By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- The Hawaii State Senate, by unanimous vote Tuesday, passed SB 898, “Relating to Firearms Owned, Possessed, or Controlled by Persons Who Pose a Serious Risk of Violence or Harm to Public Safety.” Introduced by State Senator Ronald Kouchi, the bill, gun owner rights advocates insist, poses a serious risk of harm to freedom.
“This bill has numerous flaws, some which include the revocation of the Constitutional rights without due process,” citizen activist George Pace told the Senate via submitted testimony from the Institute for Rational and Evidence-Based Legislation (scroll to pp 31 – 32 of 104). “If it could be made to conform to the Constitution, it should include banning the possession or control of any instrument or tool that could result in “violence or harm to public safety” (automobiles, knives, machetes, hammers, baseball bats, pipes, rocks, etc.).
“Rather than confiscating all such objects from a ‘proven’ dangerous person, that person should be removed from society and placed in a secure facility where they cannot harm the public until they have become no longer a danger,” Pace maintained. In other words, anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian.
Among the “problems” Pace identified:
- Section (2)(C) would allow a police officer, based solely upon a second-hand report of an individual he “believes…is credible and reliable” to initiate the confiscation of firearms and ammunition of the individual who was observed by the third party. (Per separate correspondence with AmmoLand Shooting Sports News, Pace elaborated “It allows secondhand testimony to a police officer who then decides that the testimony is ‘reliable’ that the person is a ‘danger to public safety’ to be the bar for initiating an ex parte hearing (neither the presence nor even the informing of the accused nor any legal counsel is allowed) which would result in the confiscation of all firearms. Then, supposedly within 30 days, there would be a second hearing, with the accused and legal counsel present, where a further determination would be made as to the validity of charges.”)
- Section (3)(f)(1) repeats the same unconstitutional lack of due process error by instating the error-prone Terrorist Screening Database as sufficient criteria to confiscate a person’s firearms.
- Section (3)(f)(2) violates the First Amendment right to Free Speech. Since when is making a statement of a political nature a criminal act?
- Section (3)(f)(3) “Whether the person has expressed a credible desire to kill or commit other criminal acts of violence against others.” So this bill would apply to all those people protesting against the newly inaugurated President of the United States who have made all kinds of statements regarding “violence against others,” correct?
“Confiscating a person’s firearms, based possibly on second-hand information, THEN after 30 days holding a hearing where ‘clear and convincing evidence’ [not ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’] must be presented, seem to have things backwards,” Pace concluded. “I thought that was how America worked: innocent until proven guilty.”
“Oh, did I mention that the Hawaii state senate is 100% Democrats?” Pace added in a supplemental statement to AmmoLand.
That would help explain why the “may issue” state opted for “may not” and did not issue any concealed carry permits in 2016. And per Pace, for 2015, there were 44 applications and 44 denials, with the stated reasons including “did not meet criteria/discretion/fails to meet urgency/insufficient reasons/not exceptional need.”
Per a summary he compiled, noting the attorney general did not start keeping records until 2000, state totals are:
2000 1 denial
2001 8 denials, 2 approved Maui
2002 4 denied
2003 1 denied
2004 5 denied
2005 6 denied
2006 1 issued Kauai
2007 7 denied
2008 1 denied
2009 3 denied Honolulu
2010 3 denied Honolulu
2011 8 denials Honolulu
2012 5 denials (4 Honolulu, 1 Maui)
2013 7 denials Honolulu, I issued Kauai
2014 19 denials Honolulu, 2 denials Kauai
While relief for that was anticipated from a Ninth Circuit three judge panel decision in Baker v. Kealoha following it’s rationale in the Peruta case, the court’s later en banc decision, finding no right to carry concealed, has put things back to square one. Unless the Supreme Court first hears it and then decides otherwise, gun owners will continue to be endangered and have their right to keep and bear arms denied. [*See correction/clarification from attorney Alan Beck at end of this article.]
As for SB898, its companion bill, HB1032 is expected to easily clear the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, and then the package will go on to Democrat Governor, who is on record supporting gun purchase restrictions and licensing and opposing concealed carry, and who last year “signed a bill making [Hawaii] the first state to place its residents who own firearms in a federal criminal record database and monitor them for possible wrongdoing anywhere in the country…”
Expect this latest Intolerable Act to soon be a done deal. And for those who have had their hopes for a reprieve raised by this apparent glitch at the end:
Pace explains that’s merely “a ‘place holder’ at this stage of the bill. The real date of taking effect is added near the end of the process, usually during the final committee hearing or the joint House-Senate reconciliation committee if the bill gets changed after going from the originating body to the other.”
Not unexpectedly, those opposed to the right of the people to keep and bear arms, such as Colleen Hanabusa, U.S. representative for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District, cite violence elsewhere as proof of the claim “Hawaii Has Shown That Gun Control Works.” The follow-up to that is the rest of the U.S. should emulate their laws.
If that’s even remotely true, it’s on the gun-grabbers to prove the irrelevance of population differences between Hawaii and high homicide concentration areas on the mainland, like Bloomberg cities. It’s also on them to explain why there’s one demographic throughout the Republic that has proven consistently more law-abiding and peaceable than Hawaiians: The five million members of the National Rifle Association, arguably the most heavily-armed civilian population on the planet.
* Correction/clarification from attorney Alan Beck:
After the initial Baker decision came out, our case was stayed pending the Peruta en banc decision. After that ruling we were asked by our original three judge panel to file a brief explaining why our case Baker was different than Peruta.
In Baker we asked for a permit to carry either concealed or open unlike Peruta who only wanted concealed carry. Due to that our original Ninth circuit panel is about to issue another ruling in Baker. That has nothing to do with what happens in Peruta.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.