HRA Alert: 2 bills for Hearing Tuesday, March 3rd
by Dr. Maxwell Cooper, Legislative Liaison, Hawaii Rifle Association
The House Judiciary Committee will hear two bills on our issues Tuesday 3/3/15, 1pm, Rm. 325. This is the first hearing this year in House JUD in front of unfriendly Chair, F-rated Rep. Karl Rhoads. Please send testimony, preferably by 1pm 3/2, and attend if you can to deliver it in person. See the hearing notice and follow the prompts: HEARING NOTICE
The first and last bills on the regular agenda are HB837 criminalizing the offer of ivory for sale and which makes it a petty misdemeanor for a person to recklessly possess a loaded firearm while the person is intoxicated.
HB837 was amended in House Public Safety Committee to exempt small amounts of ivory (up to 20%) in knives and firearms. HRA still OPPOSES it. Its companion bill SB674 was deferred indefinitely (dead) in a Senate joint hearing. Testimony in strong opposition to the bill was received from antique dealers and Hawaiian Heritage supporters. Unless the house version is amended similarly to protect the value of real antique art and heirloom items, it's theft, just as is poaching. It is not going to affect the survival of elephant populations in Africa. Stable governments there with effective game management will. Elephant populations in Western and South Africa are increasing by over 6% per year. Game biologists there are darting cows with birth control from helicopters to prevent over-population.
HB888 establishes in statute the lowest criminal offense, a petty misdemeanor, for reckless possession of a firearm while intoxicated. HRA offers COMMENTS. The bill defines intoxication loosely, not as with drunk driving. The bill includes the language "proximity" and "intent to possess." Perhaps "brandish" would be better than "possess." If you are celebrating at home or away from home with a designated driver, and you know the combination to your gun safe, are you in possession?
Worst case scenario: Rep. Rhoads could use this bill as a vehicle to insert the HB626 language, co-introduced by him, providing for a class C felony for physically possessing any firearm while consuming or under the influence of an intoxicant.