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Hawaii Gun Laws

Hawaii has some of the most restrictive gun laws of any state. Prospective gun buyers in Hawaii will likely find hurdles at each step of the gun-buying process. Hawaii has strict requirements for firearms licensing and registration, as well as numerous hardware restrictions. Hawaii is a ‘may issue’ state, meaning that the chief of police has full discretion in denying or approving any applicants. These strict regulations have made Hawaii one of the least gun-friendly states in the nation.

Hawaii Gun Laws at a Glance

Concealed Carry Premit Required Yes
Open Carry Premitted With Permit
Waiting period before purchasing No
Lost and Stolen Firearm Reporting Yes
Firearms License Required for Purchasing Yes
Universal Background Check Yes
Firearm Registration Yes
Large Capacity Magazine Ban Yes

Firearm License Requirements

Anyone wishing to own a firearm in Hawaii must first obtain a permit. Any applicants that apply and are denied must be reported to law enforcement.

The application for a firearm license must include the applicant’s:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Sex
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Country of citizenship
  • Social Security number
  • Alien or admission number
  • Information regarding the applicant’s mental health history

The applicant must also be fingerprinted and photographed by the police department in the applicant’s county of registration. He or she must also sign a waiver allowing the chief of police access to any mental health records or records that have a bearing on the applicant’s mental health.
A permit to acquire a handgun is valid only for that handgun. A separate application and permit must be obtained for each further transaction. Permits to acquire a rifle or a shotgun allow the permit holder to make subsequent purchases of rifles or shotguns for one year.

To acquire a permit for a handgun, the applicant must complete one of the following:

  • A state-approved hunter education course
  • A firearms safety course available to the general public offered by a state or county law enforcement agency
  • A firearms safety course offered to law enforcement officers, security guards, or any division of law enforcement or security enforcement by any state or county law enforcement agency
  • A firearms training course conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association certified instructor that provides:
    • At least two hours of firing training at a firing range
    • At least four hours of classroom instruction regarding the safe use, handling, and storage of firearms, as well as education on the firearm laws of Hawaii

There is a mandatory waiting period of at least 14 days after the date of the application. All permits must be issued or denied within 20 days of the application.

Background Checks

Anyone wishing to obtain a firearm in Hawaii must apply for a firearms permit, which requires a background check of the applicant.
This background check is handled by the county chief of police, who must perform a search of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database.

Gun Shows

Hawaii does not regulate gun shows. Anyone wishing to obtain a long gun or a handgun from a private seller must obtain a permit, which requires a background check of the applicant.

Hardware and Ammunition Restrictions

Hardware Restrictions
Assault Weapons Hawaii prohibits the manufacture, possession, sale or other transfer, barter, trade, gift, or acquisition of assault pistols. See below for “assault pistol” definition. This does not include any weapon with a barrel 16 or more inches in length.
50 Caliber Rifles No restrictions.
Machine Guns No restrictions.
Large Capacity Magazines Hawaii prohibits “manufacture, possession, sale, barter, trade, gift, transfer, or acquisition of detachable ammunition magazines with a capacity in excess of ten rounds which are designed for or capable of use with a pistol.”
Ammunition Hawaii prohibits the manufacture, possession, sale, barter, trade, gift, transfer, or acquisition of any ammunition:
Designed to explode or segment upon impact.
Coated in Teflon or any other substance primarily intended to enhance its capacity to penetrate metal or pierce protective armor.

Assault Pistols Under state law, Hawaii defines an assault pistol as any semi automatic handgun that accepts a detachable magazine and meets one of the following:

  • An ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip
  • A threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward hand grip, or silencer
  • A shroud that is attached to or partially or completely encircles the barrel and permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the second hand without being burned
  • A manufactured weight of fifty ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded
  • A centerfire pistol with an overall length of twelve inches or more
  • It is a semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm

Prohibited Persons

In Hawaii, no person shall own, possess, or control any type of firearm or ammunition if he or she:

  • Is currently on probation as a “felony first offender”
  • Has received a conditional release for a felony offense
  • Has been convicted of a felony
  • Has been convicted of a felony or is under indictment for any crime of violence (including sexual assault and stalking)
  • Has been convicted of or is under indictment for the illegal sale of any drugs
  • Is or has been in treatment for the addiction to or abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Has ever been acquitted of a crime due to mental disorder or defect
  • Is or has been diagnosed as having a significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, unless the person has been medically documented to no longer be affected by this condition
  • Has been restrained by a court from contacting, threatening, or physically abusing any person
  • Is less than 25 years old and has been adjudicated to have committed a felony, two or more crimes of violence, or the illegal sale of any drug
  • Is a minor who:
    • Has been under treatment for addiction to alcohol or drugs
    • Is a fugitive
    • Has been determined not to have been responsible for a criminal act on account of a mental disorder, disease, or defect
  • Is subject to any gun violence prevention order
  • Has been convicted of a third (or subsequent) offense for failing to report the loss or theft of a firearm

Prohibited Places

Location Restrictions Exceptions
Schools Guns are prohibited in schools. None.
Vehicles Guns are permitted in vehicles with the proper license or permit. None.
Locations and events selling alcohol Firearms permitted with the proper license. Firearms prohibited where posted.

Firearms and ammo must generally be confined to a person’s place of business or residence. However, a person may carry unloaded firearms or ammunition in an enclosed container traveling between their place of business or residence and a:

  • Place of repair
  • Target range
  • Licensed dealer’s place of business
  • Organized firearms show or exhibit
  • Place of formal firearms or hunting training or exhibition
  • Law enforcement station

Concealed Carry Laws

Notify Officer Yes
“No Gun” Signs Enforced
In-Vehicle Carry Permitted
Restaurant Carry Permitted unless posted
State Park Carry Not Permitted
While Hunting Not Permitted

Obtaining a Concealed Carry License

Hawaii is a “may issue” state. This means that local law enforcement has the discretion to determine whether or not to issue a concealed carry permit to a given applicant.

Requirements for a Concealed Carry License
Applicants for concealed carry licenses in Hawaii must:

Applicants for concealed carry licenses in Hawaii must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a lawful resident of Hawaii
  • Show a valid reason to fear injury to his or her self or property
  • Be able to possess a firearm legally under Hawaii law
  • Not have been determined to be insane or incapacitate under Hawaii Law
  • Be qualified to use a firearm
  • Meet all federal requirements

Concealed Carry Firearms Training

Although Hawaii does not require applicants to have any firearms safety training or education, this type of training is required to obtain a permit to purchase or possess a handgun.

Concealed Carry Location Restrictions

Even with a proper and valid concealed carry license, you may not carry firearms:

  • In secured areas of airports or on airplanes
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by either state or federal law

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information. Gun laws can change frequently, especially at the state and local levels. Application of gun laws can be unique to an individual’s situation. We recommend that each individual consult with a competent and qualified legal professional before purchasing, transporting, or using any firearm or firearm-related product.