The Hawaii State Legislature opened January 21, 2015. Your NRA/ILA Liaison from Sacramento, Dan Reid, and your HRA Legislative Liaison, Dr. Max Cooper, met with 17 key individual Hawaii State Legislators the week before session, advising them on our issues and soliciting their support.
Thanks to several favorable court decisions, it’s a good year to pursue pro-gun legislation. State Legislators who support your rights have introduced several proactive bills. Opponents of our gun rights are busy, too. F-rated Karl Rhoads, House Judiciary Chair, has pared conservatives from his committee and is poised to hear and pass his anti-gun bills. Tell your boss you’re going to need some days off from now through April so you can testify in person at hearings. You’ll get notice of bills and hearings from HRA and NRA by e-mail, sometimes only 48 hours in advance. Follow the process for yourself by signing up for notices on bills at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/. HRA will post a list of bills when they are available later in January.
IF YOU’RE READY TO JOIN THE FRONT LINES IN THE FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS, HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Register to vote if you haven’t already. (Military or non-residents, skip this step and go to 2)
Your Legislators can easily check to verify you live in their district and are a registered voter. Their unwritten rules say they don’t have to talk to you if you are not voting constituents, and they are obligated to meet with you and listen if you are. Go to http://hawaii.gov/elections/voters/registration.htm to register.
2. Find out who are the Senator and the Representative for your area. Go to the Hawaii State Legislature Home Page http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/ and click on the upper right hand corner on “find your legislator” for their names and contact information. Send both your Senator and your Representative an e-mail, fax or letter like this:
Second Amendment issues are very important to me. I strongly urge you to put protection of gun rights high on your list of legislative priorities. I believe gun control is going to be a significant issue this session, and I want to meet with you, discuss my concerns and enlist your support. I will call your office to schedule an appointment.
3. You will probably be ignored! They get thousands of e-mails. So, after a day or two, phone, mention your earlier message, ask to speak to your Legislator or, if he or she is not available, talk to a staffer, and respectfully insist on an appointment.
4. Take a supportive pro-gun spouse, friend or relative from your district and a 1-page summary of your issues and concerns to meet your Legislator. Allow time to find parking. See the Talking Points article below. Be nice! Neighbor island supporters, no need to fly to Oahu! Your Legislators come home almost every weekend and during scheduled recesses. Some maintain offices in their districts. Make an appointment for when they are on-island. Invite them for coffee at a quiet cafe.
…can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin’ a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out? And friend, they may think it's a movement. Arlo Guthrie, Alice’s Restaurant, 1967.
Talking Points on Gun Control
Stuff you may want to share with family, friends, neighbors and your Legislators. Invite them to the range!
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
HRA encourages all interested and eligible individuals to apply for a concealed carry permit. On Oahu the process requires a trip to the HPD station and they will not let you take the documents out of the station. We believe this is illegal and are looking into the problem. But, in the mean time you can download these documents (you don't need to download the records release, or first two pages) and use them to make filling out the documents HPD gives you easier.
You will still need to bring in two passport photos to complete the process.