Gun rights advocates rally at the state Capitol
Opponents of new and more restrictive firearm laws for Hawaii rallied at the state Capitol last week to protest a wave of proposed gun-related legislation.
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Opponents of new and more restrictive firearm laws for Hawaii rallied at
the state Capitol last week to protest a wave of proposed gun-related legislation.
The event was organized by the Hawaii Firearms
Coalition and featured displays of American flags and signs on the Beretania Street side of the Capitol. In a green aloha shirt with rifles on it was coalition Director Andrew Namiki Roberts, who spoke at the podium.
“This year we have a lot
of legislation coming up that are removing different parts of the rights to bear arms. … People in Hawaii actually care about the Second Amendment,” Roberts said, referring to the U.S. Constitution. “The legislators seem to think that not many people in Hawaii own guns when actually about 40% of homes in Hawaii have firearms in them.”
The Second Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
“The problem with gun legislation is that all of the gun legislation is making it harder for law-abiding citizens to get guns,” Roberts said. “It ends up taking guns away from law-abiding people. None of the legislation actually targets criminals. There’s no law targeting the criminal use of guns. There’s no law that’s stopping criminals from owning them or taking stronger actions against them.”
Hawaii already has some of the strictest firearm laws in the nation. There are over 40 state House and Senate bills being considered this year that deal with gun control, and only four that are deemed “pro-gun,” Roberts said.
One example of a “pro-gun” bill is Senate Bill 2728, a measure that would require the state to reimburse legal fees and wages for anyone who is involved in a shooting, charged with a crime and later acquitted because the shooting was found to be justified.
That bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
Other bills pending before lawmakers include a measure to waive penalties for people who register their firearms late; a measure
proposed by the Honolulu Police Department that
targets so-called “ghost guns” that can be assembled from components purchased online; another to establish universal training requirements for anyone who seeks to acquire a firearm in
Hawaii; and another that would tighten regulations
on the sale of ammunition.
Kaneohe resident Soleil Roache, who attended the rally, said she was afraid of guns when she was younger until she learned how to safely use a firearm.
“I’m fed up with giving up my gun rights to try to prohibit criminals from accessing guns or using guns when they’re not going to be following these laws anyway,” Roache said. “I want to be able to protect myself and my family with whatever I choose to, and I shouldn’t have to sacrifice my safety for laws that are not going