HONOLULU — While the nation debates the adoption of stricter gun regulations after a recent spate of mass shooting, Gov. David Ige signed off Friday on the state Legislature’s attempt to defend Hawaii’s rigorous gun-safety laws from erosion.
Joined by state Attorney General Holly Shikada, legislators from both chambers and others, Ige signed Senate Bill 2075 into law, enacting a three-year physical inspection requirement at the time of registration for firearms that were not manufactured with serial numbers, or ghost guns, firearms transported into the state from another jurisdiction, and firearms obtained in private sales and transfers.
“HB 2075 will support our law enforcement personnel in our community and it really does point to common-sense rules and regulations to ensure the health and safety of our community,” Ige said.
The measure was introduced after a ruling in U.S. District Court that invalidated the state’s 10-day expiration period for a permit to acquire a pistol or revolver and the requirement that all firearms be inspected at the time of registration. While the 10-day expiration continues to be in effect, the physical inspection requirement is suspended while the case is currently being appealed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The suspension meant that firearms could be registered without examination.
“It’s defensive; it’s temporary,” state Sen. Karl Rhoads, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said. “My hope is the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will realize that our current gun laws are better, more protective and make our citizens safer. But in the meantime, while that case is going forward, we can’t afford not to have inspections of any guns coming in for registration.”
Rhoads cited Hawaii’s perennial standing as the state with the lowest number of gun-related deaths and the lowest rate of gun-related death.
“We’re 75% below the national average for gun death rate,” he said. “Why anyone wants to erode these protections and make us less safe is beyond me, but that unfortunately is the reality we face every day with people litigating our gun legislation. It works. We’re the best in the country. Let’s let it keep working.
Ige noted that the three categories of firearms that will be subject to physical inspection under the new law were identified by county police chiefs as a top concern.
Also on Friday, Ige signed a proclamation designating June 3 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day in Hawaii.
Michael Tsai covers local and state politics for Spectrum News Hawaii.