Hawaii gun sales not rising with the rest of the nation

Hawaii gun sales not rising with the rest of the nation

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gun sales across the country have been on the rise following a number of mass shootings this year but Hawaii gun enthusiasts are not following the national trend.

Before the San Bernardino shootings Wednesday, a gunman killed three people at a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs the day after Thanksgiving.

And in October, nine people died in a mass shooting at a community college in Oregon.

Events like those have prompted gun sales to break records nationally for the last seven months in a row. The FBI ran a record 185,345 background checks on Friday, roughly five percent more than the amount the agency processed on that same day last year, the Associated Press reported.

At X-Ring Security and Firearms in Waipahu, the gun shop's sales people said gun sales in Hawaii have not followed the national upward trend.

"Hawaii, because it's such a distance away from where the trouble is happening, that people don't feel so threatened yet. But it's a big possibility," said Brian Takaba, X Ring Security and Firearms manager.

Takaba said another reason gun sales are not rising here is that Hawaii consistently has one of the lowest gun death rates in the country, along with Vermont, New Hampshire and South Dakota.

"The fact that we have such a low crime rate here is probably a big factor, why people are not in a panic yet," Takaba said.

Hawaii has fairly strict gun control regulations, making it easier to keep guns out of the hands of people with psychological problems.

"We do have a mental and a medical check, which most other states do not," Takaba added.

Carter Berlin, owner of OGC Tactical, a Honolulu gun shop, said, "We have not seen a significant change in sales that correlates with the mass shootings in the mainland likely because of both our physical distance from the mainland, and the fact that with prolific and ever-growing legal gun ownership in the state of Hawaii, we have seen no rise in gun related crime."

"It seems that in Hawaii, our focus has rightfully been on the motivations or mental health problems of the shooters, not fear of new gun control measures that are not needed in Hawaii," Berlin added.

In 1999, Hawaii had its worst-ever mass shooting, when Byron Uyesugi killed seven co-workers at a Xerox office on Nimitz Highway.

As a result of the Xerox shootings, state law was changed to allow law enforcement to revoke all the gun permits belonging to someone who's been denied a new gun permit because of mental health problems.

Previously, people in Hawaii with documented psychological problems had been allowed to keep their old guns but were only not eligible to buy new ones.

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