FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

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Hawaii Gun Laws

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Introduction

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.

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A. State Constitution

Regarding the right to bear arms, the Hawaii Constitution states:

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

[http://gunla.ws/hi1]

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B. Scope of Preemption

Hawaii does not appear to have a specific preemption statute.

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C. Reciprocal Carry

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.”  [http://gunla.ws/hi2]

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D. NFA Items

MGs, SBRs, SBSs, and suppressors are prohibited for non-LEO individuals. Certain DDs and AOWs are allowed with proper tax stamp and NFA paperwork from the ATF(E).

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E. 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. [http://gunla.ws/edah]

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F. Self-defense Laws

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. [http://gunla.ws/hi3]

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G. Waiting Period

There is a fourteen (14) day waiting period after application before a permit to purchase a firearm will be issued. [http://gunla.ws/eqkw]

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H. 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.  [http://gunla.ws/9mnb]

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I. 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. [http://gunla.ws/6y3t]

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J. Duty to Inform

No. Hawaii does not require individuals to inform a LEO of a permit or license to carry but if an Officer asks about a weapon, by law, an answer must be supplied. You must have a valid identification at all times in which You are in actual possession of a firearm and must display proper identification upon demand of a LEO.

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K. Criminal Provisions

Under Hawaii law, it is a crime to possess a firearm by gift, purchase, inheritance or to transport a firearm unless it has first been registered with a local official:

“Every person arriving in the State who brings or by any other manner causes to be brought into the State a firearm of any description, whether usable or unusable, serviceable or unserviceable, modern or antique, shall register the firearm within three days after arrival of the person or of the firearm, whichever arrives later, with the chief of police of the county of the person’s place of business or, if there is no place of business, the person’s residence or, if there is neither a place of business nor residence, the person’s place of sojourn.” [http://gunla.ws/hi2]

  • A permit is required in order to purchase a firearm, and You must pass a background check to obtain this permit.

For a list of places where carrying firearms is prohibited, see:

[http://gunla.ws/hi4]

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L. Do “No Gun Signs” Have the Force of Law?

Yes. If a property or establishment has a “No Guns” sign or the person in lawful possession communicates to you that guns are not allowed, you are prohibited from carrying on the property or into the establishment. Failure to obey such signs or verbal warnings constitutes trespass. [http://gunla.ws/14wl]

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M. 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.

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N. Open Carry

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.

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More