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Hawaiian Lawmakers Tell Congress 2nd Amendment Doesn’t Protect Gun Ownership

Hawaiian legislators voted Tuesday to ask the U.S. Congress to repeal, or amend, the Second Amendment.

Honolulu, HI – Hawaiian lawmakers voted on Tuesday to urge the U.S. Congress that the 2nd Amendment doesn’t guarantee the right for individuals to own guns, and that they should repeal, or seriously change, the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The resolution was sponsored by State Senator Stanley Chang, a freshman whose claim to fame is having beaten the last Republican to hold a seat in the Hawaii State Senate, according to Guns.com.

Chang studied law under U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts).

The resolution passed by Hawaii’s legislators argued that there is no individual right to bear arms, and said the framers meant for the Second Amendment to apply to militias, contrary to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling in District of Columbia vs. Heller, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) reported.

Instead, the authors relied heavily on the 1939 Supreme Court decision in United States vs. Miller.

“…others contend that the prefatory language of ‘a well regulated militia’ indicates that the framers of the United States Constitution intended only to restrict the United States Congress from legislating away a state’s right to self-defense,” Hawaii’s resolution read. “…under this ‘collective rights theory’, the Second Amendment asserts that United States citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns and that local, state, and federal legislative bodies possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right.”

The Hawaiian resolution said that in light of the tragic mass shootings in various venues across the country, state legislators believe that “it is necessary to repeal or amend the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

After they passed the resolution, they sent copies of it to the President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate, the Speaker of the U.S. House, all the members of the Hawaiian congressional delegation, and the governor of Hawaii.

Hawaii is already home to some of the most restrictive gun control regulations in the United States, Guns.com reported.

The state requires all firearms to be registered and caps handgun magazine capacity at 10 rounds.

Gun buyers are required to buy a permit to buy a gun.

In fact, Hawaii issues so few concealed-carry permits annually that multiple lawsuits have been filed against local police chiefs who have defended their “may issue” policies with mixed results, according to Guns.com.

In 2016, it was the first state to put gun owners in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s centralized database, FEE reported.

In addition to restricting individual rights to possess guns, Hawaii also restricts police officers’ gun possession.

Hawaii doesn’t recognize the provisions of the federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA).

LEOSA was “designed to protect officers and their families from vindictive criminals, and to allow thousands of equipped, trained and certified law enforcement officers, whether on-duty, off-duty or retired, to carry concealed firearms in situations where they can respond immediately to a crime across state and other jurisdictional lines.”

The purpose of the law was to pre-empt states from restricting the type of ammunition that officers could carry off duty, and allow them to carry their weapons in any state without running afoul of any state laws.

Hawaii’s attorney general’s office says that the federal law doesn’t actually pre-empt state law.

According to Hawaii’s Department of the Attorney General, if police officers from out of state are not on duty, then they are not actually considered to be police officers and LEOSA doesn’t apply to them.

“If you are not on official duty with your governmental law enforcement agency and you are carrying a concealed firearm pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 926B, you are not considered a ‘law enforcement officer’ in the State of Hawaii. The Hawaii Revised Statutes will be applied to you as if you were a ‘civilian’ with no law enforcement powers,” the state Attorney General memo says.

But even if a law enforcement officer is on duty, they aren’t in the clear. That’s because the state doesn’t recognize that LEOSA can supersede state law, so on-duty officers need to comply with state law in order to carry their guns in Hawaii.

That means if an on-duty officer is in possession of a gun in the state for more than 5 days, they are required to register their gun with the chief of police in the county where they are staying. They also may not possess a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Republican U.S. Representative Don Bacon has introduced reform legislation to address states which don’t recognize LEOSA.

Rep. Bacon’s amendment would also exempt LEOSA carriers from magazine-size restrictions.

Sandy Malone - March Fri, 2019


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