Gun control laws in states like New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania may now have a new model after Hawaii became the first state to allow police departments to monitor owners of firearms.
The legislation, which was passed by the Hawaii State Legislature and officially signed into law by Hawaii Governor David Ige, created a monitoring service for criminal records. Under the state law, local police departments and law enforcement agencies will now be authorized to go further than ever before when running background checks on individuals who apply for firearms ownership licenses. The law will also apply to anyone who registers their handgun in Hawaii. Most importantly, the background checks will essentially be continuous, meaning that a firearm owner will be monitored long after having purchased and registered their handgun.
The monitoring service is being called the “Rap Back” system. The service is actually maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), with Hawaii opting in to use the service. As a result, this Hawaii law could serve as an interesting test case for lawmakers other states, like NJ and NY, who want to see how effective the federal database is when utilized by state agencies.
The Rap Back system enables law enforcement agencies to monitor firearm owners going forward, even after they have officially registered their weapons. This means that when a person who owns a gun is arrested for a crime, the database will be updated and local police departments in Hawaii will be notified.
The goal of the new law is to ensure that individuals who potentially pose a threat to public safety, or who may no longer be legally entitled to own a firearm due to a pending criminal charge and/or conviction, will be subject to proper vetting and monitoring by law enforcement.
For further information, check out the KITV.com article, “Hawaii Is 1st US State to Enroll Gun Owners in Federal Database.”
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