UPDATED 1/25/12 12:40 p.m.

A renewed gun-control debate is sweeping the country — and Hawaii is no exception.

Lawmakers here have introduced at least six gun-control bills. The proposals include an assault weapons ban, stricter regulation of ammunitions sales, a gun buy-back program and a prohibition on gun possession by persons with mental health issues, among others.

And there’s a good chance many of the bills will advance: their sponsors are in leadership positions in the House and Senate and many of the proposals mirror parts of President Barack Obama’s own plan to reduce gun violence. The deadline for measures to be filed with the Hawaii Legislature was Thursday at midnight.

The December shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., reignited the national debate over gun regulation. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden released a multi-pronged plan that includes stricter background checks for guns sales.

In Congress, Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Thursday introduced an assault weapons ban.

The issue also rose to the top of the agenda at last week’s U.S. Conference of Mayors, attended by three of Hawaii’s four county mayors.

Chances are good that Hawaii’s proposed gun-control bills will be given serious consideration. The sponsors behind many of them include veteran lawmakers who hold leadership roles in the new House and Senate power structures.

Rep. Karl Rhoads, now chair of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced the bill requiring proof of gun ownership for ammunition sales.

Sen. Les Ihara, Senate majority policy leader, introduced the assault weapons ban on the request of a constituent.1

A measure requiring annual renewals of firearm registrations was sponsored by Sens. Scott Nishihara and Gil Keith-Agaran, the latter of whom was formerly House Judiciary chair.

Rep. Scott Saiki, the new House majority leader, introduced a bill repealing the liability exemption enjoyed by National Rifle Association certified firearms instructors in the event a gun goes off during a class.

But not all of the firearms-related measures introduced at the Legislature were about stricter regulation. Republican Sen. Sam Slom introduced a bill allowing people to openly carry a firearm and proposed a repeal of the 10-round capacity limit for ammunition magazines.

Here’s a list of this year’s gun-related bills:

Firearms; Ammunition Sales or Distribution
Makes it unlawful to sell or distribute ammunition unless the purchaser provides proof that there is a firearm registered to the person with which the ammunition may be used.

Firearms Instructors; Exemption from Liability; Repeal
Repeals exemption of National Rifle Association certified firearms instructors from absolute liability for injury or damage caused by discharge of their firearms during the course of providing firearms training at a firing range to persons seeking to acquire a firearms permit.

Firearms; Ammunition Magazine Capacity
Repeals ten round capacity limit on detachable ammunition magazines.

Firearms; Assault Weapons; Machine Guns; Ban
Prohibits the distribution, transport, importation into the State, keeping for sale, or offering or exposing for sale assault weapons, or giving to another person assault weapon. Defines assault weapon. Prohibits the possession, sale, transfer, or use of a machine gun in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of certain crimes. Defines machine gun. Makes use of an assault weapon or machine gun in the course of committing murder in the first degree or second degree, manslaughter, kidnapping, sexual assault, assault in the first or second degree, robbery, burglary, or theft subject to criteria for extended term of imprisonment.

Firearms; Permits; Registration; Storage; Education and Training
Requires annual renewals of firearm registrations. Establishes a firearm registration fee for deposit into a new special fund to pay for mandatory firearm education and training to be attended by firearm owners at least once every two years. Requires any member of a household where a firearm is stored, when applying for a firearm permit to possess a firearm owned by another, to undergo the same evaluation of fitness to acquire a firearm as applicants for a firearm owner permit. Requires firearm owners who have a household member affected by substance abuse or mental disorder to provide annual proof to the police that the household member does not have access to the firearm.

Firearms; Open Carry License
Authorizes chiefs of police to issue licenses to openly carry a firearm. Details processes for license applications, renewals, and record keeping. Strictly prohibits openly carrying firearms under certain circumstances.

Prohibits any person who is a danger to self or danger to others from possessing, having custody or control of, receiving, purchasing, or attempting to receive or purchase firearms or other dangerous or deadly weapons. Creates a reporting system for persons who seriously threaten a readily identifiable person or persons to a mental health professional. Requires the department of public safety to create a database and list of persons prohibited from possessing, having custody or control of, receiving, purchasing, or attempting to receive or purchase firearms and other dangerous or deadly weapons, which will be accessible to law enforcement, mental health professionals, and sellers of firearms. Requires the department of public safety to make a list of persons whose license for firearms or other dangerous or deadly weapons has been revoked. Excepts any communication under the Act from applicable privileges.

Guns Buy-back Program; Appropriation
Appropriates $100,000 to the county police departments to initiate a gun buy-back program.

National Rifle Association Certified Firearms Instructors; Exemption; Absolute Liability
Exempts National Rifle Association certified firearms instructors from absolute liability for their firearms during the course of providing training under section 134-2(g)(4), Hawaii Revised Statutes

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