New bill takes aim at guns and drinking

We all know that drinking and driving don’t mix. We also know if you are pulled over on suspicion of being under the influence you will have to take breathalyzer or a blood test.

“With people driving a vehicle, they’re able to be given a breathalyzer or blood test because of implied consent laws regarding drivers license and driving,” said Sen. Will Espero, D-Ewa Beach, Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point.

But what about these alcohol tests being given in other situations?

“We don’t have that with gun permits or to carry a concealed weapon, so this is what we’re looking at now,” Espero said.

So what does House Bill 888 look to do?

“If a person owns a loaded firearm in their possession and they’re drunk and it’s discharged, then police may be able to give them a blood test or a breathalyzer,” said Espero.

Espero says the bill was brought up after an incident involving a federal agent.

“Some of this is from the Chris Deedy case where we had a federal agent who appeared to be drunk. Unfortunately, they did not give him any test to see if he was intoxicated,” said Espero.

If the bill becomes law, “most of the individuals who this would impact would be law enforcement officers or retired law enforcement,” said Espero.

KHON2 spoke with SHOPO, the police officers union, to find out what they thought about the bill.

“The department and the union especially, we don’t condone officers being intoxicated and having their firearms readily available,” said SHOPO president Tenari Maafala.

While Maafala says he supports the intent of the bill, he says he does have his concerns and believes the bill needs to be looked into.

“We’re always willing to sit down with our lawmakers and come up with something we can work together for the greater good,” said Maafala.

The bill has already passed the House, it is now up for its third reading in the Senate.

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