[JURIST] Hawaii Governor David Ige [official website] signed a bill [press release] Thursday requiring gun owners to be listed on an FBI database, notifying police if a Hawaii citizen is arrested in another state. The legislation, SB 2954 [materials], serves to provide a continuous criminal record check on those individuals seeking to possess a firearm. According to Ige, the purpose of the bill is to “evaluate whether the firearm owner may continue to legally possess firearms,” and he hopes that the so-called “Rap Back” system will “better enable [Hawaii’s] law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai’i residents and visitors,” to Hawaii. The governor also signed two other bills, one that lists harassment by stalking and sexual assault as offenses that disqualify one from purchasing and keeping a firearm, and another that requires owners deemed unqualified due to “behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, or emergency or involuntary hospitalization to a psychiatric facility” to surrender their firearms and ammunition to the Chief of Police. Hawaii is the first state to sign such a system into a centralized information system into law.
Gun control [JURIST backgrounder] and the Second Amendment continue to be controversial national topics, and gun awareness has risen in the wake of recent shootings across the nation. Last month the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the Second Amendment protects the right to buy and sell guns [JURIST report]. In February the US Supreme Court heard arguments [JURIST report] in a case addressing firearm possession for people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors. In January US President Barack Obama announced executive actions on gun control [JURIST report]. In November an appellate court in Wisconsin ruled that a state law that prohibits possession of certain knives [JURIST report] violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms.