STAND. COM. REP. NO. 3488
RE: H.B. No. 2632
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Eighth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2016
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Judiciary and Labor, to which was referred H.B. No. 2632, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO FIREARMS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Upon notice that a person is disqualified from ownership, possession, or control of firearms and ammunition or who underwent or is undergoing emergency hospitalization due to a diagnosis of mental illness or suffering from substance abuse, require the chief of police to issue a notice to the disqualified person to immediately surrender all firearms and ammunition;
(2) Establish requirements for the notice of immediate surrender of firearms and ammunition to a disqualified person;
(3) Authorize the chief of police to seize all firearms and ammunition if the disqualified person fails to voluntarily surrender all firearms and ammunition upon receiving notice; and
(4) Require that the surrendered or seized firearms and ammunition be held in police custody until the disqualified person has been medically documented to be no longer adversely affected by certain mental health diagnoses or treatment or until transferred or sold by the owner.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, County of Hawai‘i; Police Department, City and County of Honolulu; Injury Prevention Advisory Committee; and two individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Hawaii Members of the National Rifle Association of America, Hawaii Rifle Association, Institute for Rational and Evidence-based Legislation, and twenty-five individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of the Attorney General.
Your Committee finds that keeping firearms out of the hands of people who are suffering from mental illness is critical to ensuring the safety of those individuals and the general public. Existing law provides a thirty-day period from the date of written notice of disqualification for a firearms permit within which an owner who has been disqualified for any statutory reason must surrender the firearm and does not allow for any acceleration of the timeframe in more urgent situations. It is essential that the timeframe for removing firearms and ammunition from persons disqualified from firearm ownership, possession, or control for mental illness reasons be shortened to allow for immediate removal. This measure provides a mechanism for immediate removal once an individual has received notice of disqualification and subsequently fails to surrender that individual's firearms and ammunition.
Your Committee notes that some individuals who are hospitalized due to mental illness may have been admitted involuntarily rather than through an emergency admission. Emergency and involuntary psychiatric hospital admissions are subject to part IV of chapter 334, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), and each type of admission requires a finding that the person is mentally ill or suffering from substance abuse, or is imminently dangerous to self or others.
Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Clarifying that the reasons for disqualification from ownership, possession, or control of firearms and ammunition include emergency or involuntary hospitalization pursuant to part IV of chapter 334, HRS; and
(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary and Labor that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 2632, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 2632, H.D. 2, S.D. 2.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary and Labor,
GILBERT S.C. KEITH-AGARAN, Chair