Report Title:

Firearms; Storage

 

Description:

Requires storage of firearms in commercially manufactured firearm safe, or locked in commercially manufactured gun rack, that cannot readily be removed from the premises.

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

128

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2001

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

RELATING TO STORAGE OF FIREARMS.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that improper storage of guns greatly contributes to the problem of legal guns finding their way into the illegal market. Many of the guns used in crimes in the United States are stolen from legal owners. An estimated five hundred thousand handguns reach criminal hands across the nation each year in this manner. On Oahu, an average of twenty-two handguns are reported stolen each month. About one hundred seventy-eight handgun permits are issued each month. Therefore, one handgun is stolen for every eight permits issued. Clearly, far too high a proportion of Oahu's "gun pool" is moving from legal to illegal status each month.

The legislature also finds that unsecured firearms dramatically increase the risk of unintentional or intentional violent injury by a household member or guest to another household member or guest. Studies have shown that up to half of all gun owners do not keep their guns locked up. Nearly ninety per cent of the children who are injured or killed in unintentional shootings are shot in their own homes, or in the homes of relatives or friends.

The legislature further finds that the present law requiring firearm owners to safely store or secure their firearms from minors is too narrow. To prevent unintentional or intentional harm, all firearms must be secured against access by any third person, whether a minor or an adult. The legislature also recognizes that, to prevent theft, firearms must be locked in a secure container that is not hand portable, a provision not in the present law.

The purpose of this Act is to further improve Hawaii's safe gun storage law by:

(1) Expanding safe storage requirements to include both minors and adults;

(2) Requiring that all firearms be securely locked in a gun safe or gun rack that cannot be readily removed from the premises;

(3) Certifying that an applicant for a permit have such storage facilities; and

(4) Imposing penalties for violating safe storage requirements, in order to help prevent gun deaths, both unintentional and intentional, and to reduce the number of firearms stolen from legal gun owners.

SECTION 2. Section 134-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

"(b) The permit application form shall [include]:

(1) Include the applicant's name, address, sex, height, weight, date of birth, place of birth, Social Security number, and information regarding the applicant's mental health history [and shall require];

(2) Require the fingerprinting and photographing of the applicant by the police department of the county of registration; and

(3) Require the applicant to sign an affidavit stating that the applicant possesses a secure storage facility that meets the requirements of section 134-10.5;

provided that where fingerprints and photograph are already on file with the department, these may be waived."

SECTION 3. Section 134-10.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]134-10.5[]] Storage of firearm; responsibility with respect to minors. No [person] firearm owner shall store or keep any firearm on any premises under the person's control [if the person knows or reasonably should know that a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the parent or guardian of the minor], unless the [person:] owner:

(1) Keeps the firearm [in a securely] locked [box or other container] in a commercially manufactured firearm safe or equivalent that cannot readily be removed from the premises or [in a location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure;] locked in a commercially manufactured gun rack or equivalent that will maintain security of the firearm and that cannot readily be removed from the premises; or

(2) Carries the firearm on the person or within such close proximity thereto that the person readily can retrieve and use it as if it were carried on the person.

[For purposes of this section, "minor" means any person under the age of sixteen years.]"

SECTION 4. Section 134-17, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (c) to read as follows:

"(c) Any person who violates section 134-2, 134-4, 134-10, 134-15, or 134-16(a) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person who violates section 134-3(b) or 134-10.5 shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor and, in the case of section 134-3(b), the firearm shall be confiscated as contraband and disposed of, if the firearm is not registered within five days of the person receiving notice of the violation."

SECTION 5. Section 663-9.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]663-9.5[]] Liability of firearm owners. The owner of a firearm, if the discharge of the firearm proximately causes either personal injury or property damage to any person, shall be absolutely liable for such damage. It shall be an affirmative defense to such absolute liability that the firearm was not in the possession of the owner and was taken from the owner's possession without the owner's permission and the owner had complied with section 134-10.5 and either had reported the theft to the police prior to the discharge or, despite the exercise of reasonable care, had not discovered the theft prior to the discharge or was not reasonably able to report the theft to the police prior to the discharge. This section shall not apply when the discharge of the firearm was legally justified."

SECTION 6. Section 707-714.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is repealed.

["[707-714.5] Criminally negligent storage of a firearm. (1) A person commits the offense of criminally negligent storage of a firearm if the person violates section 134-10.5 and a minor obtains the firearm. For purposes of this section, "minor" means any person under the age of sixteen years.

(2) This section shall not apply if the minor obtains the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry to any premises by any person.

(3) Criminally negligent storage of a firearm is a misdemeanor."]

SECTION 7. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun, before its effective date.

SECTION 8. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 9. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

INTRODUCED BY:

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