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Come January 1, it will be legal for private citizens in Hawaii to own a Taser

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 4:30 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 7, 2021 at 5:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - On January 1, it will be legal for private citizens in Hawaii to own a Taser.

It’s one of the laws that emerged from the legislative session and repeals Hawaii’s ban on electric guns for the public ― allowing them for self-defense, defending another person or protecting property.

Until the new law goes into effect, only law enforcement in Hawaii can use Tasers and stun guns.

Firearms advocates are calling the measure a victory while state lawmakers say the Legislature had to bow to the legal reality.

“There was a case on the continent putting serious doubt whether we could continue to have our ban on private ownership of so called electric guns,” said state Sen. and Judiciary Chair Karl Rhoads.

He has concerns about ordinary citizens armed with electric guns, but says lawmakers decided to move forward with regulation after court rulings made legalization inevitable.

“The courts have certain powers and in their wisdom have determined that electric guns fall under the Second Amendment,” said Rhoads.

Anthony Loui, assistant manager of Security Equipment Corporation, supports the new measure.

“I feel it is a positive step. It is another tool for a person to defend themselves,” he said.

He added that demand is high for Tasers as gun sales have shot up during the pandemic. Unlike obtaining a gun, buyers won’t need a permit to get a Taser. But sellers will need to conduct background checks and provide safety training.

Loui says there’s still a lot to figure out about the new rules.

“How is this going to play out? What type of certifications are actually needed? How easy the process is going to be, licensing, all that jazz,” said Loui.

Andrew Namiki Roberts, of the Hawaii Firearms Coalition, had filed a lawsuit against the state saying he wanted to own a stun gun to protect himself and his expensive photography equipment.

Even though ownership will be legal in Hawaii, it is likely still illegal to carry the Taser with you.

So come January 1, Namiki Roberts is going to see for himself.

“My first step is to obtain one legally and test the law,” he said. “The fact that people in Hawaii will have a nonlethal method of self defense is very exciting for us.”

Governor Ige had signed HB 891 into law.

“This new law provides strict restrictions on the purchase, use, and transfer of an electric gun,” said the Office of the Special Assistant to the Attorney General.

Rhoads says carrying stun guns is covered under HRS 134-51 where it’s a crime to carry deadly weapons in most circumstances.

Rhode Island is the last state to ban private ownership of Tasers and it’s facing a lawsuit by the same attorney who spearheaded the Hawaii case.

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