Law enforcement and legislators call for stricter gun laws and mental health care expansion

Local News

Gun violence and mental health were big discussions at the capital as Hawaii state leaders bring these two issues to the forefront after last month’s tragedy at Diamond Head.

The killing of a woman and two Honolulu Police Officers is still a fresh wound for lawmakers, they are introducing 18 measures to try to prevent similar tragedies.

Police Chief Susan Ballard called for changes in mental health law, she says the HPD’s critical incident team should be allowed to decide if a person needs to be involuntary taken into mental evaluation.

Currently a psychologist approval is required for intake.

“We used to do that ourselves, we never called a psychologist and it was never an issue I mean the officers know it’s through on-the-job training and through observation,” Ballard said. “I think giving officers the training they need to identify it. That we should be allowed to make that determination because we are not forcing them into treatment. It allows us to take them you know without their consent to a hospital for observation.”

Also a part of the discussion were proposed laws to tackle loopholes in current gun laws, Representative Chris Lee said a new proposal would require the police department to be notified of any transfer of guns within a household.

Lee said, “In the case of the Diamond Head shooting unfortunately it seemed like it belonged to someone else earlier. The person passed away and they ended up in the hands of Mr. Hanel who used them to murder two police officers and that’s just something that should have and could be prevented in the future.”

In a press conference attended by law enforcement and members of the state legislature, Chief Ballard requested to outlaw “ghost guns” where pieces to build a gun can be bought online.

Ballard said, “So in other words you can’t go online and order this thing, now it’s going to become illegal to transport it over here.”

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