Hawaii gun lobby to block gun control bills

Hawaii gun lobby to block gun control bills

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. But this year's Legislature has 12 measures that would make those laws even tougher.

Among those measure is a bill that would ban assault weapons in Hawaii. Another would require annual renewals for firearms registrations, as well as background checks of everyone in a home where a firearm is stored.

A senate bill that would appropriate $100,000 for a gun buy-back program is coming up for a hearing. One of the measure's sponsors notes that guns that are stolen are used in some crimes, burglaries and thefts.

"This would be an opportunity for someone to get a gun out of their house that they do not want, and thus that's one gun that may not be stolen or fall into the wrong hands," said Sen. Will Espero (D-19th District), who chairs the senate Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs committee.

However, the Hawaii Rifle Association criticized the proposal, calling it a "feel-good" measure that won't take guns out of the hands of criminals.

Gun enthusiasts have already organized to stop gun control bills at the 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.

The gun buy-back bill goes before Espero's committee Thursday afternoon. Gerwig said the rifle association will be there to testify against the measure.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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