What is the Law on Murder in Hawaii and What are the Punishments for it?
We all still remember the day in 2017 when Stephen Paddock went to a Las Vegas hotel room and murdered 59 innocent lives using 23 firearms. He was called out as a mentally sick person. Usage of guns to commit a murder tops the list of weapons used to execute this crime.
Gun violence coupled with an unstable mind is a lethal combination and can result in some murders and loss of human lives by other means. Let us quickly look at how murder law in Hawaii deals with gun-related deaths and mental health.
Facts about the mental state of convicts:
- It is a myth that people who commit homicides and violent crimes have unstable minds. On the contrary, people with such illnesses make up only a small number of murder related offenders.
- People with unstable minds and having mental issues are typically a threat to themselves. They are likely to harm themselves than inflict any injuries upon others.
- People with mental illnesses become victims and fall prey to violence.
- Substance abuse has seen to be prevalent amongst people who have committed violent acts and murders. Several psychiatric patients and non-patients are known to have shown symptoms of substance abuse at the time they were charged with murder.
- Personality disorders are socially objectionable behaviors that the person exhibits. Although people have been found with such disorders, there is not enough statistics to prove that such individuals also possess violent behaviors and can cause harm to others.
While reporting murders, sometimes media emphasizes too much on their mental state without showing the overall numbers of criminals having no mental ailments.
Such statements create societal biases towards those who are diagnosed with psychiatric issues. These biases further contribute to non-disclosure of need for psychiatric help and treatment which may cause violence and deaths.
Some observe that the maintenance of mental health is of utmost importance in the US and this area definitely needs a lot of funding. Despite all the complexities in this domain, it is very important to gauge the convict’s psychological, biological upbringing, legal factors, and sociocultural influence. The murder law in Hawaii factors in all these aspects when considering the person’s state of mind while he committed the murder.
Murder related crime rate in Hawaii:
We know Hawaii to have the lowest gun-related murders in the US. Be it urban or rural areas, Hawaii has relatively few instances of gun violence. Listed below are some facts prevalent in Hawaii which make it one of the safest places:
- Low unemployment rate– Gun related murders are less because of the culture and low unemployment rate of the State.
- Registration of firearms – Hawaii requires all rifles and handguns to be registered appropriately. Before issuing any new weapon, police will run all background checks on the buyer. While the arms law and the murder law does not limit the number of firearms possessed by an individual however, they do suggest that every buyer has a valid license before making such purchases. Such requisites help in filtering people with mental illness, convictions for the usage of drugs and sexual offenders.
- Gun ownership rate– Hawaii has the lowest rate of gun ownership. It has been found in a study that almost only one-quarter of houses in Hawaii possess guns whereas the national average stands at 57 percent.
In a study, it was found that all mass shootings using guns in the US have typically been carried out by men. In the US, nearly 62 percent of men possess guns and are almost three times susceptible to committing gun-related violence.
US data between 1999-2016 was analyzed to find the usage of firearms causing deaths and the numbers were alarming. The numbers showed that guns and firearms were primary used methods of homicide and suicide thereby clearly suggesting that the US needs a stronger gun’s control act (similar to Hawaii) to reduce murders.