Lawmakers in the state of Hawaii have proposed entering gun owners into an FBI database in order to keep track of them.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) already maintains a database – called the Rap Back system – of people in “positions of trust” such as schoolteachers and bus drivers. The system is intended to be used to assist employers with background checks of prospective and current employees. Privacy SOS reported a couple years ago about how this Rap Back system works:
Here’s how it will work: the boss at a company or organization signs an agreement with the FBI to implement the “rap back” program. You’d like to work there, and submit to a background check to do so. Your fingerprints are taken before you get your job, a routine part of the criminal background check, your almost-boss tells you. The fingerprints are then sent to the FBI, whereupon the agency makes a determination about your criminal history, and informs your almost-boss about whether or not you are likely to be a good hire.
That was all old news. Here’s the kicker: under the new plan, the FBI will retain your fingerprints, even if you’ve never committed a crime, so that if you are arrested or get into any trouble, the agency can inform your boss of your arrest. Behind your back.
Hawaii wants to use this Rap Back system for gun owners. The Associated Press reported:
Hawaii could become the first state in the United States 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.
The bill was introduced by State Senator Will Espero. Major Richard Robinson with the Honolulu Police Department helped to draft the bill.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is of course quite opposed to the bill, calling it “extremely dangerous.” Amy Hunter with the NRA said, “Exercising a constitutional right is not inherently suspicious…Hawaii will now be treating firearms as suspect and subject to constant monitoring.”
Hawaii lawmakers and officials hope that other states will follow suit.