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HRA LEGISLATIVE REPORT, SB69

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, http://ag.hawaii.gov/cpja/files/2013/03/Firearm-Registrations-2012.pdf

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 http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=69&year=2013 for the actual current bill language and to e-mail testimony by 3:15pm Wed., March 28 (tomorrow).

Mahalo,

Dr. Max Cooper
HRA Legislative Liaison

UN Arms Treaty Vote

The U.S. Senate took a role call vote on an amendment to the federal budget (S.Amdt. 139 to S.Con.Res. 8) to uphold Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. The amendment passed, 53 Yea to 46 Nay. Not surprisingly, Hawaii’s senior Senator, Brian Schatz, and Sen. Maizie Hirono voted Nay, supporting the Treaty.

It’s very nice when they give us a distinguishing vote like that.

Schatz first revealed himself to HRA years ago when he stepped out of his Hawaii State Representative (1998-2006) role to offer personal testimony against an appropriations bill for development of the public range in Kailua-Kona. He styled himself then as an “environmentalist hunter,” and still represents himself today as a supporter of the 2nd Amendment. HRA has never supported him since. This latest vote just confirms what we already knew about him and Maizie Hirono. He served as Hawaii State Campaign Chair for Pres. Obama’s re-election, so it’s not a surprise that he supports the President’s desire to advance gun control for the U.S. through a UN Arms Treaty.

He’ll have an interesting challenge for re-election, November 4, 2014. Ed Case, State Sen. Will Espero, Colleen Hanabusa, Ester Kia’aina (Deputy Director DLNR), are potential Dem. opponents with Charles Djou and Lingle on the Republican ticket.

Mahalo to HRA member Vernon Okamura for first calling this to attention.

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=113&session=1&vote=00091

HRA LEGISLATIVE ALERT, March 25, 2013

Puuanahulu Shooting Range

Governor Abercrombie, in his budget sent to the Legislature for 2013-2015, has listed a $3.25 million budget item to plan, design, construct and equip a new shooting range in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources in February 2007 and advanced again by Governor Lingle’s “Recreational Renaissance” but never funded, the proposal involves general-purpose rifle, pistol, 3-D bow hunting and archery ranges and a sporting clays course initially and then a 1,000-yard rifle, 100-yard airgun, action pistol, and pistol, rifle and trap and skeet ranges, an education center, rest rooms, picnic areas and parking. A world-class shooting complex. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has already committed $305,000. The site, a square mile of land within the Pu’uanahulu Game Management area, immune from encroachment, is near the Kona hotels. This budget item has already passed the House and has crossed to the Senate. If the Senate approves, it stays in the budget.

Please send this kind of message to the Senate Ways and Means Committee Leaders and Members that in support of this range. Contact these friendly Senators at their office e-mails:

sendige@capitol.hawaii.gov, senkidani@capitol.hawaii.gov, senthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov, senruderman@capitol.hawaii.gov, senkahele@capitol.hawaii.gov, sendelacruz@capitol.hawaii.gov, senenglish@capitol.hawaii.gov, sentokuda@capitol.hawaii.com, senslom@capitol.hawaii.gov, senkeithagaran@capitol.hawaii.gov, senkouchi@capitol.hawaii.gov

Subject: Pu’uananhulu Range

Hon. Senators on Senate Ways and Means, Chair, David Y. Ige, Vice Chair; Michelle Kidani; Members Donovan Dela Cruz, J.Kalani English, Gilbert Kahele, Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Ronald D. Kouchi, Russell Ruderman, Laura Thielen, Jill Tokuda, and Sam Slom,

Please support this line item in the budget:
3. D01G PUUANAHULU SHOOTING RANGE FACILITY, HAWAII. PLANS, DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION FOR THE PUUANAHULU SHOOTING RANGE FACILITY. THIS PROJECT IS DEEMED NECESSARY TO QUALIFY FOR FEDERAL AID FINANCING AND/OR REIMBURSING.

FY13 FY14
PLANS 100
DESIGN 150
CONSTRUCTION 2,750 10,000
TOTAL FUNDING LNR 750 C 2,500 C
LNR 2,250 N 7,500 N

The March 2013 Hawaii Attorney General’s report shows that gun ownership in our Islands has surged over the last 12 years. Range development is non-existent during that same period. There are presently no public rifle and pistol ranges on our largest Island. The number of permits processed in Hawaii County alone climbed by 339% during that period, registrations 349%, and imported firearms 425%.

The proposed range complex for Kailua-Kona can draw large national mainland shooting groups for rifle, pistol, shotgun, cowboy action, and handgun competitions during the winter months when their ranges on the mainland are covered with snow and ice. There is no range in the State that can accommodate this level of shooting sports.

Thank you for your consideration on this budget item.

Signed________________

HRA HEARING ALERT, SB69, SD2

SB69, now metamorphosed into its second Hawaii Senate draft, has passed the Senate and is scheduled for its first of three committee hearings in the House, 9:30 am March 14, 2013, in the House Public Safety Committee (PBS), Chaired by Rep. Henry Aquino.

PBS is a friendly committee, so HRA advises large numbers of testifiers are not needed.  HRA supports it but does recommend an amendment.  NRA however opposes it and has advised its members to send testimony in opposition.

The bill, authored by Sen. WILL ESPERO and his anti-gun colleagues SENS. BAKER, GALUTERIA, and GREEN  in the Senate Public Safety Committee started out as a terribly anti-gun bill.  The Senate Ways and Means Committee adopted recommendations favorable to law-abiding HI gun owners by Chair David Ige, and gutted the anti-gun provisions.  They approved language authorizing the county police to do telephonic (NICS National Instant Check System) checks on owners bringing in guns from out of state, and charge the floating fingerprint fee, currently $16.50, which the PD’s pass on from FBI.  The 3-day window for registering is increased to 5 days, compatible with in-state acquisition.  The county PD’s are already doing NICS checks on bring-in firearms, and universal registration is existing state law.  HRA supports instant background checks.  Some felons actually try to register guns.  The current bill language overlooks HRA’s previous testimony and still says the Chief of Police “may” waive the fingerprinting for registrants with prints on file.  HRA will ask for an amendment removing any discretion.  Fingerprints don’t change.  The fee should be one time only.

There is a risk to passing an amended bill.  It will go to two more committees in the House, including anti-gun Rep. Karl Rhoads’ Judiciary Committee, and Finance, leaving opportunity to add anti-gun amendments.  It is the only gun bill left alive this session as a vehicle for anti-gun provisions.  If it passes the House, it will go to conference committee where Senate and House committee Chairs bargain over its provisions.  Sen Will Espero has already announced that he hopes to add his versions of restrictive gun control back into it.  HRA will ask supportive Legislators to kill the bill if that develops.

Go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=69&year=2013 for bill history, language, and to submit testimony (or fax it to the PBS committee at 808 586-8529) before 9:30 am, Wed. Mar. 13.

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!  Dead bills can be resurrected and all bills introduced this year are alive next year.

Dr Maxwell Cooper
HRA Legislative Liaison