News & Politics

Proposed Law in Hawaii Would Add Gun Owners to FBI Database

The Associated Press  is reporting that a proposed law in Hawaii would add gun owners into an FBI database that will notify the state if a resident is arrested anywhere in the United States.

Techdirt describes the “Rap Back” database as “one that provides constant monitoring of certain people — like suspected criminals, people on parole, employees with security clearances and ‘trusted positions.'”  The FBI’s Stephen Fischer of the Bureau’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division explains positions of trust are positions like school teachers and bus drivers. Take note, this database is mixing criminals and non-criminals and potentially gun owners.

The anti-gun crowd is thrilled with the potential law. Allison Anderman, an attorney with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the bill was “groundbreaking.” State Senator Will Espero, who introduced the bill, hopes Hawaii could serve as an example for other states.

Opponents say there should be no requirement to be part of a database to exercise a constitutional right.

“You’re curtailing that right by requiring that a name be entered into a database without doing anything wrong,” said Kenneth Lawson, faculty at the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.

Experts say the law should hold up to legal scrutiny.

Recent Supreme Court rulings have clarified states’ ability to regulate gun sales, said David Levine, a law professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

The cost to enter gun owners into the database will be covered by the gun owner.

Gun owners say this confirms their fears the government wants to know exactly who owns firearms for purposes of confiscation.

“I don’t like the idea of us being entered into a database. It basically tells us that they know where the guns are, they can go grab them” said Jerry Ilo, a firearm and hunting instructor for the state. “We get the feeling that Big Brother is watching us.”

“This is an extremely dangerous bill. Exercising a constitutional right is not inherently suspicious,” said Amy Hunter for the National Rifle Association. “Hawaii will now be treating firearms as suspect and subject to constant monitoring.”