HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers are discussing versions of two bills that would tighten the state’s already strict gun regulations.
One bill would ban bump stocks, a device used by the gunman in the Las Vegas shooting last October that killed 58 people. Bump stocks allow guns to be fired like assault weapons.
Massachusetts, New Jersey and Washington state have each banned the devices since the Las Vegas shooting.
The other bill would reduce the time a gun owner who is disqualified from possessing a gun would have to turn in his or her weapon. The state House version would provide seven business days, down from the current 30. The Senate version would allow seven days.
House and Senate members are currently working out differences in their bills.
Sen. Clarence Nishihara, D-Oahu and chairman of the Senate’s public safety committee, said the legislation won’t eliminate gun violence. But the bills aim to limit it.
“At least it’s an attempt to reduce the possibility. And that’s all we can do. What they call ‘harm reduction,’ right? That’s all we trying to do,” Nishihara said.
Rep. Scott Nishimoto, D-Oahu and the House Judiciary committee chairman, said lawmakers want to do all they can to ensure mass shootings don’t occur in Hawaii.
The bump stock ban would make the sale or possession of bumps stocks a felony.
Harvey Gerwig, president of the Hawaii Rifle Association, said his group doesn’t object as it anticipates the federal government will soon move to prohibit them anyway.
President Donald Trump last month said his administration would “ban” bump stocks, which he said “turn legal weapons into illegal machines.”
The bill that would reduce the time people have to relinquish their guns after being disqualified from ownership is aimed at protecting people from domestic abusers. An individual would lose the right to possess a gun after being indicted, for example, or after being hit with a temporary restraining order.
Gerwig said the 30 days allowed under current law was a reasonable amount of time for someone to find an appropriate buyer or friend to take possession of the firearms until he or she is able to take them back.
Gun owners also have the option of turning in their firearms to police, but Gerwig said the police don’t have a good reputation for keeping the weapons in good condition.
Earlier versions of the bill would have shrunk the time frame to 24 hours, but Nishihara said some lawmakers felt that was too short. They’ve tried to find an “agreeable” solution in between, he said.