Washington, DC – Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute) today filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to examine any potential involvement by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in preparing or advocating for Hawaii’s recently-passed law to restrict the exercise of constitutionally-protected gun rights.

CoA Institute President and CEO, and former federal judge, Alfred J. Lechner, Jr.: “While touted as an important public safety measure designed to encourage responsible gun ownership and assist law enforcement, in reality this legislation will place law-abiding American citizens into a database maintained by the federal government to monitor criminals. This measure has the potential to severely chill gun ownership in Hawaii and limit individuals from exercising their Second Amendment rights.”

On June 23, 2016, Hawaii Governor David Ige signed into law SB 2954, thereby authorizing “county police departments in Hawaii to enroll firearms applicants and individuals registering their firearms” into a federal database known as “Rap Back,” which is a centralized “criminal record monitoring service” maintained by the FBI.

The Hawaiian gun law is unprecedented.  It makes Hawaii the first state to submit information about its gun-owning citizens to the federal government. In light of current efforts by the Obama administration to create a national gun registry—which would be prohibited under current law —there is significant interest in examining the role, if any, played by the federal government in the development of this new law.

The full FOIA request is available HERE