Honolulu, Hawaii
                                                     , 1999

                                   RE:  H.B. No. 1496
                                        H.D. 1
                                        S.D. 1

Honorable Norman Mizuguchi
President of the Senate
Twentieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 1999
State of Hawaii


     Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred H.B. No.
1496, H.D. 1, entitled: 


begs leave to report as follows:

     The purpose of this bill, as received by your Committee, is

     (1)  Create a new misdemeanor offense to knowingly
          manufacture, sell, transfer, possess or transport a
          butterfly knife; 

     (2)  Create a new class C felony offense to knowingly
          possess or intentionally use or threaten to use a
          butterfly knife while engaged in the commission of a
          crime; and

     (3)  Delete "butterfly knife" from the prohibition against
          carrying deadly or dangerous weapons concealed upon a
          person's self or within a vehicle.

     Your Committee finds that certain types of knives,
particularly switchblade and butterfly knives, are associated
with gang activity.  Your Committee believes that butterfly
knives (also known as balisongs or gravity knives) appear to be
covered within the statutory definition of switchblade knives.
However, your Committee further finds that although switchblade

                                   STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1389
                                   Page 2

knives are presently illegal, stores openly sell, and minors can
readily purchase, butterfly knives.

     Your Committee is aware, however, that the Hawaii Supreme
Court, in In the Interest of John Doe, (FC-J No. 91-55223), has
held that a butterfly knife does not have a blade that opens
automatically by operation of inertia, gravity, or both, and thus
is not a switchblade knife under section 134-52, Hawaii Revised
Statutes.  The court reasoned that the legislative history of
section 134-52 did not expressly indicate whether the legislature
intended to include butterfly knives under this statute.
Therefore, it is your Committee's intent to clarify that
butterfly knives should be treated in the same manner as
switchblade knives.

     Testimony in support of this measure was submitted by the
Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of
Honolulu, the Honolulu Police Department, and a private citizen.
Testimony in opposition to this measure was submitted by the
Office of the Public Defender and the Pedoy School of Escrima.

     Upon further consideration, your Committee has amended this
bill by:

     (1)  Retaining existing law, which includes "butterfly
          knife" in the prohibition against carrying deadly or
          dangerous weapons concealed upon a person's self or
          within a vehicle;

     (2)  Clarifying that butterfly knives are subject to the
          same prohibitions as switchblade knives; and

     (3)  Creating a class C felony offense for sales of such
          knives to minors.

     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your
Committee on Judiciary that is attached to this report, your
Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No.
1496, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass
Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1496, H.D.
1, S.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.

                                   STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1389
                                   Page 3

                                   Respectfully submitted on
                                   behalf of the members of the
                                   Committee on Judiciary,

                                   AVERY B. CHUMBLEY, Co-Chair

                                   MATTHEW M. MATSUNAGA, Co-Chair