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State lawmakers propose stricter gun laws to keep firearms out of criminals’ hands

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    Honolulu, HI (KITV) — State House and Senate leaders and law enforcement officials say the fatal shooting of two Honolulu police officers in Diamond Head last month and a rash of gun-related crimes have heightened the urgency to protect public safety.

A public hearing is set for Thursday to discuss a range of gun control measures, including notifying police when a gun owner passes away and what’s being done with their firearms. Also up for discussion… banning 50 caliber machine guns and requiring permits for ammunition purchases.

Another bill would make it a felony to build a firearm with no serial number — an attempt to ban ghost guns.

Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said two such guns were used in officer-involved shootings last year. Ghost guns are typically put together using home kits with 80% of the parts. An owner is required to register the assembled firearm with police, but criminals don’t.

“If you’re going to be a responsible gun owner, you should not be able to get them through the internet and get them shipped to any place that you want,” Ballard said.

Gun rights advocates oppose restrictions to their right to bear arms and what is being proposed in the legislature.

“One about registering ammo for purchasing, you know, would affect gun owners and not only them but gun shops, shooting galleries that provide a service for not only local residents, but also tourists,” said Tom Tomimbang, managing partner at 808 Gun Club. “We get a lot of tourists from Japan, Australia and New Zealand. They want to come here and be able to do some target shooting and they can appreciate that while they’re visiting here in Hawaii, and that would be my concern as a gun shop owner.”

Tomimbang, a former police officer and licensed gun dealer, believes individuals prefer to protect themselves… than have the state do it for them.

Some are calling for a “concealed carry” law, but Chief Ballard cautions responsible gun owners of the consequences of shooting someone.

“Whether you’re in the right or you’re wrong, you’re still going to have to go through the legal system, you’re going to have to go through all this,” Ballard said. “It’s going to be a toll on your family, it’s going to be a financial toll. Is it worth it?”

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