The Aloha State's already stringent gun regulations may get even tougher soon, with proposed legislation that would allow state officials to keep tabs on gun owners or applicants via an FBI database. The bill would only affect Hawaii residents who own guns or apply for gun licenses, but it create an alert system to notify the state if such residents are arrested in another state.
Here's how the FBI system works, and how it might affect Hawaii gun owners.
The FBI's program, called Rap Back, "provides continuous monitoring of individuals who are subject to a criminal history record check." This can include anyone from teachers to government employees, and, of course, those subject to a criminal history or background check when registering a firearm. If an individual subject to a background check is arrested, anywhere in the country, the agency who conducted the check gets notified.
Hawaii already accesses the Rap Back program for teachers, daycare operators, Hawaii Health System Corporation employees, and traffic management employees. The proposed bill would allow the state to expand that use to applicants for firearms permits and registration.
Forfeiture of Firearms
If passed, the new law would allow county police departments in Hawaii to receive notifications if individuals who acquire permits or register firearms are subsequently arrested out-of-state. Law enforcement could then determine whether their criminal conduct disqualifies them from owning or possessing a gun. The bill, as currently constructed, makes it clear that information would not be used retroactively against gun owners and only arrests after the bill's passing would be considered.
The law appears to be the first of its kind, and would be an addition to some of the toughest firearms regulations in the country. Hawaii's gun control laws already require residents to obtain a permit prior to purchasing a firearm and people must apply for those permits through the police department. As part of the permit process, police departments check local, state, and national databases to see if the applicant has felony or violent crime convictions, or misdemeanor assault or domestic violence charges.