Gun laws in Hawaii

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Location of Hawaii in the United States

Gun laws in Hawaii regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of Hawaii, United States. Hawaii's gun laws are among the most restrictive in the country.

Summary table[edit]

Subject/Law Long guns Handguns Relevant Statutes Notes
State permit required to purchase? Yes Yes §134-2 Must be 21 years old to acquire a permit to purchase.
Firearm registration? Yes Yes HRS 0134-0003 Must be registered with county police chief within 5 days of purchase or arrival to Hawaii. Registration not required for black powder and pre-1899 firearms. May not bring firearm into the state if under 21.[1]
Assault weapon law? No Yes Law bans assault pistols with two or more banned features. Does not apply to rifles or shotguns with a barrel length greater than 16 inches
Magazine capacity restriction? No Yes HRS134-8(c)


Any magazine with a capacity of more than 10 rounds that can be inserted into a pistol is prohibited. Members of organizations are exempt from the pistol magazine limit at places of target shooting.
Owner license required? No No No license required to own any firearms in Hawaii, but all firearms, including those brought into the state by new residents, must be registered.
Permit required for concealed carry? N/A Yes HRS 0134-0009 Permits are granted on a shall issue basis. While Hawaii has a may-issue law and historically approved almost no concealed carry permit applications, its law has been permanently enjoined since the Supreme Court's decision in NYSPRA v. Bruen on June 23, 2022. This ruling held that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to carry a handgun outside the home, abrogating Hawaii's may-issue concealed carry law. Prior to the ruling, the chief of police in each county could grant a permit "in an exceptional case, when an applicant shows reason to fear injury to the applicant's person or property." On July 7, 2022, the state's attorney general formally acknowledged that the licensing officials could no longer enforce this clause in light of the Bruen decision.[2]
Permit required for open carry? Yes Yes By law, Hawaii is a Licensed Open Carry State, but since licenses are rarely issued, the state is Non-Permissive for open carry in practice. The chief of police may grant a permit "Where the urgency or the need has been sufficiently indicated" provided that the person "is engaged in the protection of life and property." In practice, Hawaii is "No-Issue," as issuing authorities rarely or never approve applications for permits.

On July 24, 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Hawaii's laws restricting open carry are unconstitutional.[3][4] That ruling was vacated on February 8, 2019 and the case was reheard en banc on September 24, 2020. [5] On March 24, 2021, the en banc court ruled that Hawaii's restrictions on the open carrying of firearms are outside the historical scope of the Second Amendment and therefore the laws restricting open carry are constitutional. [6]

No laws against open carrying long guns.

State preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes Municipalities may enact and enforce local regulations only if they are identical to, and provide the same penalty as, state law.
NFA weapons restricted? Yes Yes Machine guns, short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, and silencers/suppressors are prohibited from the average citizen. Certain Destructive Devices and AOWs are allowed with proper tax stamp and NFA paperwork from the ATF.
Peaceable journey laws? No No None Federal laws observed.
Background checks required for private sales? Yes Yes HRS §134-2 A person who wants to purchase a handgun or long gun must obtain a permit to acquire the ownership of a firearm, which requires a background check of the applicant.
Red flag law? Yes Yes Hawaii passed a red flag law in late June 2019.[7][8]
Duty to inform? Yes Yes

Hawaii[9][10][11] is a "may issue" state for concealed carry. "In an exceptional case, when an applicant shows reason to fear injury to the applicant's person or property," a license to carry a pistol or revolver (which allows both open and concealed carry) may be granted or denied at the discretion of the county police chief.[12] In practice however very few concealed carry licenses are granted, and issuance of carry permits is normally limited to active or retired law enforcement officers, security professionals and high-ranking military members. As of December 2017 there were 0 active Handgun Carry Licenses issued to private citizens in Hawaii, out of a population of 1.4 million.[13][14] Permits are valid in the issuing county only. Hawaii does not recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states.[15][16]

Acquiring a firearm in Hawaii requires a permit to acquire, issued to qualified applicants by the county police chief. There is a minimum 14- to 20-day waiting period for receiving a permit. A separate permit is required for each handgun(s) transaction to be acquired (valid for a period of 10 days), while a "long gun" permit can be used for any number of rifles or shotguns for a period of one year. In addition to passing a criminal background check, applicants must provide an affidavit of mental health, and agree to release their medical records. First time applicants are required to pay to be fingerprinted by the FBI. When applying to acquire a handgun, a handgun safety training course affidavit or hunter's education card is also required.[17]

Firearms acquired within the state must be registered with the chief of police within 5 days. Firearms brought in from out of state, including those owned prior to moving to Hawaii, must be registered within 3 days of arrival. Registration of firearms brought in from out of state does not involve a waiting period, however an FBI fingerprint and background check will be conducted. Registration is not required for black-powder firearms or firearms manufactured before 1899.[18]

Carrying a loaded firearm, concealed or not concealed, including in a vehicle, is a class B felony. Unloaded firearms that are secured in a gun case and are accompanied by a corresponding permit are allowed to be transported in a vehicle between the permitted owner's residence, business or sojourn and: a place of repair; a target range; a licensed dealer's place of business; an organized, scheduled firearms show or exhibit; a place of formal hunter or firearm use training or instruction; or a police station.[19]

Fully automatic firearms, shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches long, and rifles with barrels less than 16 inches long are prohibited by state law. Also banned are handgun magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and semi-automatic handguns with certain combinations of features that the state has defined as assault pistols.[9]

Non-residents may transport a firearm to the state, which requires registration at a police station within 72 hours of arrival. Current law requires fingerprinting and photograph. A permit is provided for each firearm make/model/serial number. Subsequent registration of other firearms do not require the fingerprinting and photograph (nor the fee). Once registered the permit is valid statewide in all counties.

Firearms that are lost, stolen, or destroyed are required to be reported to the police within 24 hours.[20]


  1. ^ "Measure Status". Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  2. ^ Shikada, Holly (July 7, 2022). "Public Carry Licensing Under Hawaiʻi Law Following New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen" (PDF). Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  3. ^ Young v. Hawaii, 896 F.3d 1044 (9th Cir. 2018).
  4. ^ Note, Recent Case: Ninth Circuit Panel Holds Open-Carry Law Infringes Core Right to Bear Arms in Public, 132 Harv. L. Rev. 2066 (2019).
  5. ^ Volokh, Eugene (February 8, 2019). "Right to Carry Guns in Public Headed for Ninth Circuit En Banc - Volokh Conspiracy". Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  6. ^ Young v. Hawaii, ___ F.3d ___ (9th Cir. 2021).
  7. ^ "'Red Flag' Gun Law Signed by Hawaii Governor". July 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  8. ^ "Measure Status". Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  9. ^ a b State Firearms Laws and Published Ordinances for Hawaii – ATF
  10. ^ "State Gun Laws: Hawaii", National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  11. ^ "Hawaii State Law Summary", Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  12. ^ "Hawaii Revised Statutes §134–9: Licenses to carry". Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  13. ^ [1], FFirearm-Registrations in Hawaii 2017.
  14. ^ "Women Tell Lawmakers They Want the Right to Protect Themselves with a Concealed Firearm", Hawaii Reporter, February 17, 2006 Archived January 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Hawaii Concealed Carry CCW Laws and Information on Archived November 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Hawaii Concealed Carry Permit Information on". Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  17. ^ "Hawaii Gun Laws – Honolulu Police Department". July 17, 2011. Archived from the original on November 29, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  18. ^ "Hawaii Gun Laws – Hawaii Rifle Association". May 3, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  19. ^ "Carrying or use of firearm in the commission of a separate felony; place to keep firearms; loaded firearms; penalty". July 17, 2011. Archived from the original on November 19, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  20. ^ "Measure Status". Retrieved May 20, 2019.