Late last week Hawaii Governor David Ige signed SB 2954, a bill which would allow the registration of firearm owners in a centralized database operated by the FBI. The database, known as the “Rap Back” system, has been criticized as a watchlist by gun rights supporters, who argue that the database treats all gun owners as essentially criminals to be monitored. However, supporters of the bill say the system’s greatest feature is that it notifies law enforcement agencies if a Hawaiian gun owner has committed a crime elsewhere in the country. This, supporters say, will allow officials to make more informed decisions about who can own guns and who cannot.
“This is about our community’s safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai‘i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General’s office and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families,” said Governor David Ige in a press release.
The law is believed to be the first of its kind that would require registration into such a system, at least within the United States. The NRA vocally opposed the law’s passage, and pointed out that once a gun owner is entered into such a system, they will remain in it forever.
“In Hawaii, firearm registration is required for anyone who brings a firearm into the state, no matter how short the duration of their stay,” stated the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “In addition to creating a de facto gun registry of all legal firearms in the state, the bill would require that ‘Rap Backs’ are requested on every hunter and competitive shooter who travels to Hawaii simply because they brought a firearm into the state—even if for only a single day.”
— NRA (@NRA) June 24, 2016
In addition, Ige also signed two more gun-related laws. HB 625 added stalking and sexual assault to the list of crimes that would bar one from owning firearms or ammunition, and HB 2632 authorizes law enforcement to seize firearms from those that diagnosed with behavioral, emotional, or mental disorders, or involuntarily hospitalized in a psychiatric facility.