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Study: Number of registered guns in Hawaii unknown

February 7, 2019

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii does not have an accurate count of legally owned and registered guns, and there is no reliable way to find out how many are in the state, according to a state study.

The Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau study shows an average of 32 percent of all murders in the state involved firearms from 1994 to 2017, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

The national average was nearly 60 percent during the same period.

The state attorney general’s office counted nearly 450,000 new firearm registrations from 2007 to 2017, according to the study. The office “cautiously” estimated that Hawaii has about 2 million privately owned guns.

“Police departments’ firearm registration records date back to at least the 1920s, and it would be a monumental task of limited practical value to determine which persons and firearms still exist in Hawaii,” the office said the report.

The Honolulu Police Department maintains firearm registrations dating back to 1932, recording 728,177 guns owned by 103,592 people on Oahu, according to the report.

Kauai police reported 20,034 registered firearms. Maui officials said in the report that their firearm registrations before the mid-1980s are not recorded electronically, noting a manual count “is not feasible.”

Big Island officials did not give a gun estimate for the report. A gun could be registered each time it is bought and sold, and gun owners could move out of state, making it difficult to obtain an accurate count of registered firearms, officials said.

State lawmakers will consider a bill that would create a so-called red flag law, which would temporarily prevent people from possessing guns.

The measure would create a process for police or family members to petition a court to prevent a person from accessing firearms if that person “poses a danger of causing bodily injury to oneself or another.”

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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