Hawaii’s gun laws are in place to govern the sale, use, ownership, and transfer of firearms in the state. These laws also pertain to ammunition. Hawaii’s gun laws are regulated at the county level, not the state. Hawaii is a “May Issue” state, but only issues permits rarely when absolutely necessary. Since 2000, only four permits have been issued. The state of Hawaii prioritizes permits for retired or active military personnel, law enforcement or court employees. By 2014, only 168 active handgun permits existed. Many court cases aim to change the gun laws in Hawaii, but so far, they remain pretty limited. Even to purchase a gun in Hawaii, you have to first apply for a permit. There is also a twenty-day waiting period to buy a handgun in the state. The police chief of each county issues permits. You need a license for every gun you own. If you move to Hawaii and bring weapons with you, you will need to register them with the police chief within three days.
Hawaii’s policy is May Issue in practice and its license is issued to residents. You can carry a handgun in: road side rest areas (not in buildings).
The states that do offer Hawaii reciprocity and honor Hawaii’s gun permits are Vermont, Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona. The states that do not honor Hawaii’s gun permits are Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California.
Hawaii’s concealed carry and permit laws are incredibly restrictive. Hardly any permits are ever approved within the state and only then with very good reason. Hawaii is technically a “May Issue” state, and if someone is granted a permit, it is only good for their county. It is illegal to open carry a loaded weapon, concealed carry or carry in your vehicle and if you do, you will be slapped with a Class B felony. If you have an unloaded gun locked in a case, you can, in some instances, with a permit take it from home to work and back, to a gun dealership or a shooting range. If when transferring a firearm, you happen to come in contact with an officer, you must notify them that you are carrying and produce a permit. No weapon signs are strictly enforced in Hawaii, and you cannot carry in your vehicle, state parks or open carry. However, with a permit, you can enter a restaurant.
The process for obtaining a gun permit in Hawaii is pretty extensive. First, you must apply and agree to a background check, fingerprinting and you must provide access to your medical records and provide a medical affidavit proving you do not have any mental illness. You also need to complete a handgun safety course. You must be at least 21 years old to apply. You also have to prove that you are a permanent resident of Hawaii. To get a permit, you have to show “fear of injury to your person or property.” You must also comply with all federal gun statues and cannot be a convicted felon or suffer from alcohol or drug abuse or any mental illness.
Hawaii is a point of sale state meaning that background checks can be handled by local law enforcement. When purchasing a gun in Hawaii, the buyer must first obtain a permit through the process above. Each handgun purchase requires a license, and they expire within ten days. Along with the background check, you must also sign a waiver to release your medical and mental health records to ensure that you are physically and mentally fit to handle a gun. Hawaii law requires the police chief to report anyone who fails the background check or permit application to the U.S. Attorney General, the Director of Public Safety and the D.A. for the county where the permit was denied. This is called the “lie and try” law.
|Permit type||Fees when getting a new permit||Renewal||Current license amendment||Fingerprint scan fee||Fee for firearm classes||Additional state fees|
|Permit to acquire (handguns and long guns)||$42.00||No Renewal Fees||Effective January 1, 2017, all firearms permit applicants (including prior firearms applicants, out-of-state firearms applicants, and law enforcement officers with personal firearms), will be assessed a $42 one-time fee. No fee will be charged for subsequent permits to acquire a firearm, but even those who previously paid a fingerprint fee prior to January 1, 2017, will be assessed the $42 fee for the first registration after January 1, 2017. Payment must be made by Money Order or Cashier’s Check only, payable to Hawaiʻi Criminal Justice Data Center.||Up to $195|
|License to carry (handguns)||$10.00||$10.00||Up to $195|
|Road Side Rest Areas (Not in buildings)||State Parks|
|Monday – Friday:||N/A|
|Address:||Hawaiʻi Police Department
349 Kapiʻolani Street
|City:||Hilo, Hawaiʻi 96720|
West Hawaiʻi: (808) 326-4646, Ext. 254