For those of you like me who are unfamiliar with the Rap Back database, here’s some background on it from the Bureau of Justice Statistics –
A “rap back” or hit notice program will inform an employer or other designated entity when an individual who has undergone a fingerprint-based background check, and whose fingerprints are retained by a criminal history repository after the check, is subsequently arrested. His or her fingerprints, obtained after the arrest, are matched against a database that contains the fingerprints that were initially submitted. Employers are then notified of the individual¿s arrest. Employers pay a fee for the service in some states; other states provide the service for free.
Most people entered in the “Rap Back” database elsewhere in the U.S. are those in “positions of trust,” such as school teachers and bus drivers, said Stephen Fischer of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division.
Hawaii could become the first state in the US to enter gun owners into an FBI database that will automatically notify police if an island resident is arrested anywhere else in the country.
“I don’t like the idea of us being entered into a database. It basically tells us that they know where the guns are, they can go grab them” said Jerry Ilo, a firearm and hunting instructor for the state. “We get the feeling that Big Brother is watching us.”
Supporters say the law would make Hawaii a leader in safe gun laws. Allison Anderman, a staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the bill was “groundbreaking,” and that she hadn’t heard of other states introducing similar measures.
Sen. Will Espero, who introduced the bill, and the Honolulu Police Department said Hawaii could serve as a model for other states if it becomes the first to enact the law.
Yet others say gun owners shouldn’t have to be entered in a database to practice a constitutional right.
“You’re curtailing that right by requiring that a name be entered into a database without doing anything wrong,” said Kenneth Lawson, faculty at the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.
Legal experts say the bill could face challenges, but would probably hold up in court. Recent Supreme Court rulings have clarified states’ ability to regulate gun sales, said David Levine, a law professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
The bill will undergo a legal review process by departments including the Attorney General’s Office, which supported the bill, before Gov. David Ige decides if he will sign it into law, said Cindy McMillan, a spokeswoman for the governor.
The cost to enter names in the database will be covered by a fee paid by gun owners, which wasn’t defined in the bill.
Even though other states don’t enter gun owners in the database, Honolulu Police Department Maj. Richard Robinson said it will still benefit Hawaii police. Right now, Hawaii gun owners undergo a background check only when they register a gun, so police have no way of knowing if they’re disqualified from owning a gun in the future unless they try to register a new firearm.
“We were only discovering things by accident,” said Robinson, who helped draft the bill. “They happen to come register another firearm, we run another background check, and then we find out they’re a prohibited person.” That happens about 20 times each year, he said.
Some local gun owners say the law confirms their fear that the government would know exactly who and where people keep their firearms.
“This is an extremely dangerous bill. Exercising a constitutional right is not inherently suspicious,” said Amy Hunter for the National Rifle Association. “Hawaii will now be treating firearms as suspect and subject to constant monitoring.”
Here we go again with a handful of gun grabbers forcing the majority of the gun-owning citizens to fall in line. This ridiculous bill would put thousands of names into a database, when the incidents of a prohibited person registering a gun only happen about 20 times a year.
With everyone in the law making process from the Chief of Police to the AG to the Governor on board with this, Hawaiians are set to lose a lot of their 2A rights. Just as important, much of their right to privacy regarding ownership of guns will be lost too – when they’ve done nothing wrong. To add insult to injury they’ll be forced to pay the fee to get themselves into this unwanted database.
What’s not clear is if the process starts once the bill is implemented or if they’ll retro-fill it with people who have already registered their purchases.
If I understand correctly, perhaps this little tidbit I found at the FBI might be their saving grace (bolding mine) –
Rap Back Service provides authorized agencies with notification of criminal, and, in limited cases, civil activity of individuals that occurs after the initial processing and retention of criminal or civil transactions. 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 placed in positions of trust and notification to users of criminal activity for those individuals placed on probation or parole.
What are your thoughts? Is that something that might be helpful to negate this bill?