Hawaii signed a bill Thursday to become the first state to enter gun owners into an FBI database that will automatically notify police if an island resident is arrested anywhere else in the country.
Gov. David Ige said in a statement that the legislation is about community safety and responsible gun ownership. He said it will help law enforcement agencies protect Hawaii residents and visitors.
State Sen. Will Espero, who introduced the bill, and the Honolulu Police Department said the measure could serve as a model for other states. However, critics believe gun owners shouldn’t have to be entered in a database to practice a constitutional right.
Most people entered in the program, known as the “Rap Back” database, are in “positions of trust,” such as school teachers and bus drivers Stephen Fischer of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division said in May. Hawaii is the first to add gun owners.
Supporters say the law would make Hawaii a leader in safe gun laws. Allison Anderman, a staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the bill was “groundbreaking,” and that she hadn’t heard of other states introducing similar measures.
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