HONOLULU (KHON2) — Several gun laws were discussed at the Hawaii State Capitol this week.
It comes as Honolulu Police Department’s chief Susan Ballard said there’s an increase in guns being used in crimes.
On Thursday, Chief Ballard told Honolulu City Council that there was a 21-percent increase in crimes involving firearms in 2019.
Now, lawmakers are discussing ways to keep those firearms from getting into the wrong hands.
In 2019, two men were killed by ‘ghost guns’ also referred to as 80-percent guns.
“Already there have been two homicides using ghost guns which are guns assembled from components you can buy off the internet or from a 3D printer that doesn’t have a serial number and are unregistered and un-trackable,” explained Rep. Chris Lee (D) Kailua – Waimanalo.
HPD said they bought a ghost gun online and assembled it.
“All you need is a credit card and an address that’s it,” said Chief Ballard. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a convicted felon, it doesn’t matter if you’re a domestic violence suspect— they don’t care.”
She said more and more are entering the state and it has become a huge problem for her department.
“I can’t remember any case where a weapon was used that it was registered,” Ballard said. “It is all unregistered guns, or defaced serial numbers, or guns stolen in burglaries.”
A proposed law would require certain parts of a firearm to have a serial number from a federally licensed dealer.
“It’s illegal to have a gun that’s unregistered but what we don’t address are situations where people can build their own guns that don’t have a serial number on any of the parts,” said Rep. Lee
“If you’re going to order parts online and assemble your own gun or print it out from a 3D printer, it has to have a serial number when you purchase it and it has to come from a federally licensed firearms dealer. That is the bottom line,” Rep. Lee added.
Those who oppose the bill said it would put stiff penalties on legal gun owners.
“It would have stiff criminal penalties for simply possessing it whether it’s the upper part upper receiver, on certain long guns, or maybe a conversion slide on certain pistols, etc,” said Dan Reid with the National Rifle Association.
The NRA said the proposed law is already repeating laws that are in place.
“It is a felony to possess it if you’re prohibited, so this bill is just going to add one more law and one more penalty on someone that’s already ignoring our numerous gun laws on the books,” he explained.
“We need to be focusing on bad actors, bad intent and not focusing on law-abiding gun owners here in the state and subjecting them to criminal penalties for things that are legal today. Let’s focus on behavior and not on hardware,” Reid said.