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New laws to take effect Jan. 1

A law that will make it more difficult to build “ghost guns” is among a number of new laws that will take effect next month.

In June, a shootout between a man and Big Island police officers at a Hilo residence left the shooter, 34-year-old Ryan Santos of Hilo, dead. A subsequent investigation determined that one of the guns used by Santos was an AR-15 that had been purchased in parts and assembled at home, creating a ghost gun — a weapon with no traceable serial number.

While assembling ghost guns in this way already was a felony offense in Hawaii, beginning Jan. 1 even the possession of such firearm parts by anyone who is not a federally licensed dealer is a felony.

That law, which was signed by Gov. David Ige in July, closed a loophole left open by a previous attempt to outlaw ghost guns in 2020.

The law received strong opposition from Hawaii gun owners and rifle associations, who argued that it would impede gun owners’ ability to repair their own weapons.

Some other legislation passed this year that will take effect Jan. 1 includes:

• A law allowing dependents of military members to apply for government employment in Hawaii even if they are not state residents, so long as the military member is in Hawaii on military orders.

• A law imposing fines for intentionally catching or killing a shark in state marine waters. Under the law, violators will be fined $500 for a first offense, $2,000 for a second and $10,000 for all subsequent offenses, as well as fines of up to $10,000 for each shark affected by the violation and the possible forfeiture of the violator’s commercial marine license, fishing equipment and vessel.

• A law repealing a requirement for a person to live in the state for at least six months before filing for a divorce in the state.

• A law that imposes fines, instead of the current misdemeanor charges, for failing to register as a transient accommodations provider.

• A law requiring tax return preparers to have a valid preparer tax identification number or else face penalties.

• A law clarifying that filing fees for tax appeals are nonrefundable.

• A law allowing greenhouses and agricultural shade cloth structures to be exempt from building permit and building code requirements as long as they do not exceed 60,000 square feet in area.

• A law banning the sale or import for sale of cosmetic products if the product or any component thereof was developed or manufactured using animal testing in a cruel manner carried out after Jan. 1, 2022.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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