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Why private possession of guns is important for public safety:
Respected research, by authors Kleck (Point Blank), Lott (More Guns, Less Crime)*, shows that Americans use firearms about 2,500,000 times per year (most often with no shots fired) to avoid criminal attack, and that localities with more severe gun control laws have higher violent crime rates. Gun control increases violent crime. Private possession of firearms decreases violent crime. 50% of households nationwide have firearms.
Hawaii ownership is underestimated. Compare our low reported rates to “undecided” voters in pre-election polls. Would you tell a pollster you have firearms? We enjoy a low violent crime rate thanks to our population demographics but that’s changing. Our media reports daily violent crimes that could have been prevented by an armed victim. Hawaii has enjoyed the same decrease in violent crime as the rest of the nation, while at the same time, firearms registrations in Hawaii and acquisitions nationwide have dramatically increased.
Hawaii firearms laws discourage law-abiding citizens from possessing firearms and need revision. Our 2-week waiting period, for example, supposedly time for a response to mental background check letter sent to physicians. Why should there be a waiting period and an extra trip during limited business hours to the county police station for an individual who already has registered firearms? The US District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled that was unconstitutional (Silvester v. Harris, August 22, 2014).
Why keep a firearm for self-defense? Why not just call the police? Although police love to interrupt a crime in progress, they are rarely there. They mostly arrive after a crime has been committed, gather evidence and try to find the perpetrator. Police response time is minutes to hours. Firearms, like fire extinguishers, are tools to use until the professionals, firemen or police, find their way to you in your time of need. Our government and police even have immunity against lawsuits for not showing up when called.
* Books available in the Legislative Reference Bureau library at the Capitol.
By Dr. Max Cooper, HRA Legislative Liaison