SB69, HD1 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Finance Committee this Thursday, March 28, 3:15pm, Rm 308, at the State Capitol. The present bill language affects persons bringing firearms into the state. Current statute already requires that all such firearms be registered within 3 days. The county police departments are already doing NICS checks (National Instant Check System) by phone to BATFE. They are also submitting fingerprints to the FBI, and charging new registrants the floating FBI fee for examining fingerprints, currently $16.50. This bill authorizes (requires) them to do so, provides an as yet unspecified amount of general funds to the counties for that purpose, and extends the window for registration from 3 to 5 days. If enacted, by the time this bill takes effect July 1, 2013, it is expected that the long registration lines at HPD and the other county PD's will be back to the usual.
HRA supports the present draft, will insist that no unfriendly amendments be inserted into this last gun bill left this year, and ask the Finance committee, since this puts an additional burden on the county registration systems, to earmark appropriations for increasing firearms desk employees, locations, and hours. The number of firearms registered in Hawaii annually has increased by 370% over the last 13 years, with virtually no increase in system capacity.
HRA supports background checks because criminals try to register firearms.
The Hawaii State Attorney General's annual report on firearms, released last week, shows that for 2012, 227 permits (1%) were denied for cause state-wide. Over 1/2 (127) of the denials were because applicants had prior criminal convictions and another 25 were due to pending criminal charges. The denial descriptions are listed on page 10 of the complete report, http://ag.hawaii.gov/cpja/files/2013/03/Firearm-Registrations-2012.pdf
People with significant criminal records were denied. Although it is a class C felony to lie on the signed affidavit about criminal or mental health background,157 of the denied applicants did so, yet few arrests are made.
Of the 50,394 firearms registered last year, nearly half, 23,548 (47%), not counting licensed dealer imports, were brought in from out of state.
Please go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=69&year=2013 for the actual current bill language and to e-mail testimony by 3:15pm Wed., March 28 (tomorrow).
Dr. Max Cooper
HRA Legislative Liaison