What’s the Law: Firearms Insurance


Question: Does my homeowners or renters insurance policy cover firearms?

Answer: Most likely no. Firearms insurance policies have different aspects.

The first is firearms loss (theft, fire, etc.). Some homeowners insurance may cover but only for a limited amount; most don’t exceed $2,500. Some polices exclude firearms completely. You can get an additional rider policy, and even the NRA and other carriers offer firearms loss insurance.

The second is liability insurance for harm caused by your firearm. Virtually all homeowners insurance exclude intentional harm caused by firearms. Insurance can’t cover the commission of a crime.

Also excluded from coverage is harm caused by using, owning, lending, and firing firearms. Umbrella insurance policies may also have a firearms liability exclusion.

There are separate insurance policies available for firearms liability. They cover the cost of a civil or criminal defense and the injury caused by the firearms use. Such policies cover you when you use a firearm in self defense.

It appears that if you are injured by someone at the range or while hunting, it isn’t covered by that person’s homeowners policy. You’re also not covered if your gun blows up or your shot injures or causes property damage.

Act 125 — The “so-called” Ivory Ban


Act 125 — The “so-called” Ivory Ban

Question: What’s happening to the ivory ban that was passed in 2016 in Hawaii?

Answer: Commonly referred to as the “Ivory Ban,” Act 125 goes much further than just ivory. This new law prohibits selling, buying, trading any part (not just ivory) of the elephant, mammoth, rhinoceros, tiger, great ape, shark and ray, sea turtle, walrus, narwhal, whale, hippopotamus, monk seal, lion, pangolin, cheetah, jaguar, and leopard.

Exceptions are: (1) the banned animal part is documented as 100 years or older; (2) the banned animal part is less than 20% of the firearm (or any item) which was manufactured before 1975 and is a fixed component; it seems that inlays are okay but not removable ivory pistol grips; and (3) traditional cultural practices.

Possession of such animal parts is not prohibited. You can still own them, but you cannot sell or trade them, and you cannot acquire such parts by buying or trading. You can acquire or transfer ownership of these parts via inheritance. Violation of the law is a full misdemeanor. Maximum sentence is $2,000 fine and one year in jail. The right of a jury trial is afforded. The law is now in effect, but enforcement will not start until June 30, 2017.

The foregoing is a quick overview of this complex new law. For more detailed information, refer to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/GM1226_.PDF.

What’s the Law: New Rap Back System


Question: What’s the “Rap Back” system that the State of Hawaii just implemented?

Answer: The Rap Back Law (Act 108) has been implemented as of December 5, 2016. The law was enacted and signed by the Governor with much fanfare in July. After some five months, the process was finally established. Essentially, Rap Back is a FBI criminal history watch list where criminal acts will be reported to the subscribing states. Thus, any crime (“Rap”) committed will be reported “Back” to the “System” (Hawaii).

It is not a national firearms registration system. It registers people. Enrollment requires that you be finger printed, and information such as your social security number, physical description, gender, place and date of birth, and citizenship be submitted to the Rap Back system. HPD has the form online. The fee is $12 plus $30 for the Hawaii background check… a total of $42. HPD will accept major charge cards.

  1. If you already own firearms, you are not subject to enrollment.
  2. If you apply for a permit to acquire for either a hand gun or long gun, you will be enrolled.
  3. If you renew your long gun permit to acquire, you will be enrolled.
  4. If you arrive in Hawaii with a firearm to be registered, you will be enrolled.

You will NOT be issued a permit to acquire if you refuse to be enrolled in the Rap Back system, pay the $42 fee, and be fingerprinted.

Once you are enrolled, you are not subject to further fees; however, you will remain in the Rap Back system. Disenrollment only occurs when you:

  1. are deceased; or
  2. show proof that all of your firearms have been moved out of the State; or
  3. show proof that you have sold or transferred all of your firearms; or
  4. show proof that you have transferred all of your firearms to a federal firearms licensee FFL.

In simple terms, you will be required to enroll in the Rap Back system when you apply for a permit to acquire or register a firearm. If you do not acquire a firearm or apply for or renew a permit after the System went into effect, you are not subject to enrollment. If you sell or transfer a firearm, you are also not subject to enrollment.


What’s the Law: Rap Back


What’s the Law

by Darry Choy


Question: What’s happening to the new Rap Back System?

Answer: The “Rap Back” bill was signed into law by the Governor and effective July 1, 2016. However, HPD wasn’t ready. Unconfirmed is the development of a computer program that was said to be operational September 1. No word on the fee for the mandatory enrollment, but a $60 fee was rumored. Enrollment would be required when obtaining a firearm or applying for a permit. This may apply to renewals of long gun permits. As of the end of August, officers at the HPD Firearms Division haven’t heard as to the status of Rap Back.

Essentially, the Rap Back service does not register your firearms, but it does register you as an individual. Rap Back provides authorized agencies, such as HPD, with notification of criminal and civil activity (restraining orders and mental health matters) of individuals. Rap Back does not provide new authority to agencies, including the FBI, for collection of biometric and biographical information. It does, however, implement new response services to notify agencies of subsequent activity for individuals enrolled in the service, including a more timely process of confirming suitability of those individuals for firearms ownership.

What’s the Law: Federal Court Cases


What’s the Law?

Federal Court Cases Update

QUESTION: What is the status of the Hawaii conceal carry case now in the federal court system? Word out that the federal courts also ruled on a gun store case.

ANSWER: As we all should remember, in Peruta v. Country of San Diego (Hawaii’s Baker v. Kealoha case is tied to it), a three-judge panel ruled (2-1) in favor of concealed carry back in 2014. The time for appeal ended, and it appeared the conceal carry controversy was won. However, one of the 9th Circuit judges pulled it out of the fire and got it before the 9th Circuit en banc panel of 11 judges for re-hearing. Note the State of Hawaii filed an amicus curiae brief opposing conceal carry. Arguments were completed on June 16, 2015. Almost a year since, and a decision is still pending. As of this writing, Peruta and Baker cases on conceal carry have not been resolved.

Meantime, another 9th Circuit three-judge panel ruled (2-1 concurred and dissented in part) in Teixeira v. County of Alameda that restrictions on gun shops violate the 2nd Amendment. Essentially, the right to own a gun also includes the right to buy one at a gun shop that isn’t subject to unreasonable zoning restrictions. This is an important ruling since a host of gun laws are being enacted that “recognize” gun ownership but renders it as hard as possible to exercise. Banning lead, closing gun ranges, banning hunting, banning guns at homes near schools, mandatory insurance, annual inspections are just a few samples of how your gun rights are subject to unreasonable restrictions.

Interesting to see if Teixeria will go to a 9th Circuit en banc session for re-hearing. Here is the link to the full text of Teixeira: http://www.hoffmang.com/firearms/teixeira/Teixiera-v-Alameda-2016-05- 16.pdf.

The judges in the Teixeira case were O’Scannlain, Bea, and Silverman. Well to note that Reagan appointee Judge O’Scannlain was also on the Peruta panel and wrote both pro gun opinions.

What’s the Law: Bayonets banned for hunting?


QUESTION: I am told that a bayonet with more than the lower blade sharpened is a deadly weapon and cannot be used for pig hunting but can be possessed at home or at a gun show for display. I don’t see a clear description of what constitutes a deadly weapon in Sec. 134 HRS. Does a Glock field knife with a blade that is sharpened along the bottom edge AND serrated or with saw tooth upper edge meet the definition of a deadly weapon? I know a pig hunter who wants to buy one with a saw tooth upper and a sharpened lower edge blade.

ANSWER: A bayonet is a deadly weapon. But deadly weapons can be used for hunting; i.e., guns. A bayonet is a deadly weapon with or without both edges sharpened. A Glock field knife is just a knife. Check out Sec. 134-51 HRS; the Case Note at 55 H. 531 is dispositive. The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that the test is whether the “sole design and purpose is to inflect bodily injury or death.” If so, it’s a deadly weapon.

While bayonets have been used to clean boots, open cans, etc., the sole design and purpose is to hurt people. Thus a deadly weapon. The Glock is a field knife for numerous purposes, so it doesn’t fit the definition and, thus, it’s just a knife. But remember, people get busted by uninformed cops all the time, so carrying is always a risk. You don’t want to have a Supreme Court case with your name as the defendant. The scarier the knife, the more likely to get busted.

What’s The Law: Non-FFL shipping of guns interstate (revisited)


Question: I know from prior WTL columns that I can ship a gun to a FFL in another state even if I don’t have a FFL. The federal laws does not require FFL-to-FFL. (See WTL, May 2013 and February 2014.) But when I sell my guns on internet auction, I discovered a number of my mainland buyers’ FFLs refuse to accept firearms from me and require I have them sent via a Hawaii FFL. What gives?

Answer: You are correct that under the federal law a non-FFL can ship a firearm interstate to a FFL. But a growing number of FFLs will not accept firearms shipped by non-FFL. This prohibition is mostly imposed by the receiving FFL; the main reason is they don’t know you and the firearm may be stolen. Even when you give them a copy of your HPD registration, some FFLs will still refuse to accept your firearm. These FFLs feel that if a FFL, rather than the seller, ships, at least it’s in the ATF system. Some states even prohibit FFLs in their state from receiving firearms from non-FFLs. California took one step further and require out-of-state FFLs to register with California before a gun can be received by a California FFL.

There isn’t much you can do about this other than having your buyer find a receiving FFL who does not require FFL-to-FFL. Keep in mind having your firearm shipped from a Hawaii FFL to a mainland FFL is a problem. Your Hawaii FFL must dealer register the firearm and take your long gun or handgun into inventory. This requires that your dealer go down to HPD and obtain a dealer permit for a handgun, get your signature, and return to HPD to dealer register the handgun. Your dealer must also obtain a HPD registration for your long guns. Once done, your FFL can ship. This can be simplified by having both you and the dealer go to HPD together. Note some dealers have declined to offer this service, and those who do will require a fee.

What’s the Law: Plastic Bag Ban and the Gun Show


What’s the Law: Plastic Bag Ban and the Gun Show

QUESTION: How does the plastic bag ban apply to Gun Show table holders?

ANSWER: The plastic bag ban imposed on businesses by City & County ordinance, ORD 12-8 amended by ORD 14-29, became effective July 1, 2015. The short answer is plastic bags are banned at the gun shows.

There are some fine points on whether nor not all gun show tables are businesses.
The City law 9.1 defines: “Business” means any commercial enterprise or establishment operating in the City and County of Honolulu, including an individual proprietorship, joint venture, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or other legal entity, whether for profit or not for profit, and includes all employees of the business or any independent contractors associated with the business (bold added).

HHAA is a non-profit corporation, and the Gun Show is a business. As such, all independent contractors associated with the Gun Show business are also subject to the ban. This includes all table holders, whether or not businesses. The NBC has instructed HHAA that all Gun Show table holders are prohibited from placing items in plastic bags; this includes new or reused bags. However, the thicker 2.25 Mil bags are allowed under the Ordinance.

Keep in mind the ban applies to Gun Show table holders. Gun Show attendees are allowed to bring their own plastic bags.

It’s unpredictable when the “Opala” inspectors might show up at the Gun Show to enforce the ban. Regardless, the Gun Show must follow the law, and table holders at the October 2015 and future Gun Shows will be prohibited from using plastic bags. See <http://www.opala.org/solid_waste/archive/plastic_bag_ban.html> for more detail.

What’s the Law: Back-to-back gun sales without intermediate registration


Topic: Back-to-back gun sales without intermediate registration

QUESTION: Can I resell a long gun I just bought before I register it (before the five days) and skip registration altogether?

ANSWER: No. Each transaction must be completed. When you buy a gun from a seller, you have five days to register it at HPD, and your seller must inform HPD that you bought it. This is mandatory under Chapter 134 HRS. If you don’t register the gun and sell it to a new buyer, that person will not be able to register it since HPD will have a record that you bought the gun and not your buyer. If you bought the gun from a FFL, you could be deemed a straw buyer which is federal offense.

What’s the Law: Cartridge conversion cylinder in a percussion revolver


Topic: Cartridge conversion cylinder in a percussion revolver

QUESTION: I own several black powder revolvers. If I buy one cartridge conversion cylinder, what are my legal obligations with regard to registration? Do I need to register every gun that it will fit into? How do I get a permit for something I already have?
ANSWER: Whenever you install a cartridge conversion cylinder in percussion revolver, it becomes an unregistered handgun. You are required to have it registered at HPD. But if you have other percussion revolvers that your conversion cylinder would fit, they do not need to be registered provided you do not install the conversion cylinder.

How would you accomplish registration? Go down to HPD with your percussion revolver with the regular cylinder along with the conversion cylinder NOT installed. Tell them you want to register the revolver. Install the conversion cylinder after you are issued the registration paper. Does the 14-day wait period apply? Not sure. Do you need the hand gun training affidavit? Yes.

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