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Hawaii Gun Control Laws

Hawaii, with some of the nation's toughest gun-related laws, keeps a tight rein on gun ownership, registration, and use.

Hawaii residents cannot purchase a firearm without first getting a permit to acquire the gun. People apply for those permits through the police department, and the department first checks local, state, and national databases to see if the applicant has been convicted of a felony or a violent crime, including misdemeanor assaults or domestic violence charges.

See the table below for a quick summary of Hawaii's gun control laws. For more general information, see Gun Laws in FindLaw's Accidents and Injuries section to learn more.

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

Illegal Arms

  • Automatic firearms
  • Rifles with a barrel length less than 16 inches
  • Shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches
  • Cannons
  • Mufflers/silencers
  • Hand grenades
  • Assault pistols
  • Any ammunition coated with Teflon or designed to explode/segment upon impact

Waiting Period

There is a 14-day waiting period to get a firearm in Hawaii.

Who May Not Own

The following persons are prohibited from owning a firearm:

  • Anyone who is younger than 21 years old
  • Anyone who is not a citizen of the United States
  • Anyone with a felony conviction or an indictment
  • Anyone who is a fugitive from justice
  • Anyone who is indicted or convicted of a crime of violence or illegal sale of a drug
  • Anyone who is under treatment for addiction to dangerous, harmful, or detrimental drug; or intoxicating liquor
  • Anyone diagnosed with a significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder; acquitted of a crime on grounds of mental disease/disorder; or committed to an institution for persons with a developmental disorder or an intellectual disability
  • Anyone who is subject to a gun violence protection order
  • Anyone under 25 years old who has been adjudicated by a family court to have committed a felony, two or more crimes of violence, or illegal sale of drugs
  • Minors who:
    • Are under treatment for addiction to drugs/alcohol,
    • Are fugitives from justice, or
    • Were determined not to be responsible for a criminal act or who have been committed to an institution on account of a mental disease, defect, or disorder

License Required?

Yes, you need a permit to purchase a firearm.

Concealed Carry License Required?

Yes, you need a license to conceal carry a firearm in Hawaii.

Open Carried Allowed?

Open carry is illegal in Hawaii unless it is for target shooting purposes or while hunting with a license.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

To be eligible to carry a concealed firearm license, you must:
  • Appear to be a person suitable to be licensed
  • Not been adjudicated insane or appear to be mentally deranged
  • Be qualified to use a firearm in a safe manner

Machine Gun Laws

Hawaii doesn't have a law regulating machine guns. But federal law requires machine guns to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

  • Possession of a gun with a felony conviction is a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine up to $25,000, or both.
  • It is a class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine, if a person possesses a gun while they are:
    • Not able to own a gun under federal law
    • A fugitive from justice or
    • Indicted for a felony charge.
  • Any other person who illegally possesses a firearm is guilty of a misdemeanor and could face up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

Hawaii prohibits students from possessing guns on school grounds, but it doesn't prohibit the general public from having guns on school grounds.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Questions about Hawaii's Gun Control Laws? Speak to an Attorney

If you would like to know more about firearm ownership and help to determine which firearms are legal to own, there are many attorneys throughout Hawaii with criminal law experience who may be able to help.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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