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Well-organized gun lobby is poised to fight restrictions, lawmaker says

By Anita Hofschneider

Associated Press


Hawaii gun enthusiasts are organizing to stop gun control bills from gaining any traction at the state Legislature.

Hawaii Rifle Association President Harvey Gerwig said Wednesday that more than 400 people successfully opposed a bill that would have made firearm instructors liable for accidents that occur during training.

Rep. Karl Rhoads, a Democrat who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee and supported the bill, says he wasn’t swayed by the crowd of opposition.

“In the aftermath of Newtown, I don’t think it’s responsible not to do something,” Rhoads said, referring to the Connecticut town where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed in a Dec. 20 shooting rampage.

Rhoads recommended that the committee pass the bill but the committee voted not to approve it. 

Rhoads said he doubts the chances of similar measures this session after seeing the gun lobby’s effective opposition to what he calls “a really minor bill.”

Gerwig said the organization is continuing to mobilize community members through media, word-of-mouth and online efforts to ensure pro-gun voices are heard.

He called several of the proposed gun control measures “crazy” and says that they would have no effect on curbing gun violence.

“Gun bans don’t work,” Gerwig said.

He said the Legislature should instead focus on improving mental health.

House Majority Leader Rep. Scott Saiki, who introduced the bill relating to firearm instructors’ liability, said mental health problems can contribute to violence but that access to weapons is a serious public safety issue.

Saiki says he is supporting other measures to ban assault weapons and to require people who are buying ammunition to show proof of gun registration.

Gerwig called the assault weapons proposal “an absolute travesty.”

He says that and other similar proposals impede on Hawaii residents’ constitutional rights.

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loquaciousone wrote:
I believe that Hawaii already has adequate gun controls and as they say, "if it's not broken, don't fix it". Hawaii already has a magazine round limit (I believe it's nine rounds) and under that regulation assault weapons just become another semi-automatic weapon.
on January 31,2013 | 07:06AM
control wrote:
CDL drivers have to jump thru all kinds of hoops and pass all kinds of tests in order to drive on our road ways. Gun owners ought to be required to go thru a similar process. Gun permits should be renewable and issued for each weapon owned - they should have to pass a written test and field/target test skills test. it should require require a medical clearance with each renewal. Gun collectors, sellers, enthusiasts, hunters should have to take and pass extra tests if they own more than a certain number of weapons or specialized weapons..
on January 31,2013 | 07:22AM
Dolphin743 wrote:
Control, you are truly aptly named. "All kinds of tests" for drivers? I remember one written and one driving test for a lifetime, and statistically you're much more likely to kill someone with a car than a gun. I think we should all have to get certified annually to drive and be retested on each new car we buy, and those tests should include medical certifications. If you don't like the second amendment, then get it revised with a constitutional amendment. Otherwise, respect the "shall not be infringed" part of the constitution.
on January 31,2013 | 08:13AM
control wrote:
You need to learn how to read. A commercial driver (CDL) can be required to take a one or more of the following tests depending upon what class they are applying for: general knowledge test, tests for air breaks, passenger, combonation vehicles, doubles/triples, tanker, hazmat, school bus, pre-trip, basic control test, and lastly a road test. And if statistically more people are likely to die from a car then that kind of negates the excuse that gun supporters use who say they need it for protection. As others have said before, freedom of speech doesn't mean you can yell 'fire' in a crowded room. There can and are boundries and limits, even to the constitution. Stop pretending otherwise.
on January 31,2013 | 01:55PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
The latest silliness is the bill introduced by Brickwood, Josh Green, Willie Espero and others to appropriate $100,000 of tax money to do a gun buy back program. I mean, it has been shown over and again that these do not work. Why? Because criminals and crazies do not bring in guns to the police. Dud, duh, duh. Instead, it's "free" money for folks to get rid of obsolete junk that was never going to be involved in an illegal activity anyway.

But, hey, it feels good and any opportunity to spend tax money cannot be passed by.

on January 31,2013 | 08:41AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Hey I have a few bus up guns I can trade for beer money.
on January 31,2013 | 01:06PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
In that case, sir, you are the exact customer of the buyback program. Trade in the junks for green bottles. No problem with that but we never figgered you was gonna go postal and shoot things up anyway so the money for your green bottles did not exactly reduce gun violence.
on January 31,2013 | 02:52PM
control wrote:
Have yet to hear any plan from the NRA addressing the issues of guns in the wrong hands. They are a major player along with gun manufactures but pretend otherwise. Always someone elses job, someone elses responsibility. Time to get off the fence and man up. If you aren't part of the solution, then you are the problem.
on January 31,2013 | 01:59PM
speed808 wrote:
The assault weapons ban was in place during the 1999 Xerox shootings. Did the assault weapons ban work? No, not is this case. Hawaii already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. IMO, if we made Hawaii gun laws Nationwide, that would make the biggest difference.
on January 31,2013 | 08:52AM
Tanuki wrote:
Interesting comments on both sides. Let's expand this a little and speak to the rights of countries to own and develop nuclear or other WMDs. Forget the U.S. Constitution, if we are using logic and reason, why shouldn't any country - Iran, North Korea - be able to posess WMDs and missile delivery systems? Now shrink this back to your neighborhood. Why shouldn't anyone, including your neighbors, be able to posess not only firearms of all types but rockets and cannon (and even WMDs) and point them at your house? Just asking.
on January 31,2013 | 09:33AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Tanuki wrote: "Forget the U.S. Constitution,..."

No, I think I'll keep it, thanks.
on January 31,2013 | 07:23PM
yhls wrote:
Editors at the Star-Bulletin removed my earlier comment. What, readers aren't allowed to criticize stupid politicians creating stupid laws for political fame and glory? How about criticizing stupid editors who support more gun legislation that only affects law-abiding citizens? Is that allowed? We'll see.
on January 31,2013 | 11:21AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Your comment has been sent for approval.
on January 31,2013 | 01:07PM
Tanuki wrote:
Before you get all bent out of shape please note that your comments were not removed. That was on the article posted on another location. I was also puzzled for a while but I found it. So you see although you would sometimes like to believe that there is a comspiracy and politicians are "stupid" sometimes you are wrong too. We all make mistakes but try to restrain from lashing out before you have all of the facts. Otherwise you end up the fool. OK now that you are embarassed you can act immature and call me names to try to save face.
on January 31,2013 | 01:29PM
konag43 wrote:
there is no real reason in this day and age to sell assualt weapons or guns in general . we cannot control mental health but we can control the sale of guns. who is more important here inocent lives taken by unhealty minds or the sale of guns.
on January 31,2013 | 01:27PM
Dolphin743 wrote:
We can't control crazy people, but we can control the heck out of those who obey the laws. Wow. You would inspire Stalin.
on January 31,2013 | 01:49PM
control wrote:
Sadly the money issue is more important to the gun supporters. We also need to stop fixating on the mentally ill. Mentally ill is not the same as insane. Wholly sane people kill with guns for various reasons. Just look at gang violence, domestic violence, people with control/anger issues.
on January 31,2013 | 02:06PM
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