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Hawaii Gun Laws

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


“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.”

Gun Laws Overview

Permit to Purchase Yes Yes
Registration of Firearms Yes Yes
Licensing of Owners No No
Permit to Carry No Yes

The list and map below are included as a tool to assist you in validating your information.  We have made every effort to report the information correctly, however reciprocity and recognition agreements are subject to frequent change.  The information is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of law and does not include:  restrictions that may be placed on non-resident permits, individuals under the age of 21, qualifying permit classes, and/or any other factor which may limit reciprocity and/or recognition.  For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation.  YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

Castle Doctrine No Law
No-Net Loss No Legislation
Right to Carry Confidentiality Provisions Enacted
Right to Carry in Restaurants Legal
Right To Carry Laws Rights Restricted-Very Limited Issue
Right To Carry Reciprocity and Recognition None
Right to Keep & Bear Arms State Constitutional Provisions With Provisions
Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Select Map
Click on a State to see the Gun Law Profile


Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms

Antiques and Replicas

Firearms designed to fire loose black powder are not required to be registered. All other provisions are applicable to antiques and replicas.


The possession of all firearms and ammunition is restricted to the possessor’s place of business, residence, or sojourn, but it is lawful to carry firearms and ammunition in an enclosed container 3 or other suitable container from the place of purchase to the purchaser’s home, place of business, or place of sojourn, or between these places when moving, or between these places and a place of repair or a target range.


It is unlawful to possess or carry a loaded firearm on any public highway without a permit to carry. Exemptions:

•  Law enforcement officers, mail carriers, and members of military forces.4

•  Persons employed by the state, its subdivisions, or the U.S. whose duties require being armed while they are performing those duties or going to and from their respective places of duty.

•  Regularly enrolled members of any organization duly authorized to purchase or receive the firearms from the U.S. or from the state, provided they are at, or going to or from their places of assembly or target practice.

In an exceptional case, when the applicant shows reason to fear injury to his person or property, the respective chief of police may grant a license to carry a concealed firearm on his person within the county where the license is granted to a U.S. citizen or duly accredited official representative of a foreign nation age 21 or older.5

Where the urgency of the need has been sufficiently indicated to the respective chief of police, he may grant to an applicant of good moral character who is a citizen of the U S. of the age of 21 or older, who is engaged in the protection of life and property, a license to carry a handgun unconcealed on his person within the county where the license is granted.

Licenses to carry are valid for one year. There is a license fee of $10.00. A license will not be issued to a person who is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, or to a person adjudged insane or appearing to be mentally deranged, nor will a license be issued unless it appears that the applicant “is a suitable person to be so licensed.”

All permits and licenses may be revoked for good cause by the issuing authority or by the judge of any court.

The Attorney General receives a report of all permits and licenses issued.

Machine Guns

The manufacture, possession, sale, barter, trade, gift, transfer or acquisition of any machine gun is prohibited. Exempt are law enforcement officers, mail carriers, members of military forces, and persons employed by the state, its subdivisions, or the U.S. whose duties require being armed, while they are performing those duties or while going to and from their respective places of duty. These provisions also apply to rifles with barrel lengths under 16 inches and shotguns with barrel lengths under 18 inches.


It is unlawful to willfully alter, remove, or obliterate the name of the make, model, serial number, or other mark of identification of any firearm or ammunition. Possession of such a firearm creates a legal presumption that the possessor has committed the unlawful act.


A license to sell and manufacture firearms may be canceled or suspended, and all firearms seized or purchased, on or by order of the governor during any time of a national emergency or crisis until such time as the national emergency or crisis has passed, or until such time as the licensee and the government of the U.S. or the government of Hawaii may agree upon some other disposition. Any person violating the provisions pertaining to automatic firearms, assault pistols, sawed off shotguns and rifles shall be imprisoned for a term of not less than two years nor more than 5 years without probation.

It is unlawful for any person on any public highway to carry on the person, possess, or to carry in a vehicle any loaded or unloaded firearm without a license to carry.

 It is unlawful to store or keep any firearm on any premises under the person’s control if the person knows or reasonably should know that a person under 16 is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the parent or guardian of the minor unless the person keeps the firearm in a securely locked box or other container or in a location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure; or carries the firearm on the person or within such close proximity that the person readily can retrieve and use it as if it were carried on the person. These permits are extremely difficult to obtain. We have been advised that County Police Departments will not approve a license for any reason.

It is unlawful to manufacture, possess, sell, transfer, or acquire a detachable ammunition magazine with a capacity in excess of 10 rounds which is designed for or capable of use with a pistol.

A person may lawfully possess handguns and ammunition while going to or from the possessor’s place of business, residence, sojourn and to or from a target range or to or from a place of hunting so long as the firearms are in an enclosed container 3 or other suitable container. A person who is lawfully licensed to hunt may carry unconcealed and use a lawfully acquired pistol or revolver while actually engaged in hunting game mammals.


It is unlawful for a person to own, possess or control any firearm or ammunition if he is a fugitive from justice or has been convicted of a felony or of the illegal use, possession or sale of any drug, any person who is less than 25 and has been adjudicated by the family court to have committed a felony, two or more crimes of violence, or illegal sale of drugs; addicted to alcohol, committed to a mental institution or has been diagnosed as having mental disorders unless the person has been medically documented to be no longer adversely affected by the addiction, abuse, dependence or mental illness; or any person under a restraining order by any court.   Anyone denied a permit for these reasons has 30 days to show otherwise or turn in all other firearms and ammunition.


It is unlawful for a minor under 18 to possess a rifle or shotgun. However, a person 16 or over, and any person under 16 while accompanied by an adult, who has procured a hunting license may carry and use any lawfully acquired rifle or shotgun, and suitable ammunition therefore, while engaged in hunting, or while going to and from the place of hunting, or while engaged in target shooting at a range.

No person may possess a handgun owned by another without a permit. However, any handgun which is registered and lawfully possessed may be loaned to another, even though he be a minor, at a target range for a period not longer than to allow the other person to use it for target shooting.   Shotguns and rifles may be loaned to authorized persons for up to two weeks.

The manufacture, possession, sale, barter, trade, gift, transfer, or acquisition of detachable ammunition magazines with a capacity in excess of ten rounds for pistols is prohibited.

After July 1, 1992, it is unlawful to bring or cause to be brought into the State an assault pistol. No assault pistol may be sold or transferred on or after July 1, 1992, to anyone within the State other than to a licensed dealer of the State of Hawaii or the chief of police of any county except that any person who obtains title by bequest or intestate succession to an assault pistol registered within the State shall, within 90 days, render the weapon permanently inoperable, sell or transfer the weapon to a licensed dealer or the chief of police of any county, or remove the weapon from the State. “Assault Pistol” means a semiautomatic pistol which accepts a detachable magazine and which has two or more of the following characteristics: an ammunition magazine which 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 which is attached to or partially or completely encircles the barrel and which 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 12 inches or more; or is a semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm.


No person shall acquire the ownership of a firearm1, either by purchase, gift, inheritance, bequest, or in any other manner, whether procured in Hawaii or imported, until he has first procured from the chief of police of the county of his place of business, residence, or sojourn a permit to acquire.


Each chief of police may issue permits within his jurisdiction to citizens of the U.S. who are at least 21 and to duly accredited official representatives of foreign nations. No permit shall be issued to an applicant earlier than 14 calendar days after the date of application. Permits to acquire a pistol or revolver require a separate application and permit for each transaction. Permits issued to purchase any rifle or shotgun entitles the permittee to make subsequent purchases of rifles or shotguns for a period of one year from the date of issue and does not require a separate application and permit for each transaction. No person shall be issued a permit for the acquisition of a pistol or revolver unless the person has completed a firearms safety training course. The permit shall be void unless used within 10 days after the date of issue.

In all cases where possession of a firearm is acquired from another person in Hawaii, the permit shall be signed by its holder and shall be delivered to the person who is transferring title to the firearm.

The transferor is required to provide information on the permit including the name of the person to whom the firearm, rifle or shotgun was transferred and a description of the firearm, including serial number, and then deliver or send the permit by registered mail to the chief of police within 48 hours. If the firearm is obtained by any method from sources outside Hawaii, the person to whom the permit has been issued is required to fill out the permit and deliver or mail the permit by registered mail to the chief of police within 48 hours after taking possession of the handgun. A health care provider or public health authority shall disclose health Information, Including protected health care relating to an individual’s mental health history, to the appropriate county chief of police provided that this Information shall be used solely to evaluate the Individual’s fitness to acquire or own a firearm and the Individual has signed a waiver permitting release of the health care Information for that purpose.

Any person acquiring a firearm under the permit is required to register it within five days of acquisition. There is currently a $24.00 ($19.75 at the Honolulu PD), one-time only fingerprinting fee, payable by cash or certified check.

A rifle or shotgun whether usable or unusable, serviceable or unserviceable, modern or antique, registered or unregistered, may not be transferred to any person under 18.


All firearms and ammunition must be registered with the chief of police of the county of one’s place of business, one’s residence, or one’s place of sojourn.2 This includes firearms of any description, whether usable or unusable, serviceable or unserviceable, modern or antique, or ammunition of any type and description. Exempt from this registration are all unserviceable firearms and destructive devices registered with the Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.


Every person arriving in the state is required to register their firearms within 5 days after arrival of the person or of the firearm, whichever arrives later. Exempt from this registration are: any device that is designed to fire loose black powder or that is a firearm manufactured before 1899; any device not designed to fire or made incapable of being readily restored to a firing condition; or all unserviceable firearms and destructive devices registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms. There is no registration fee.

The Department of the Attorney General receives duplicate copies of all registrations.


1. Whether usable or unusable, serviceable or unserviceable, modern or antique, registered or unregistered.

2. Place of sojourn means a temporary place of lodging.

3. Enclosed in a rigidly constructed receptacle, or a commercially manufactured gun case, that completely enclosed the firearm.

4. The extent of the exemption for military personnel is open to debate. It is probably intended to cover servicemen only while on duty.

5. These permits are extremely difficult to obtain.  We have been advised that the County Police Departments will not approve a license for any reason.

SOURCES: Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 134-1-15

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.