By a more than 2-to-1 margin, Hawaii voters want a ban on semi-automatic military-style assault weapons in the islands.

An even larger percentage (79 percent) support a national law expanding background checks for gun sales made at gun shows and over the Internet.

A healthy majority (62 percent) also likes the idea of a ballot initiative system at the state level that would allow residents to place issues directly before voters just by getting enough valid signatures on a petition.

But should Memorial Day be held every May 30 rather than the Monday that falls at the end of May? It’s something U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa has proposed through federal legislation.

Nope: By 51 percent to 31 percent, Hawaii voters don’t want to mess with their three-day weekends.

The Civil Beat Poll was conducted two weeks ago. Our pollster, Merriman River Group, randomly surveyed nearly 900 registered voters using touch-tone polling. People with cell phones are included in the mix of respondents.

On Monday, Civil Beat reported on the nail-biter contest between between U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa for the seat formerly held by Daniel K. Inouye.

Yesterday we ran this poll story: Fewer Than Half Of Voters Approve Of Abercrombie. The title kinda sums up the story.

Today concludes our latest crop of poll stories.

More Gun Control, Please

Hawaii has pretty strong gun control laws and low rates of gun violence.

That may explain why a comprehensive assault weapons ban proposed in the 2013 Hawaii Legislature did not even get a hearing.

But voters answering Civil Beat’s questionnaire were unambiguous in their desire to ban assault weapons here and expand background checks nationally.

With rare exception, they included large numbers of men and women, people of all ages, the educated and less so, the wealthy and less so, union and military households, and most ethnic groups we surveyed.

One of those exceptions was Filipinos, who were divided on the assault weapons ban. Politically speaking, the same divided views came from voters identifying themselves as conservative or Republican. And folks lacking a high school degree were split on the question of background checks.

Of note: On Tuesday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law a measure that closes a loophole in Hawaii’s firearms law by requiring individuals who bring guns into the state from outside of Hawaii undergo a background check.

More Democracy, Please

Hawaii does not allow for initiative, referendum and recall — aka “direct democracy” — as is common in a number of states. California is probably the most well-known example, where voters in the Golden State have (for better or worse) capped property taxes, recalled governors and banned (for a short while, anyway) same-sex marriages.

A proposal was introduced in the 2013 Legislature that would have asked voters whether they wanted to amend the Hawaii Constitution to provide for initiative, referendum and recall. The bill suggested exceptions; for example, no initiatives would be allowed regarding land-use decisions, something handled by the state’s Land Use Commission and Board of Land and Natural Resources.

The Hawaii voters we surveyed love the idea of direct democracy — even Republicans. Maybe lawmakers will pay attention … even though it could lead to the recall of state officers.

Support for a citizen’s initiative process is at 62 percent in our poll, compared with 22 percent who oppose it. Six percent said it doesn’t matter and 10 percent were unsure.

Leave Memorial Day Alone

Rep. Hanabusa, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz for his Senate seat, made headlines in late May for arguing that Memorial Day should be held every May 30, as was the custom from after the Civil War until 1968. That’s when the U.S. Congress moved some holidays to the nearest Monday, allowing for three-day weekends for most workers.

Shifting Memorial Day back to May 30 was something the late Sen. Inouye, a decorated combat veteran, wanted as well.

Hawaii voters think otherwise, and by a 20-point margin. They include a lot of people who have served in the military or have family members in the ranks.

Only a plurality of voters with just a high school education, or those identifying themselves as Chinese or conservative, side with Hanabusa’s idea.

Click here for our full poll including questions, results and crosstabs here.

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