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‘Ghost guns’ are prohibited

HONOLULU — Gov. David Ige signed three gun-violence-prevention bills into law on Thursday at the State Capitol, which according to lawmakers will protect Hawai‘i’s kupuna and keiki and prohibit the possession of “ghost guns.”

House Bill 1366, now Act 149, goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, and will make purchasing, carrying or manufacturing a ghost gun illegal. Should a resident have a ghost gun, they are instructed to turn it in.

A ghost gun is one without a serial number, making it impossible to trace ownership or origin.

“Anyone who wanted to dispose of any firearms can take it down to their respective county police departments and surrender them for destruction,” said Honolulu Police Department Capt. Brian Yamamoto.

State Rep. Patrick Branco, vice-chair of the House Committee on Water and Land, said ghost guns by design are the perfect crime weapon.

According to Branco, these firearms evade the permit and registration process and can be easily produced at home without a license or background check.

“Ghost guns do not represent responsible gun ownership,” Branco said. “Assembling and building ghost guns is not a hobby like putting a ship in a bottle or building a model airplane. Ghost-gun kits can be purchased online by anyone, including prohibited purchasers, domestic abusers and gun traffickers. I want to reiterate the point that these weapons do not have a serial number and are virtually untraceable.”

On Kaua‘i, a resident can turn a ghost gun to the Kaua‘i Police Department by calling KPD dispatch at 241-1711.

“The KPD commends the Hawai‘i State Legislature for passing several important bills this past legislative session that focus on protecting and kupuna, keiki and the public,” KPD Investigative Services Bureau Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce said. “Furthermore, these bills ensure criminal sanctions and penalties for violators.”

HB490 is a bill relating to crimes against seniors, which gives kupuna added protection. Ige said the bill standardizes the age at which certain penalties apply for crimes against kupuna. Going forward that age will be 60.

“It will also apply these penalties if the perpetrator knows or should reasonably know that the victim is a kupuna,” Ige said. “It is my hope that House Bill 490’s passage into law will add further protection to our most-vulnerable and treasured possessions.”

HB31, now Act 148, will protect keiki by raising the age of safe storage of a firearm from 16 to 18. “This will help ensure that individuals with firearms responsibly store them so that they cannot be accessed by an unsupervised minor,” Ige said. “We have seen the stories of tragic results where if this law was in place may not have happened.”

State Rep. Gregg Takayama, whose district includes Pearl City, Waimalu and Pacific Palisades on O‘ahu, is the primary introducer of the bill. “This is a common-sense measure aimed at protecting 16- and 17-year-olds, who are statistically the most prone to attempting suicide,” he said.

“This is not an added burden for responsible gun owners who already recognize the importance of safely securing their firearms from other family members, visitors and intruders. The addition of this bill will aid in promoting weapon-safety for generations to come,” he said.

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Stephanie Shinno, education and business reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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