Gun Rights Advocates: 2020 Bills Impact Law-Abiding Citizens, Don't Address Crimes

Jan 31, 2020

Pro-gun advocates are voicing their opposition to several state bills that would add more restrictions on guns.

The Hawaiʻi Firearms Coalition hosted a rally Thursday at the state Capitol to challenge a majority of the measures.

Forty-three gun bills have been introduced this legislative session, the most bills relating to firearms introduced in a single session in recent years.

Lawmakers say the state continues to rank toward the bottom in gun violence rates in the country and that Hawaii has among the strictest gun controls in the country.

But a recent string of violent crimes involving firearms in the islands -- including the deadly Diamond Head shooting of two police officers -- have highlighted gaps in the state's gun laws, say supporters of the measures.

Gun rights advocates say the proposals are only hurting law-abiding citizens.

"A lot of the firearms problems that we're seeing are stemming from other, sort of, roll-on effects, and these laws don't tackle that," said Andrew Namiki Roberts, a director of the Hawaii Firearm Coalition.

"These laws only tackle law-abiding people getting firearms. They don't look at charging criminals that use firearms. They don't look at where criminals are actually getting their firearms -- which is theft."

Namiki Roberts says the loopholes that lawmakers are trying to close allow citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Law enforcement officials, among them Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard, are calling for tougher regulations, including for weapons known as ghost guns. Ghost guns can be built from kits ordered online and bear no serial numbers. Police say they are seeing them used in crimes.