It’s not really surprising, but it seems Hawaii residents are registering more guns than ever. At least, that’s what a new report from the state Attorney General’s office says. Here’s a sample of their findings, from a press release sent out today:
“A record total of 22,765 personal/private firearm permit applications were processed statewide during 2013, marking a 4.6% increase over the 21,864 applications processed in 2012. Of the applications processed in 2013, 94.6% were approved and resulted in issued permits; 4.3% were approved but subsequently voided after the applicants failed to return for their permits within the specified time period; and 1.0% were denied due to one or more disqualifying factors.”
According to the report, firearms registration has been steadily increasing in Hawaii over the last 14 years, which is how long the AG’s office has been compiling such data. “From 2000 through 2013, the number of statewide permit applications processed increased 350.8%, the number of firearms registered increased 446.2%, and the number of firearms imported increased 426.1%,” stated the press release.
Honolulu Civil Beat and the Honolulu Star Advertiser immediately blogged about the new report–you can read their posts here and here, respectively. Both news organizations jumped all over the word “record,” which is exactly what they did two years ago, when I wrote about a very AG report (you can read that Mauifeed post here).
But what’s missing from the new AG report, and the coverage so far of it, is the same context that was absent back in 2012–just how many Hawaii residents own firearms?
Two years ago, I asked this question of Paul A. Perrone, the Chief of Research and Statistics at the state AG’s office (who also authored the latest registrations report). He cited an estimate that 7.4 percent of the Hawaii population owned a firearm, which he got from a 2010 survey.
That’s a pretty small percentage, but it’s also four years old. So today I contacted him and asked if he had any new estimate. He said no.
“The 2010 survey report is still the latest, and we do not anticipate doing another, due to increasingly low response rates for practically any sort of survey these days,” Perrone emailed me. “In addition, the survey question in 2010 asked about things that have been done or placed in one’s home in order to feel safer from crime, and 7.4% of the respondents reported possessing a firearm for this specific purpose. The question did not, however, inquire about firearms ownership in general (hunting, recreation, historical collections, a professional necessity, etc.).”
Which means the Attorney General’s office really doesn’t have any estimate as to how many state residents own a firearm, and never really did. And what’s more, Perrone says it probably won’t in the future.
“Even just considering the home security angle, the 7.4% figure seems unreasonably low by any sort of national standard,” Perrone added. “In all honesty, I can see how many firearms owners in Hawaii would be reluctant to accurately report on that specific topic to the state’s Attorney General.”
Click here to read the new AG firearms registration report.
Photo: Beercha/Wikimedia Commons