Are You Allowed to Own a Gun in Hawaii?

Many gun owners in the US know that owning and carrying a gun is legal in most states, but what some of them don’t know is if it is allowed to have firearms in the faraway state of Hawaii. Nicknamed by both locals and tourists as the “Aloha State,” Hawaii is a state that is located to the southwest of the United States and is about 2,000 miles far from the mainland. Although there are plenty of Americans that go to Hawaii, most of them are not really gun owners that are willing to bring firearms to the state.

If you are going to bring or own a gun in Hawaii, then you will need to know several laws and regulations that gun owners follow within the archipelago. It is already a known fact that countries and states would have different gun laws, so it is essential that you know the rules and regulations in Hawaii, as they may be different from the gun laws in your country. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the legality of guns in the state of Hawaii.

Can You Purchase a Gun in Hawaii?

Yes, you are allowed to buy a gun in Hawaii under the condition that you have a permit filed by the police chief before purchase. In order to acquire the said permit, you need to be at least 21 years old. Moreover, a criminal background check, a mental health checkup, and the submission of medical records are required before a permit is issued. 

If you are going to get a handgun permit for the first time, you will have to get your fingerprints registered by the FBI, and you would also need to submit a handgun safety training affidavit or a hunter’s education card. It would often take 14 to 20 days before you can receive a permit. Make sure that you have a permit ready to show to the gun shop once you buy a firearm.

Can You Register a Gun in the State?

handgun pistol

After purchasing a gun at a store in Hawaii, you would have to get it registered to a county police chief within five days. If you are bringing a gun to Hawaii, you would also need to get it registered within three days after the arrival to the state. You must be 21 years old and above to be able to bring firearms to Hawaii. Almost all guns and ammunition should be registered to the county police, with the exception of black powder and firearms that were manufactured before 1899. If you are planning to collect vintage guns, then you may find the hobby convenient in Hawaii since old firearms don’t need a licensed in the state.

Can You Bring Long Weapons and Fully Automatic Firearms?

No, you are not allowed to bring firearms with a fully automatic feature to Hawaii. As for long weapons, Hawaii prohibits shotguns that have 18-inch or longer barrels, and they are also prohibiting rifles with barrels that are 16 inches long or more. If you visit a gun shop in Hawaii, they don’t even sell illegal rifles in order to avoid breaking the law.

While handguns are generally legal in Hawaii, citizens are not allowed to carry and use handgun magazines that can store more than ten rounds of bullets. The number of bullets or ammunition that you can buy in gun shops is also limited because of the said rule. So, if you are planning to buy several sets of ammunition for your firearms, you may not be allowed to do so.

Do You Need a Permit for Concealed Carry and Open Carry?

For concealed carry, Hawaii is a state that is “May-Issue” by statute but “No-Issue” in practice. However, despite being “No-Issue” in practice, meaning that you don’t have to issue a permit to conceal-carry a firearm, Hawaii is very strict in gun laws that they don’t really issue permits for almost anyone except a few. To put it simply, Hawaii is considered a “No-Issue” state since they rarely approve permits or they actually never approve them. So, if you wish to get a permit to carry a gun in Hawaii and you have a proper storage device made by major gun safe manufacturers, there is still a high chance that your application can get rejected. The same situation can also be applied to open carry firearms. 

Because of the strict laws of Hawaii regarding carrying firearms, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stated that Hawaii’s laws restricting concealed carry and open carry are unconstitutional. Despite the efforts of the said federal court of appeals, it was ultimately ruled through the historical scope of the Second Amendment that Hawaii’s gun laws are constitutional. So, it may not change in the near future as the state is pretty much strict when it comes to citizens owning guns.

Who is Usually Allowed to Carry Firearms in Hawaii?

sunset in Hawaii

Due to the strict gun laws in Hawaii, the few people that are allowed to carry firearms outside are active or retired police officers, military members that have a high ranking, and security personnel. The strictness of the firearm laws in the state caused a nationwide commotion in 2017 when it was reported that zero active Handgun Carry Licenses were issued out of 1.4 million people living in Hawaii. Even if you have concealed carry or open carry permits from other states, Hawaii doesn’t recognize those permits.

By reading this article, you will already know that Hawaii is pretty strict when it comes to carrying firearms. Although you are allowed to buy and register guns in the state, you are prohibited from carrying those guns outside of your home or any place you are staying in. While the gun laws in the state are problematic for some, the strictness of Hawaii regarding guns has proven that the archipelago is relatively safer than other locations in the US mainland, as Hawaii is often in the top 5 list of the safest states in the country.