The HI State Legislature 2015 Session adjourned on time May 7, with a flurry of gun bill activity over the “Deedy” bill, HB888, providing for a petty misdemeanor for recklessly possessing a loaded firearm while intoxicated. Supportive State Representatives and gun rights supporters were alarmed over the amendments in the conference draft (CD1), published 10 days before the end of the session and long after any public testimony was taken. The final draft included possession in the home, prescription drug use, and deleted that the firearm must be discharged, making it just too easy for an improper charge to be brought against an innocent gun owner, with the potential for loss of gun rights if convicted.
Our friends in the House advised that 26 Representatives (a majority by 1 vote) indicated they would vote “no” on a floor vote, so the bill was unanimously re-referred. That means “sent back to committee,” so IT’S NOT OVER! The bill remains alive for 2016. F-rated House judiciary committee Chair Rhoads and his Senate counterpart, Keith-Agaran very likely will want to pass it next year. Their constituents need to contact and educate them in the interim.
The following 19 House Democrats submitted notice they would vote “no” on HB888: Aquino, Choy, Cullen, DeCoite, Har, Hashem, Ichiyama, Ito, Jordan, Kawakami, Kong, McKelvey, Onishi, Oshiro, Say, Tokioka, Tsuji, Yamane, and Yamashita.
All 7 House Republicans indicated “no” votes: Chang, Matsumoto, McDermott, Pouha, C. Thielen, Tupola, and Ward.
PLEASE THANK THEM ALL now and remember them in the 2016 elections. All Hawaii Representatives and half of the Senate are up for re-election next year.
Mahalo to the hundreds of pro-gun supporters who spread the word and contacted their individual Legislators, asking them to kill the bill. Many thanks especially for the alerts by state Clubs and Associations individual members, pro-2nd Amendment news sources, NRA/ILA Rep. for HI (Dan Reid), and HRA Regional VP for Maui, Mark Genovese, (who got the word out to Maui supporters to make House Speaker Joe Souki of Wailuku aware of the problems with the bill).
Dr. Maxwell Cooper
HRA Legislative Liaison
HB888, creating a petty misdemeanor for recklessly possessing a loaded firearm when intoxicated, including in your own home, is passing.
If you come home from a party after drinking, or you are on narcotics recovering from surgery, and go to bed with your loaded self defense gun in a bedside drawer or lockbox, you could be charged. If you are having a beer and cleaning your gun in your carport after a range session and then reloading it because it's your self defense gun, anyone who saw you could initiate a police investigation.
An anti-gun Prosecutor or Judge could consider the charge a "violent" misdemeanor and if convicted, you would lose all your guns and your gun rights.
F-rated House Judiciary Chair Karl Rhoads got the Senate to agree to his language, deleting "in public", and "discharge" from the Senate version, after 3 conference committees at which no public testimony is taken.
The bill will come up for a final vote in the House and Senate early next week. E-MAIL OR FAX YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATOR NOW, ASKING THEM TO VOTE "NO" ON HB888! ASK THEM TO TELL THE HOUSE SPEAKER, JOE SOUKI, AND THE SENATE PRESIDENT, DONNA KIM, TO "RE-COMMIT" THE BILL TO COMMITTEE SO PUBLIC TESTIMONY WILL BE HEARD ON THE BILL NEXT YEAR.
YOU LEGISLATORS GET HUNDREDS OF E-MAILS, SO PHONE DURING BUSINESS HOURS TO FOLLOW UP. ASK TO SPEAK TO YOUR LEGISLATOR.
GO TO www.capitol.hawaii.gov AND CLICK ON "Find Your Legislator" in the upper left corner of the home page for their contact information.
Dr. Maxwell Cooper,
HRA Legislative Liaison