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Willes K. Lee Makes History as First Hawaii Nominee to NRA Board

 GUN RIGHTS ADVOCATE WILLES K. LEE MAKES HISTORY AS

FIRST NOMINEE TO NRA BOARD OF DIRECTORS FROM HAWAII

Following HIRA National Director Willes Lee’s election as Executive Vice President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA), Lee puts Hawaii on the map yet again.

A Life member of the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) and member of the Hawaii Rifle Association (HRA), Willes K. Lee makes history as the first from Hawaii nominated to serve on the NRA’s Board of Directors.  The NRA Board and leadership, including President Allan Cors and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, oversees the NRA’s overall direction.

Lee was informed that he is “nominated by the National Rifle Association’s Nominating Committee for election to the NRA Board of Directors,” based on his exemplary work as a tireless protector of 2nd Amendment rights in Hawaii and across the nation.  “I am honored and humbled to be nominated.  I will continue the valuable tradition of the NRA and will continue to elect legislators to secure our Second Amendment rights,” Lee stated.

The married father of two daughters, Lee is a retired U.S. Army officer having served our nation for twenty-two years as an Airborne-Ranger Armor officer following his graduation from West Point.  Lee’s service included five years with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon.  He is a recipient of the Defense Superior Service Medal for contributions to national operations, the Bronze Star Medal for Desert Storm combat performance with the 24th Infantry Division, and the Legion of Merit for combating terrorism in Europe.

Willes Lee

Lee’s commitment to gun rights is unrivaled in the islands and his activism nationally displays his worthiness as a national candidate to the NRA board. Presently, Lee serves on the NRA’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.  He supports three NRA charitable organizations:  the NRA Foundation, Civil Rights Defense Fund and Special Contribution Fund.  Previously, Lee served on the NRA’s Urban Affairs Committee, charged with increasing NRA membership among minorities.  Lee is also a member of the Second Amendment Foundation which provides valuable 2nd Amendment education while participating in gun rights litigation.

For many years, Lee has worked closely with the Hawaii Rifle Association to protect member rights, fight anti-gun bills and help passage of pro-gun legislation.  In pursuit of these goals, Lee has worked to elect pro-gun legislators and participated in range visits by state and local government officials.

Over the years, Lee has worked with Hawaii’s gun community to promote the shooting sports and to strengthen the youth shooting opportunities.  Indeed, Lee has been fully responsible for Hawaii visits by NRA Presidents David Keane and Jim Porter to headline Hawaii events, including our FNRA Banquets which support and enhance youth shooting sports education.

In presenting the endorsements of the Hawaii Rifle Association and the Hawaii Friends of NRA, HRA President Harvey F. Gerwig called Lee “a man who will energetically and enthusiastically represent the NRA and it’s goals to the fullest of his abilities.”   FNRA’s Dawn Horn writes Willes is “a personal example of the highest standards of individual character and conduct.”

If elected to the NRA board, the wide-ranging wealth of experience Lee brings to the table is formidable.  Lee’s primary focus is on political action from coast to coast; through the election of pro-gun candidates at all levels of government, while working to defeat local, state and national anti-gun legislation. Recent campaigns brought Lee to Virginia, New Mexico, Delaware and home to Hawaii.

Lee’s past roles as a member of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and as Chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party make him comfortable and adept at working in political circles to advance the interests of gun owners while fighting legislative attempts to undermine our rights.

Presently, Lee advocates 2nd Amendment rights as Executive Vice President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA), National Director of the Hawaii Republican Assembly (HIRA), and on the board of directors for the American Conservative Union (ACU) Foundation which hosts the annual, high profile CPAC conferences.

The election is next spring through ballots sent by the NRA to life members and consecutive five-year members.  If elected to fill one of the open 25 seats, Lee will serve with 75 others on the national board.  Only 31 nominees nationally were selected from among 60 highly qualified prospects, of which 54 were eligible Life members.  Among the nominees are the current incumbents including Oliver North, Ted Nugent, Karl Malone and former NRA Presidents Sandy Froman, David Keene and Jim Porter.

Willes K. Lee is grateful for the support and the endorsements of HRA and HFNRA.  He looks forward to supporting the NRA’s advocacy of our constitutional right to bear arms throughout all fifty states.

Willes Lee with former NRA President David Keene

 Willes Lee with NRA’s Wayne LaPierre

URGENT! HRA Alert: Range Protection Bill Dying

SB955 RELATING TO SHOOTING RANGE PROTECTION, is dead for the year unless Senate Judiciary Chair, Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran, schedules it by 9:15am Monday, March 2nd, for a hearing 9:15am on March 4th.

Please e-mail or fax Chair Keith-Agaran and follow up with a phone call early Monday morning to very politely ask him to please hear this bill to protect the only public shooting range on Oahu and other ranges throughout the State from nuisance lawsuits.  Government and private security companies need ranges as well as civilians.

 Chair, Senate JDL, Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran

 Senate District 5

 Hawaii State Capitol, Room 221

 phone: 808-586-7344

 fax: 808-586-7348

 senkeithagaran@capitol.hawaii.gov

Mahalo,

Dr. Maxwell Cooper,

HRA Legislative Liaison

macooper.1941@gmail.com

808-225-6944

HRA LEGISLATIVE ALERT, June 1, 2013

ATTN Oahu firearms rights supporters:

Honolulu City Council Resolution13-74 CD1, Requesting HPD to open additional firearms sections in Kapolei and Kaneohe is amended, adding a clause to direct the Administration to form an advisory group to address the issue. At the Public Safety Committee hearing, Councilmember Kymberley Marcos Pine, co-introducer, stressed the importance of including representatives from HRA in the proposed working group.

The Resolution is moving through the Council, and is scheduled for a final hearing Wednesday, 10am, June 5, 2013. Please e-mail or fax testimony in support, and attend the hearing to deliver it if you can.

Just click on the hearing notice below and follow the directions to send a line or two in support and why.

http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-138441/060513%20Council%20Agenda.htm

Mahalo,
Dr. Max Cooper,
HRA Legislative Liaison

HRA LEGISLATIVE REPORT, 2/28/2013

The Senate Ways And Means money committee (WAM) gave decision and took a vote to pass SB69, SD1, which started out as a gun buyback bill, but ended up stuffed with other issues by Sen.Will Espero’s Public Safety Committee.  We haven’t seen the actual Senate Draft 2 (SD2) yet, but Chair David Ige announced his recommendations, removing reference to gun buybacks, mental health background checks, and police gun safety programs from the bill.  The $200,000 earmarked appropriation for these is deleted, but a blank line for an appropriation to the county police was left in the bill for further discussion.  The bill will authorize the county police to do NICS (National Instant Checks System) checks (supported by HRA) on firearms owners who are already required to register firearms they bring in from out of state, and collect the FBI fee for fingerprints if the registrant has none on file.  The 3-day window to register guns brought in is increased to 5 days, compatible with the registration requirement for guns acquired in state, and allowing for 3-day weekends. Sen. Sam Slom voted “no” as did WAM Vice-Chair, Senator Michelle Kidani, who said the counties should fund their own county police programs. Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland expressed her concern about the Chair’s recommendation to extend the registration window.  Go to: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=69&year=2013 in a few days, when the clerks catch up, for the actual SD2 language crossing over to the House where the whole process repeats.

 

HB603, amending the Hawaii self-defense statutes, was heard yesterday in House Judiciary Committee.  Although this complicated section of Hawaii statute could be improved, HRA believes the current statute, only recently passed in 2010, is sufficient, and the legislative climate this year is too volatile, so recommended in testimony that the bill bedeferred indefinitely (dead for the year).  Chair Rhoads announced that as his intention.  There will be no HB1 draft generated.

 

The Legislature is at its half-way point March 7, 2013.  The worst gun bills are already dead for the year.  A big mahalo to all you activists who support our gun rights during this difficult legislative session.  Don’t let up before it’s over, May 2!

 

Dr Maxwell Cooper

HRA Legislative Liaison

HRA LEGISLATIVE REPORT, March, 2013

Hawaii State Legislature and Firearms Bills:   In football terms we’re in the second quarter with points on the scoreboard, thanks mostly to good defense.  Some of the worst bills are out of the game, for now anyway.  Now it’s time to put our best offense into play:

NOW IS THE TIME TO GO PROACTIVE, (WHILE STILL MAINTAINING A GOOD DEFENSE OF OUR RIGHTS):  

The Legislature goes into a mandatory 5-day recess Feb 21 through Feb 26.  Neither the House or Senate convenes, although hearings may be scheduled.  The offices and staffs stay open to catch up, but many of the Neighbor Island Legislators take time to fly home for a few days.  If you are a registered voter on any Island, (they know), please make a phone call this week to your own Senator and Representative and ask for an appointment to meet with them during the recess, or whenever, to discuss gun control, your views and theirs.  This is grass roots lobbying, and it’s what we do best.

Be politely insistent that this is very important to you as a constituent.  Your Legislator’s staff will place your message before your Representative and Senator.  If you do not hear back in 2-3 days (you probably won’t), call back and say you haven’t had a response yet.  It is understood that every Legislator is expected to represent his or her constituency, and to do so they must open their offices and their schedules to hear you.  Some Neighbor Island first-year Legislators may not have a district office yet, but your Legislators should be willing to meet you in their offices or a public place like a restaurant or coffee shop for a chat. Take a friend or relative along.  

Not registered to vote?  There is still time.  Go to http://hawaii.gov/elections/forms/voter_pab_application_english.pdf  or call 808 453-VOTE or for Neighbor Islands 800 442-VOTE (8683) and ask that a voter registration form be mailed to you.  

Don’t know who your Legislators are or how to call them?  Go to the Legislature home page, http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/ and click on the “Find Your Legislator” box in the upper right corner.  Then go back to the home page, click on “Senate” or “House,” and  then “Senators” or “Representatives” to find their web pages with all their contact information.  Or call the Senate Clerk at 808 586-6720 or House Clerk, 808 586-6400 and get a phone or fax number for your Legislator.    

Don’t know quite what to say?  Politely expressing your personal feelings is best.  HRA will have talking points on the issues on the web site,  http://www.hawaiirifleassociation.org/ or by request at 808 225-6944.

Mahalo, 

Dr. Maxwell Cooper,
HRA Legislative Liaison

HRA LEGISLATIVE REPORT, SB932, Mental Health

SB932, Mental Health, was heard 2/8/13 at 1:35pm in a combined hearing of the Senate Health and Public Safety Committees.  The bill would require mental health caregivers to report patients involuntarily hospitalized for “serious” mental illness or any patient who indicated plans to use a dangerous implement against a named person.  Failure to report would be a felony.  Protection of confidential patient-doctor communication and records would be abolished.  Firearms would be immediately seized.  A list would be kept by government, and everyone on it would be denied a firearm permit . Those on the list would have to prove they have no mental illness to get off it.

The bill was introduced by Health Chair Sen. Josh Green, a Family Practice physician himself, so Committee support for the bill was expected.  Questions and comments by Public Safety (PSM) Committee Chair, Sen. Will Espero during the hearing indicated he also wanted to pass something.

There was no testimony in support and over 125 in opposition.  Even the Attorney General’s representative, the Health Department, and The Department of Public Safety couldn’t say much nice about the bill.  Like HRA, Mental Health of America, and much of the other testimony in opposition, they agreed the intent was good, reduce violence with dangerous implements, but the bill was unsupportable.  To view the on-time testimony, go to: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2013/Testimony/SB932_TESTIMONY_HTH-PSM_02-08-13.pdf

Faced with no support, the Health Chair, Senator Green, indicated he and his colleagues intend to amend the bill to establish a working group of representatives from gun rights supporters, law enforcement, attorneys, the Department of Health, physicians, and possibly firearms dealers to make recommendations.  Normally these groups meet between Legislature sessions and report back next year.

The Committee will formally announce a decision and take a vote at their hearing Tuesday, 02/11/13, 2:30PM in conference room 229.  No testimony is taken.  You can view the actual result when a Committee Report and a new draft of the bill with the amendments is posted online.  Check the bill history page, maybe by Friday, 2/15, for a Committee Report and a SB932-SD1 (Senate Draft 1):   http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=932&year=2013

Once again, good things happened for gun right supporters because many supporters from all corners of the community sent good testimony, and an impressive number showed up to sit across the conference table from their Senators to explain why this bill was so terrible.

NOW IS THE TIME TO GO PROACTIVE, (WHILE STILL MAINTAINING A GOOD DEFENSE OF OUR RIGHTS):

 

The Legislature goes into a mandatory 5-day recess Feb 21 through Feb 26.  Neither the House or Senate convenes although hearings may be scheduled.  The offices and staffs stay open to catch up, but many of the Neighbor Island Legislators take time to fly home for a few days.  If you are a registered voter on any Island, (they know), please make a phone call this week to your own Senator and Representative and ask for an appointment to meet with them during the recess, or whenever, to discuss gun control, your views and theirs.  Be politely insistent that this is very important to you as a constituent.  Their staffs will place your message before your Representative and Senator.  If you do not hear back in 2-3 days (you may well not), call back.  It is understood that every Legislator is expected to represent his or her constituency, and to do so they must open their offices and their schedules to hear you.  Some Neighbor Island first-year Legislators may not have a district office yet, but your Legislators should be willing to meet you in their offices or a public place like a restaurant or coffee shop for a chat. Take a friend or relative along.  

Not registered to vote?  There is still time.  Go to http://hawaii.gov/elections/forms/voter_pab_application_english.pdf  or call 808 453-VOTE or for Neighbor Islands 800 442-VOTE (8683) and ask that a copy be mailed to you.  
or call 
Don’t know who your Legislators are or how to call them?  Go to the Legislature home page, http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/ and click on the “Find Your Legislator” box in the upper right corner.  Then go back to the home page, click on “Senate” or “House,” and  then “Senators” or “Representatives” to find their web pages with all their contact information.  Or call the Senate Clerk at 808 586-6720 or House Clerk, 808 586-6400.

Don’t know quite what to say?  Politely expressing your personal feelings is best.  HRA will have talking points on the issues on the web site http://www.hawaiirifleassociation.org/ or by request at 808 225-6944.


Mahalo,
Dr. Maxwell Cooper,
HRA Legislative Liaison

House Bill 426

WE WON!

House Bill 426, repealing the limited civil immunity for NRA Instructors, died in the House Judiciary Committee (JUD) yesterday.  

The bill, introduced on behalf of the personal injury lawyers in the State by Rep. Scott Saiki ( McCully, Kaheka, Kakaako, Downtown), a personal injury lawyer himself, was given a public hearing yesterday afternoon.  Over 360 pieces of testimony were received against the bill.  Only one person testified in favor, the representative of the personal injury lawyer’s association.  360/1 is unheard of.  Dozens of gun rights supporters took off time from work, braved the traffic and parking, and met their Representatives across the conference table to testify in person in opposition during the two-hour hearing on the bill.  

JUD Chair, F-rated Karl Rhoads (Kalihi, Palama, Iwilei, Chinatown), still recommended passage of the bill with 3 separate amendments, in spite of the overwhelming testimony against the bill, the fact that the very limited immunity provided Instructors only passed last year, and the manner in which the referral went straight to the JUD Committee only.  Normal procedure was subverted by House Leadership liberal dissidents, bypassing the Public Safety Committee, and leaving only one chance to kill the bill in the House.  

When JUD Chair Rhoads announced his recommendation to pass the bill to the rest of the Committee there was strong opposition voiced from Vice Chair Sharon Har, and Members Ken Ito, Clift Tsugi, CynthiaThielen, and Bob McDermott.  Then the role call vote was taken:

Chair Rep. Karl Rhoads… aye
Vice Chair Rep. Sharon Har… no
Rep. Della Au Belatti…aye, with reservations (expresses some concerns, but still a yes)
Rep. Tom Brower…aye, with reservations
Rep. Rida Cabanilla…excused
Rep. Mele Carroll…excused
Rep. Ken Ito…no
Rep. Derek Kawakami…no
Rep. Chris Lee…aye
Rep. Clift Tsuji…no
Rep. Jessica Wooley…aye
Rep. Bob McDermott…no
Rep. Cynthia Thielen…no

5 ayes, 6 no’s

Vice Chair Har announced the bill failed, overriding the Chair’s recommendation, a very rare occurrence in the Hawaii State Legislature.

There is no similar bill in the Senate, so, barring resuscitation efforts using legislative manipulation, HB 426 is dead for the year.  

We won because of very supportive Legislators on the committee, especially Reps. Ken Ito and Sharon Har, and all of the committee members who voted no.  A big MAHALO to them all and their staffs!

And we won because hundreds of men and women, from all corners of the of the firearms community, joined together, stood up for their rights, and supported proper gun safety instruction without fear of unwarranted lawsuits. Give yourself a big Mahalo!

Adjournment of the Legislature May 3, 2013 is a long way off, with many terrible bills left to deal with this year, but this is a very good start, and a strong message to the Legislature.  

Aloha,

Dr. Max Cooper
HRA Legislative Liaison