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Bill to buy unwanted guns allots $100,000 for program

By Anita Hofschneider

Associated Press


Hawaii lawmakers want to spend $100,000 to get unwanted guns off the streets, saying it will help the state avoid a mass shooting like those seen in Colo­rado and Connecticut last year.

A state Senate committee discussed a bill Thursday that would establish a gun buy-back program, offering cash to people willing to give up firearms.

Proponents say the program would decrease opportunities for gun violence. They say guns were used in 19 percent of murders statewide in 2011.

Hawaii Rifle Association President Harvey Gerwig said the organization is only marginally opposed to the initiative because it doesn't directly affect Second Amendment rights.

But Gerwig said the proposed program would waste money and could lead to the destruction of historic guns.

Similar programs in other states have unearthed unusual weapons, including a missile launcher in Seattle.

The state attorney general estimates that there are about 1 million guns in Hawaii.

The Senate public safety committee put off a decision on the bill until Thursday to give the attorney general time to propose amendments.

The rifle association has had success so far in stopping stricter gun measures from gaining traction in the Legislature. This week more than 400 people opposed a bill that would have made firearm instructors liable for accidents that happen during training.

The organization is using word of mouth, media and online efforts to encourage pro-gun efforts, Gerwig said, adding that the Legislature should instead focus on improving mental health.

Also on the legislative agenda this week:

» State representatives this morning will consider whether to require labeling for genetically engineered food and discuss initiatives related to taro and local farms. State senators plan to consider bills related to agriculture on Wednesday.

» The Senate is holding a briefing Tuesday to investigate why University of Hawaii tuition has been increasing and where the money goes.

» Senate committees today will discuss whether to allow industrial hemp research in Hawaii. The House Judiciary Committee plans to announce its decision Thursday on whether to move forward with a proposal to legalize marijuana.

» The Senate Committee on Energy and the Environment plans to discuss solar tax credits Tuesday afternoon, along with other renewable energy-related issues.

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sailfish1 wrote:
This is another waste of money by our Hawaii lawmakers. Does anyone really think that someone on Hawaii is going to turn in a working military style "assault" rifle for peanuts? Those arms are worth over $1,000 each when bought and is probably commanding double that now. This program will result in people selling their old rusted non-working junk guns to the State. I guess our lawmakers did not go to "preschool".
on February 4,2013 | 07:36AM
manakuke wrote:
Amazing how they can spend money they don't have.
on February 4,2013 | 07:36AM
cojef wrote:
"Shibai", political correctness is the name of the game. Keep your name in the limelight by capitalizing on tragic events with popular causes, and in a sense disrepecting the 2nd Amendments rights of gun owners. The buy-back program is truly as waste of taxpyer monies in that majority of weapon exchanged for cash will be unuseable and relics from the past which has no direct bearing with their stated goals against assault rifles which was used in the tragic shooting of school children and school officials. Anyone can see the sham in this case.
on February 4,2013 | 08:40AM
paradiddle wrote:
It would make better sense to use "forteiture money" (i.e. drug money) for a program like this and restrict the guns to only those that are operable and/or un-registered and not included BB guns, air rifles, paint ball guns etc. We must also take into consideration the following:: A 2004 report released by the National Academies of Sciences called the premise for gun buyback programs “flawed". “The guns typically surrendered in gun buy-backs are those that are least likely to be used in criminal activities,” the report says. “Old, malfunctioning guns whose resale value is less than the reward offered in buy-back programs or guns owned by individuals who derive little value from the possession of guns (e.g. those who have inherited guns).”
on February 4,2013 | 10:12AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
What works is raiding drug houses and confiscating the weapons held by criminals. $100,000 spent on that might be worth while. Of course it would upset the critical click it or ticket schedule.
on February 4,2013 | 11:24AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Not content with wasting tax money our legislators now just want to throw it away n programs proven to have no impact on gun violence.
on February 4,2013 | 11:22AM
wiremechanic wrote:
the weapons they are trying to get, "assault weapons" are selling for 3500 for top makes, are they going to pay what the rifles are worth? NO.
on February 4,2013 | 01:30PM
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