Hawaii First State To Register Gun Owners In FBI Database

Hawaii has become the first state to require gun owners to be registered into the FBI database, according to Reuters. The bill was signed by Governor David Ige on Thursday. There is an ongoing debate about the legality of the bill. The newly signed bill is coming under intense scrutiny as gun control opponents fear it’s just another tactic for Uncle Sam to peek into their privacy. Not to mention their constitutional right to bear arms. Those in favor of the new bill believe Hawaii is leading the way in gun control.

The new bill allows the government to monitor gun owners for crimes committed not just in the state of Hawaii, but for anywhere in the country. Hawaii already requires all guns to be registered, but now they will be registered into a database that is a criminal monitoring service. The database is called “Rap Back.” The people normally entered in the “Rap Back” database are in “positions of trust,” such as school teachers, day care workers, and bus drivers.

Hawaii state Senator Will Espero (D) helped to co-author the law and believes it’s “common sense legislation that does not hurt anyone.”

Those in favor of the new law believe that it will make Hawaii a role model for other states, according to the Associated Press. Allison Anderman, a staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the bill was “groundbreaking.”

Those that oppose the new law also have strong opinions, claiming it is their constitutional right to bear arms, and they shouldn’t have to be entered in a database. Gun rights proponents claim that the government will know exactly who has firearms and can take them at any time.

“This is an extremely dangerous bill. Exercising a constitutional right is not inherently suspicious,” said Amy Hunter for the National Rifle Association. “Hawaii will now be treating firearms as suspect and subject to constant monitoring. As you can imagine, the NRA finds this one of the most extreme bills we’ve ever seen.”

The law also requires people visiting Hawaii to register, according to Hunter. That means visitors could also be added to “Rap Back.”

“I don’t like the idea of us being entered into a database. It basically tells us that they know where the guns are, they can go grab them” said Jerry Ilo, a firearm and hunting instructor for the state. “We get the feeling that Big Brother is watching us.”

Although legal experts believe the bill will be challenged, they believe it will stand up in court. According to David Levine, a law professor at the University of California, the Supreme Court has clarified the states’ ability to regulate gun sales.

“You’re curtailing that right by requiring that a name be entered into a database without doing anything wrong,” said Kenneth Lawson, faculty at the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.

Gun owners will pay the fee to be registered into the FBI database.

The new law goes into effect immediately. Governor David Ige has also signed two more bills into law related to firearms. The first one disqualifies anyone convicted of stalking or sexual assault from owning a gun. The second one requires persons suffering from mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders to surrender their weapons.

What does the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment actually say? “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The intention of the Second Amendment has been hotly debated. Would this bill make you feel safer or do you feel like you would be losing some of your privacy and freedom? How far do you think is too far?

[Photo by Cathy Bussewitz/AP Images]

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