Hawai’i’s gun control laws are the among the most strict in the nation, but
some people on Kaua’i are saying more needs to be done, especially in the
At a presentation about gun control, community members spoke out
about firearms violence becoming a bigger and bigger problem in recent
“Just generally, I think that we hear more about it, and the
youngsters are beginning to get a hold of guns,” said Jenny Yukimura of
Another resident said that given the fact that Kaua’i was an island
where most people coming in need to pass through security checks at airports,
it would be easy to create restrictions on guns.
“This island might be a
good place to set a gun control model for the U.S., at least with handguns,” he
Hawai’i’s laws do allow counties to enact their own ordinances to
prevent gun violence.
Audience members said that at the very least gun
awareness and education needs to be implemented in the island’s schools,
especially after hearing about a Kapa’a Middle School student bringing a gun to
school in her backpack.
In Hawai’i, it is a crime to store or leave a
firearm within the reach of a minor.
“I think as an island it’s easier
today to have access to handguns,” said another audience member.
meeting was held by Mieko and Masaichi Hattori, a Japanese couple whose son was
slain in Louisiana by a gun-wielding homeowner when the boy stepped onto his
“Even though it happened over there, this hits very close to
home,” one resident said.
Here are some facts and figures about guns in
There are upwards of 400,000 registered firearms in the state, and
200,000 of those are in Honolulu.
Just how many firearms there are
registered on Kaua’i itself is difficult to ascertain, police say, due to
inconsistent record keeping in the past.
From January to June of this year,
551 weapons were registered with the Kaua’i Police Department.
From 1980 to
1999, 8,000 applications for firearms were made to the KPD. But those figures
are eschewed since people may register one to six weapons per
Gun-related murders, like what happened recently on the North Shore,
where a man allegedly stole a number of guns, and, police say, used one of
them on his girlfriend’s father, are still rarities on island, police
“Through whatever good fortune, our level of violent crime on island
is so low, it’s not really an issue,” Kaua’i Police Chief George Freitas said.
But he quickly added that firearms as a home safety issue is a big
What really troubles him is citizens arming themselves as a way of
protecting their home.
After two brutal assaults against women occurred on
the West Side, some citizens said they were planning to go out and buy
That’s a safety measure that could easily backfire, Freitas
For one, he’s heard of cases where an intruder actually ends up
shooting the homeowner with his or her own gun.
Also, citizens who show up
armed to help police can get themselves in big trouble.
“In a stressful
situation like a robbery, we want to make sure that the only people holding
weapons are the police,” he said. When the reaction time is critical, it’s
sometimes hard for police to discern a bad guy from some assisting citizen, he