Hawaii’s rate of gun violence is the lowest in the nation according to the US Census Bureau the last time the statistics were compiled nationally. The rate per 100,000 persons is 2.6. Why are Hawaii’s killings by guns lower than US mainland?
Local news in many cities is filled with reports of gun violence. In Hawaii, however, there are crime stories that usually do not include gun deaths. There may be reports of thefts, drownings and a host of other criminal events; but more often than not the news includes few reports of gun deaths.
Hawaii has strict laws referencing ownership of guns. Background checks, education and a long history that favors negotiation as opposed to violent dispute form the foundation for Hawaii’s low rate of gun use and consequently gun deaths.
As Hawaii becomes more and more a part of the modern world, its youth often romanticize the mainland’s behaviors. For that reason traditional Hawaiian music often gives way to rap and reggae and tee shirts with the message “Defend Hawaii” with the image of an assault rifle on the back of the shirt. Despite this, most people in Hawaii find the trend repugnant and in opposition to island culture.
A recent random survey of Hawaii residents finds most opposed to making it easier to own and use guns. They also oppose the tee shirts some youth have been wearing that offer a violent approach to handling disputes.
Despite Americans fascination with guns, the interpretation of the Second Amendment to refer specifically to individual rights as opposed to gun rights being linked with a militia, has been in recent years. Statistics show that the number of mass shootings in 2015 to date are greater than the number of days in the present year.
And the summation of information found by examining Hawaii’s experience with guns, and its laws, is that the tougher the gun laws, the fewer deaths by guns.