proposals passed the state legislature with broad support.
“I’m proud that Hawai‘i has one of the lowest rates of gun violence in the nation thanks to our strict gun laws,” said Ig in the signing ceremony at the State Capitol. “At the same time, we must protect the rights of gun owners and hunters to own and use guns safely. This legislation will help us uphold the rights of gun owners while keeping guns out of the hands of mentally unfit individuals.”
The bump stock ban regulates not only the eponymous and controversial firearm accessory but also multi-burst trigger activators, and trigger cranks as well as any part “designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic firearm.” Violators would be subject to a class C felony, with a punishment of as many as five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
In conjunction with the ban, which does not allow for grandfathering of any device currently in circulation or compensates owners for their loss, Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard announced a 30-day amnesty program for bump stock owners to turn in their now-illegal items at any police station.
During legislative hearings on the bill, the Hawaii Hunting Association argued that the measure seemed “purposefully vague and serves absolutely no safety purpose, but instead could make felons out of law-abiding target shooters and hunters who may work on their legally owned firearms for safety, accuracy, or function.” Similar comments were logged by the Hawaii Rifle Association, National Rifle Association and scores of gun owners in over 100 pages of testimony.
Gun surrender deadline
The second bill approved by Ige, SB 2436, cuts the time period that individuals who have lost their gun rights to voluntarily surrender or dispose of their firearms and ammunition before police can move in to seize the weapons. Under current state law, a chief of police can act on a disqualification after 30 days, a figure which will now be reduced to just seven.
The bill’s initial language — supported by Everytown and some prosecutors in the state– set the bar at just 24 hours before police could take action. The groups argued such a short period was needed to save lives, especially in cases of domestic abusers subject to temporary restraining orders.
Gun rights advocates countered that such a narrow window could subject affected gun owners to an “unfettered search of their home and/or business within hours of being accused.”
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