Category Archives: Legislative Reports

HRA Legislative Report March, 2014 by Max Cooper, HRA Legislative Liaison

The Hawaii State Legislature is at half-time. Bills not passed by the originating body are dead. The rest “cross” to the opposite body and are again referred to committees for hearings.

Your HRA has tracked over 34 bills of interest and submitted testimony to 23 committee hearings.

Bills for apprentice hunting, prohibition of digitally manufactured firearms, law enforcement officers carrying firearms while drinking, firearms registration amnesty, shall issue, and accepting military training for handgun permits are all dead and not likely to be resurrected.

Your HRA supports a number of good bills that remain alive. Please send testimony when you receive alerts on hearings. Attend in person when you can.

These firearms bills are alive:

Bill number Description and HRA position
SB2021 SD1 Snatching a policeman’s gun becomes a Class C felony. SUPPORT
HB2246 HD1 Provides a mechanism for court relief from mental health disability resulting from involuntary commitment and requires AG to keep records of involuntary commitments and report to NICS and county PD’s for permitting purposes. Privacy safeguards. SUPPORT with amendments.
SB2270 SD2 Allows neighbors to sue directly over zoning issues. Originally opposed because nuisance suits over firing ranges would be enabled, but Sen Hee’s JDL committee amended it to apply to vacation rentals only, so HRA has no opinion. WATCH
SB2420 SD1 Allows criminal background checks on state & co. employees in sensitive areas, including handling guns. SUPPORT
SB2938 SD2 Online firearms registration system to be established. Sen Espero’s Public Safety Committee amended this bill to require a system set up and managed by HI Attorney General. Passed Ways And Means Committee unanimously over PD’s objections. No AG testimony yet. STRONG SUPPORT
HB849 HD2 Re-do of the Governor’s emergency powers. Carryover bill from 2013. WATCH to make sure seizure of private firearms remains unlawful.
HB1975 HD1 Background checks on govt. employees handling firearms. SUPPORT. Same as SB2420.
HB1499 HD1 House JUD Chair Rhoads proposes a constitutional amendment that expending money to elect a public official is not protected by the 1st Amendment. Amended to eliminate “lobbying” as not protected. WATCH for language limiting grass roots lobbying.

These hunting bills are alive:

Bill number Description and HRA position
HB1902 HD2 Prohibits loss of public hunting area. Evans. FIN Chair Sylvia Luke recommended passage with amendments. Creates a hunters’ Advisory Commission to DLNR. DLNR shall make “reasonable efforts to prevent the loss….” Governor appoints 3 members. STRONG SUPPORT
HB1907 HD1 Disabled Veterans can get lifetime free hunting license, Evans, SUPPORT
SB3065 SD1 Exchange 9000 acres for recreational activity including hunting in Oahu central valley. Introduced by Sens. Dela Cruz, Chun Oakland, and 16 others. SUPPORT
SB3090 SD1 $3million for Hunter Ed and range development. Introduced by Sen. Kahele, and Solomon. SUPPORT


The Hawaii State Legislature ended on time for 2013 on May 2. Firearms rights advocates can take great pride that what started out as the worst year in Hawaii State history for 2nd Amendment supporters is ending positively. Terrible bills, including a ban on semi-auto look-a-likes with confiscation, an intrusive mental health bill creating a government list of persons unsuitable for firearms with a felony charge for mental health caregivers who fail to report a patient, gun buy-backs, biannual training for all gun owners, and old schemes resurrected like show registration of a firearm in the caliber you wish to purchase, and periodic re-registration.

SB 69, SD2, HD1, CD1 passed in the form supported by HRA, and opposed by NRA. HRA worked hard through five different committees to remove all references to gun buybacks, special mental health checks by the PD’s, and gun safety taught by the PD’s. The bill affects only individuals already required to register guns they bring in from out of state. Effective July 1, 2013, the county Police Departments will be required to use the National Instant Check System (NICS) on these registrants, a simple phone call to BATFE, plus fingerprint and photograph the registrant and collect the floating FBI fee for fingerprints, currently $16.50, one time only. The window for registering is increased to 3 days from 5. No appropriations are authorized. For the full bill language, go to:

HB 200, the State Budget, passed with funding intact for the world class PUUANAHULU SHOOTING RANGE FACILITY in Kailua-Kona.

Hawaii gun rights supporters worked together cohesively and gained respect with our State Legislators this year, a critical need in order to advance HRA’s long term goal of amending our State’s overly restrictive firearms statutes. We could have easily gone the other direction as did other states with liberal-controlled legislatures, like Connecticut and New York.

Give yourselves and our cooperative Legislators a big Mahalo and job well done. Stay active and vigilant. We have much to do before next year.

Dr. Max Cooper,
HRA Legislative Liaison


SB69, HD1 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Finance Committee this Thursday, March 28, 3:15pm, Rm 308, at the State Capitol. The present bill language affects persons bringing firearms into the state. Current statute already requires that all such firearms be registered within 3 days. The county police departments are already doing NICS checks (National Instant Check System) by phone to BATFE. They are also submitting fingerprints to the FBI, and charging new registrants the floating FBI fee for examining fingerprints, currently $16.50. This bill authorizes (requires) them to do so, provides an as yet unspecified amount of general funds to the counties for that purpose, and extends the window for registration from 3 to 5 days. If enacted, by the time this bill takes effect July 1, 2013, it is expected that the long registration lines at HPD and the other county PD’s will be back to the usual.

HRA supports the present draft, will insist that no unfriendly amendments be inserted into this last gun bill left this year, and ask the Finance committee, since this puts an additional burden on the county registration systems, to earmark appropriations for increasing firearms desk employees, locations, and hours. The number of firearms registered in Hawaii annually has increased by 370% over the last 13 years, with virtually no increase in system capacity.

HRA supports background checks because criminals try to register firearms.

The Hawaii State Attorney General’s annual report on firearms, released last week, shows that for 2012, 227 permits (1%) were denied for cause state-wide. Over 1/2 (127) of the denials were because applicants had prior criminal convictions and another 25 were due to pending criminal charges. The denial descriptions are listed on page 10 of the complete report,

People with significant criminal records were denied. Although it is a class C felony to lie on the signed affidavit about criminal or mental health background,157 of the denied applicants did so, yet few arrests are made.

Of the 50,394 firearms registered last year, nearly half, 23,548 (47%), not counting licensed dealer imports, were brought in from out of state.

Please go to for the actual current bill language and to e-mail testimony by 3:15pm Wed., March 28 (tomorrow).


Dr. Max Cooper
HRA Legislative Liaison