Opening Pandora’s box…
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii could become the first state in the United States to enter gun owners into an FBI database that will automatically notify police if an island resident is arrested anywhere else in the country.
Most people entered in the “Rap Back” database elsewhere in the U.S. are those in “positions of trust,” such as school teachers and bus drivers, said Stephen Fischer of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division. Hawaii could be the first state to add gun owners.
“I don’t like the idea of us being entered into a database. It basically tells us that they know where the guns are, they can go grab them” said Jerry Ilo, a firearm and hunting instructor for the state. “We get the feeling that Big Brother is watching us.”
Supporters say the law would make Hawaii a leader in safe gun laws. Allison Anderman, a staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the bill was “groundbreaking,” and that she hadn’t heard of other states introducing similar measures.
Sen. Will Espero, who introduced the bill, and the Honolulu Police Department said Hawaii could serve as a model for other states if it becomes the first to enact the law.
Yet others say gun owners shouldn’t have to be entered in a database to practice a constitutional right.
“You’re curtailing that right by requiring that a name be entered into a database without doing anything wrong,” said Kenneth Lawson, faculty at the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.
Legal experts say the bill could face challenges, but would probably hold up in court. Recent Supreme Court rulings have clarified states’ ability to regulate gun sales, said David Levine, a law professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.