In the state of Hawaii the gun laws and state statutes regarding sell, possess, or carry firearms are strict and specific. Violating these gun laws will result in criminal offense charges considered as felonies and misdemeanors.
Like Alaska, Hawaii is unique in that it shares no borders with any other U.S. states. It is most unique in that it has only water boundaries and the entire state is a series of islands. Hawaii has, perhaps, the most restrictive gun laws out of all the United States. It is very important to be fully versed and aware of the laws in this state before traveling there. The four (4) major islands are Hawaii, Honolulu, Kauai, and Maui. The total population is about 1,400,000. Open carry is legal in Hawaii with a valid license to carry, but carry licenses are very difficult to obtain in Hawaii.
The following are these gun laws and statutes for the state of Hawaii:
It is illegal for any individual to acquire ownership of any firearm by any means without proper clearance from the county Chief of Police.
It is illegal to take possess of inherited firearms without first securing a proper permit to possess these firearms.
It is required to have license to carry concealed weapons and/or firearms.
To apply for a permit to acquire firearm(s) individuals are required to provide the following to the issuing officer:
- Valid (Non-expired) Photo I. D. This includes State Issued Driver’s License and/or Passport.
- Permit to acquire this application provided by the Chief of Police for your county.
- Mental Health Waiver stating from your doctor that you do not have any mental conditions prohibiting you from possessing a firearm.
- Firearms questionnaire acquired from issuing office completed by the individual.
- Medical Waiver stating the individual does not have any medical conditions that would hinder the proper use of the firearm.
- Fingerprint card obtained from the FBI office.
- Background check obtained from FBI office.
- Hunters Education/Handgun Safety Training Affidavit stating individual has completed both courses.
- A completed application for this permit.
- Provide the seller’s information such as name, address, and phone number.
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship
Mandatory to register a firearm within seventy-two hours upon arriving in the state of Hawaii. Residents have up to five days to register firearms.
There is a fourteen (14) day waiting period after application before a permit to purchase a firearm will be issued.
Firearms not required to register:
- Any firearms manufactured prior to 1899 which fires only loose black powder.
- Firearms designed not to fire or capable of being fired.
It is illegal to possess firearms belonging to others without your own permit for the gun regardless of having permission.
It is illegal to purchase for or lend firearms to any individual unauthorized to possess the firearm.
It is legal for individuals sixteen and older or individuals under sixteen accompanied by an adult to: (1) carry/use rifle and/or shotgun for the purpose of hunting or target shooting. (2) Hunting license are required to hunt, but not for target practice.
All loaded weapons are required to remain at the home of the individual permitted to possess firearm(s).
It is illegal to carry loaded firearms.
It is legal to transport unloaded weapons and/or firearms as long as the ammunition is contained in a closed case such as one designed for a handgun.
Universal Background Checks
Every sale or transfer of firearms, even by private parties, is required to go through an FFL to conduct a background check.
Individual who may not own, possess, or purchase a firearm include:
- Fugitives from justice.
- Any individual under indictment
- Any individual convicted of a felony
- Any individual convicted of violent crimes
- Any individual convicted of illegal sale of controlled substances, narcotics, and/or prescription drugs.
- Any individual with a known mental disease and/or disorder.
- Any individual diagnosed with behavioral, mental, and/or emotional disorders.
Law enforcement officers have the right to confiscate any firearm of any kind and/or ammunition from residences where domestic violence has been committed.
High Capacity Magazine Ban
Hawaii prohibits the intrastate manufacture, sale, and possession of magazines that can be inserted into a pistol and are capable of holding more than ten (10) rounds. Members of organizations are exempt from the pistol magazine limit at places of target shooting.
Gun and accessories prohibited from Hawaii:
- Automatic firearms
- Sawed off shotguns
- Sawed off rifles
- Silencers and/or mufflers
- Hand grenades
- Blasting caps, dynamite, bombs, and/or any explosives
- Armor piercing bullets
- Exploding bullets
- Modified handguns
- Ammunition magazines exceeding ten rounds.
Carrying Firearms in Vehicles
Hawaii generally bans carrying firearms in vehicles without a carry permit. Hawaii permits the open carrying of a long gun in a motor vehicle, but only if traveling to and from hunting or target shooting locations with a valid hunting license. Handguns may only be carried with a permit.
Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol
Yes. There is no law stating it is illegal. You can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then You are prohibited from carrying into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant. You can carry Your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm.
Hawaii has a Castle Doctrine but no SYG law. You do not have a duty to retreat if attacked in Your dwelling or place of work. You have a duty to retreat if attacked in public, and if You can retreat safely by surrendering possession of property to someone robbing You or by complying with their demands, You must do so before resorting to deadly force. You may use deadly force in self-defense only if You cannot retreat or are attacked in Your dwelling, and if You reasonably believe it is imminently necessary to prevent death or SBI, kidnapping, rape, or forcible sodomy.
Open carry is illegal in Hawaii. A firearm may only be openly carried when hunting with a pistol and You must possess the proper license while doing so.
By statute, Hawaii does not have a reciprocal carry statute. Hawaii requires an application for a license to carry to be submitted and approved by the Chief of Police where there is an established necessity (including fear of injury to one’s person or property). There is no provision for persons with carry licenses from other states. Additionally, even permits issued in the state of Hawaii are only good within the county of issuance.
“In an exceptional case, when an applicant shows reason to fear injury to the applicant’s person or property, the chief of police of the appropriate county may grant a license to an applicant who is a citizen of the United States of the age of twenty-one years or more or to a duly accredited official representative of a foreign nation of the age of twenty-one years or more to carry a pistol or revolver and ammunition therefore concealed on the person within the county where the license is granted. Where the urgency or the need has been sufficiently indicated, the respective chief of police may grant to an applicant of good moral character who is a citizen of the United States of the age of twenty-one years or more, is engaged in the protection of life and property, and is not prohibited under section 134-7 from the ownership or possession of a firearm, a license to carry a pistol or revolver and ammunition therefore unconcealed on the person within the county where the license is granted. The chief of police of the appropriate county, or the chief’s designated representative, shall perform an inquiry on an applicant by using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, to include a check of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement databases where the applicant is not a citizen of the United States, before any determination to grant a license is made. Unless renewed, the license shall expire one year from the date of issue.”