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Hawaii Gun Rights

An Overview of Gun Laws in Hawaii


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Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms?

Yes. 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.. Enacted in 1959.

Concealed Carry

Hawaii is a may-issue state, meaning local law enforcement authorities are authorized to issue carry permits to qualified applicants but are not required by law to do so. Hawaii is perhaps the nation’s strictest state for concealed carry; very few permits are issued. In order to receive a permit, residents must show exceptional reason for fear for themselves or their property.

States that honor Hawaii’s concealed carry permits include: Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Vermont.

Hawaii does not honor permits issued by any other state.

Castle Doctrine

Hawaii adopted a castle law in 2010. While the law isn’t as broad as many other states’ castle laws, it removes the duty of residents to retreat when they’re confronted by a criminal inside their home or on their property. The law removes the liability of citizens who use physical or deadly force against criminals who are in the act of committing a list of felonies, including any Class A or Class B felony involving physical violence under Hawaii’s penal code, as well as any felony involving the use of a firearm, involving serious bodily injury or punishable by life in prison. The immunity does not extend to crime victims who are not on their own property.

Pro-Gun Provisions

Aside from a castle doctrine law protecting citizens’ right to self-defense within their home and a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, Hawaii has no major pro-gun provisions.

Open carry is not permissible in Hawaii.


Gun bans: Assault pistols are banned in Hawaii. Assault pistols are defined as semiautomatic handguns with a detachable clip that also include two or more of several distinguishable characteristics, including an ammunition magazine outside the pistol grip, a threaded barrel, a shrouded barrel, a loaded weight of 50 ounces or more, a centerfire pistol exceeding 12 inches in length, or a semiautomatic version of an automatic handgun. Magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds are also banned.

Waiting periods for gun purchases: No.

License or permit to purchase guns: A permit is required to purchase any firearm. Permits are issued by local chiefs of police. For long gun purchases, a permit is valid for one year and may be used multiple times. For handgun purchases, a permit is issued only after a person has successfully completed a handgun safety course and must be used within 10 days of being issued. A separate permit is required for each handgun purchase. While Hawaii does not have a waiting period for firearms purchases, per se, the application process for a permit requires at least 14 days.

Registration of guns: All firearms are required to be registered with a local chief of police within 48 hours of purchase. Ammunition is also required to be registered.

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