Hawaii just took a major step forward for gun control in the US by becoming the first state to place its residents who own guns on a federal criminal database in order to monitor them, Reuters reports.
This means that if these gun owners are arrested in other states, Hawaii police will be notified. Then, they can evaluate whether the individual should continue to possess a firearm.
The FBI database is known as "Rap Back," and was previously utilized to keep an eye on criminal activities for individuals under criminal investigation, or for people in positions of trust (aka, school teachers and daycare workers).
Hawaii Governor David Ige – a Democrat – signed the bill into law amidst heightened tensions surrounding the issue of gun control in the wake of the Orlando shooting. In recent weeks, Democrats in Congress have taken dramatic and highly publicized actions to push Republicans toward adopting new gun control measures.
In a statement, Ige said,
This is about our community's safety and responsible gun ownership. This system will better enable our law enforcement agencies to ensure the security of all Hawai'i residents and visitors to our islands. This bill has undergone a rigorous legal review process by our Attorney General's office, and we have determined that it is our responsibility to approve this measure for the sake of our children and families.
Gun owners in Hawaii were already required to register their firearms. This includes visitors.
This new law means visitors could also be added to the database, but can petition for removal after departing the state, according to the Hawaii attorney general's office.