Hawaii is a may-issue state. The county chief of police may grant a permit “in an exceptional case, when an applicant shows reason to fear injury to the applicant’s person or property.”
A permit to purchase, a background check and firearms registration are required to buy a handgun from a private individual. 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 (temporary place of lodging). The minimum age to apply for a permit is 21 years old.
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 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, police station, licensed dealer’s place of business, firearms show or exhibit or a target range.
Non-residents may transport a firearm to the state provided they possess a hunting license, shooting preserve permit or invitation to shoot on private land, or written notification from a firing range indicating the person will engage in target shooting. Any firearms must be registered at a police station within 72 hours of arrival. Current law requires fingerprinting and having a photograph taken. A permit is provided for each firearm/make/model/serial number.
Hawaii permits open carry and concealed carry of handguns on the person with a Hawaii license to carry, which is only valid in the county of issue. The minimum age is 21 years old. Carrying a loaded firearm without a license to carry, whether openly or concealed, including in a vehicle, is a class B felony. Concealed carry permits require a firearms training course that has been state-approved. Permits are valid in the issuing county only. The state and county of Hawaii have sought rehearing of the Young v. Hawaii court case by the Ninth Circuit due to Hawaii’s restrictive handgun permitting policies. In terms of reciprocity, Hawaii does not honor CCW licenses from any other state.
Hawaii is a Castle Doctrine state. There is no duty to retreat inside one’s home or place of business. Outside of those locations, there is a duty to retreat if it can be done in “complete safety.”
Use of Force in Self-Protection A person acting in self defense may estimate the amount of force necessary under the circumstances as he or she believes them to be when the force is used without retreating, surrendering possession, doing any other act which one has no legal duty to do or abstaining from any lawful action.
The use of deadly force is not justifiable under this section if:
The actor knows that he or she can avoid the necessity of using such force with complete safety by retreating or by surrendering possession of a thing to a person asserting a claim of right thereto or by complying with a demand that one abstain from any action which he or she has no duty to take, except that:
The actor is not obliged to retreat from his dwelling or place of work, unless he or she was the initial aggressor or is assailed in the place of work by another person whose place of work the actor knows it to be.
Use of Force for the Protection of Other Persons The use of force upon or toward the person of another is justifiable to protect a third person when:
The actor believes the person whom the actor seeks to protect would be justified in using such protective force; and
The actor believes that the actor’s intervention is necessary for the protection of the other person.
The same requirements to to retreat, to surrender the possession of a thing or to comply with a demand apply to protection of another as in self-defense.
Use of Force for the Protection of Property The use of force is justifiable when the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary:
To prevent unlawful entry, trespass or burglary in a building or upon real property in the actor’s possession or in the possession of another person for whose protection the actor acts; and
To prevent theft, criminal mischief, or any taking of tangible, movable property in the actor’s possession or in the possession of another person for whose protection the actor acts.
The actor may use such force as the actor believes is necessary to protect the threatened property, provided that the actor first requests the person against whom force is used to desist from the person’s interference with the property, unless the actor believes that:
Such a request would be useless;
It would be dangerous to the actor or another person to make the request; or
Substantial harm would be done to the physical condition of the property which is sought to be protected before the request could effectively be made.
The use of deadly force for the protection of property is justifiable only if the person against whom the force is used is attempting to:
Dispossess the actor of the actor’s dwelling otherwise than under a claim of right to its possession; or
Commit felonious property damage, burglary, robbery or felonious theft and either:
Has employed or threatened deadly force against or in the presence of the actor; or
The use of force other than deadly force to prevent the commission of the crime would expose the actor or another person in the actor’s presence to substantial danger of serious bodily injury.
Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in Hawaii?
Yes, there is no statute prohibiting the purchase or use of pepper spray in Hawaii.
The city/county of Honolulu ordinances state that a person may use a self-defense spray only as reasonable force to defend themselves, another person or their property. However, it must be propelled from an aerosol container and there are restrictions on the chemical mixtures, labeling and dating. Minors are not allowed to purchase or possess pepper spray.
Can you carry a concealed firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in Hawaii?
Yes, there is no statute making it illegal to concealed carry with a Hawaii license to carry, unless posted.
Carry/Possess at a hotel?
Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in Hawaii?
Hawaii statutes don't specifically address firearms at hotels. Please note that each hotel develops their own policies and the individual hotel should be contacted to inquire about it's concealed carry policy. See the Handguns at Hotels page for additional information.
Store in a Vehicle in an Employee Parking Lot?
Does Hawaii have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?
Does Hawaii have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e. Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?
No, there is no state preemption of firearms laws in Hawaii. Local governments in Hawaii retain authority to regulate firearms and ammunition, and local licensing authorities in Hawaii have discretion in determining whether to issue a license to carry a firearm.
Yes, Hawaii has a red flag law. A law enforcement officer, family or household member, medical professional, educator, or colleague, may file a petition. If granted, the respondent shall not own, purchase, possess, receive, transfer ownership of, or have in the respondent's custody or control, or attempt to purchase, receive, or transfer ownership of, any firearm or ammunition while the order is in effect.
No definition of brandishing was found in Hawaii law. However, a person commits the offense of disorderly conduct if the person engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior, or creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which is not performed under any authorized license or permit.
Carry while using alcohol or prescription medication?
Does Hawaii have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or prescription medication?
Not addressed in state statutes.
As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgement, slow your reaction times, or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences.
Does Hawaii issue concealed carry permits to non-residents?
No. Hawaii does not issue concealed carry permits to non-residents.
PUBLIC ACCESS TO CONCEALED CARRY REGISTRY?
Does Hawaii allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?
No. The registry of Hawaii concealed carry permit holders is not public information.
Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Hawaii?
Yes. A permit is required to purchase a handgun in Hawaii.
Background Checks for Private Gun Sales?
Are background checks required for private gun sales in Hawaii?
Yes. Private gun sales in Hawaii require a purchase permit, which includes a background check. There are no exceptions for gifts, inheritances, bequests or in any other manner, whether procured in the state or imported by mail, express, freight or otherwise. When title to any firearm is acquired by inheritance or bequest, the purchase permit must be obtained before taking possession of a firearm, provided that upon presentation of a copy of the death certificate of the owner making the bequest, any heir or legatee may transfer the inherited or bequeathed firearm directly to a dealer licensed under section 134-31 or licensed by the United States Department of Justice without complying with the requirements of this section.
Does my current Hawaii concealed carry permit exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase a firearm?
Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Hawaii?
There is a minimum 14-day wait when applying for a purchase permit except for sales to state or federally licensed dealers, law enforcement officers, persons with a license to carry a handgun or where a firearm is registered pursuant to state law.
Do handguns need to be registered in Hawaii?
Yes. Hawaii requires all handguns to be registered.
Minimum Age to Possess and Transport?
What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Hawaii?
The minimum age to obtain a permit to acquire a firearm is 21 years old.
(b) A permit shall not be required when any lawfully acquired firearm is lent to a person, including a minor, upon a target range or similar facility for purposes of target shooting; provided that the period of the loan does not exceed the time in which the person actually engages in target shooting upon the premises.
(c) A person may carry unconcealed and use a lawfully acquired pistol or revolver while actually engaged in hunting game mammals, if that pistol or revolver and its suitable ammunition are acceptable for hunting by rules adopted pursuant to section 183D-3 and if that person is licensed pursuant to part II of chapter 183D. The pistol or revolver may be transported in an enclosed container, as defined in section 134-25 in the course of going to and from the place of the hunt, notwithstanding section 134-26.
Possess a handgun on my private property without a permit?
Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home without a permit?
No. No person shall acquire the ownership of a firearm, whether by purchase, gift, inheritance, bequest, or in any other manner, until the person has first procured a permit to acquire the ownership of a firearm.
Handgun Purchase Process To purchase a handgun in Hawaii, whether through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) or a private transaction, you will need to complete a Permit to Acquire Firearms Application. Each firearm requires an individual permit to acquire. You may be required to purchase the firearm before obtaining your permit, but you cannot pick up your firearm immediately.
You must take the following items to the county sheriff’s office to apply for your permit:
Your firearm receipt, including the make, model and serial number
Your completed Permit to Acquire Firearms Application
A valid driver’s license or state ID
Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status
A Firearm Safety Training Course affidavit signed by an NRA-certified instructor or a Hunter’s Education Card
Any necessary fees
You will need to consent to mental health, medical and criminal background checks, including fingerprinting.
There is a 14-day minimum waiting period to pick up your Permit to Acquire. After you have your permit, you can pick up your firearm. Your Permit to Acquire will only be valid for 10 days from the date it is issued. If this permit expires, you must reapply for a permit.
Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. The minimum age* for permitless carry is shown. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.
*PC-18 = permitless carry if at least 18 years old
*PC-21 = permitless carry if at least 21 years old
Be a lawful resident of Hawaii or lawful permanent resident alien residing in the State of Hawaii (per the August 10,2020, stipulation and order by the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii in the Alanoa Nickel lawsuit);
Be able to show reason to fear injury to his or her person or property;
Be able to possess a firearm under Hawaii law;
Not have been judged to be insane or incapacitated under Hawaii law;
$10 for initial and renewal permits; $42.00 for fingerprinting
No time specified by statute.
There is no online application.
Non-Resident Concealed Carry Permits:
Hawaii doesn’t issue permits to non-residents.
Contact your county chief of police.
Contact your county chief of police.
Moving to Hawaii and interested in applying for a resident license? How soon can you apply? Hawaii issues licenses to residents only and is a may-issue state which rarely issues licenses. The county chief of police may grant a license “in an exceptional case, when an applicant shows reason to fear injury to the applicant’s person or property.” You can apply for your license with the chief of police once you have established your residence in that county.
Moving from Hawaii and have a Hawaii resident license? Does that license transfer to your new state? Is there a grace period during which your Hawaii license remains valid? If a person with a Hawaii license to concealed carry establishes residency in another state, the license expires upon the establishment of residence in the other state.
Although Hawaii does not specifically require firearms safety training for a license to carry firearms, firearms safety training is a prerequisite to obtaining a permit to purchase or possess a pistol or revolver under state law. Under state law, no person may obtain a permit to acquire a handgun unless he or she has completed:
An approved hunter education course as authorized under state law;
A firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law enforcement agency of the state or of any county;
A firearms safety or training course offered to law enforcement officers, security guards, investigators, deputy sheriffs or any division or subdivision of law enforcement or security enforcement by a state or county law enforcement agency; or
A firearms training or safety course or class conducted by a state-certified or NRA-certified firearms instructor or a certified military firearms instructor that provides a minimum of 2 hours of live-fire training at a firing range and a total of at least 4 hours of classroom instruction — which may include video — that focuses on:
The safe use, handling and storage of firearms and firearms safety in the home; and
Education on the firearms-related laws of Hawaii.
No additional training is required for permit renewals.
Law enforcement officers (LEOs) and Retired LEOs (RLEOs) may choose to carry under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), often referred to as HR 218. Under 18 U.S. Code §§ 926B & 926C, qualified LEOs and qualified retired LEOs, or those separated from service in good standing, can carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with some exceptions. For details check out our Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) page.
Qualified LEOs and RLEOs that meet the requirements of 18 USC §926B and Hawaii state laws are permitted to carry a concealed firearm in the state of Hawaii. The state of Hawaii has implemented a “Firearm Certification Program” for qualified retired law enforcement officers that obtained a photographic identification from the law enforcement agency they retired from but did not receive a firearm certification from that agency. Some key Hawaii firearms laws include:
Any firearms that are brought to Hawaii and remain longer than 5 days must be registered with the chief of police;
Ammunition CANNOT be Teflon coated or designed to explode or segment upon impact. Ammunition sold as “law enforcement only” cannot be possessed in Hawaii except by authorized law enforcement officers’;
Magazine capacity of concealed firearms cannot exceed 10 rounds.
Guidelines for active LEOs and RLEOs can be found at the following links.
The state of Hawaii awarded the firearm certification portion of the program to Star Protection Agency. You will not be able to enroll in the firearm certification portion of the program offered by SPA until you have received a letter from the Criminal Justice Division, Department of the Attorney General, indicating that you have met all LEOSA requirements and are cleared to take the firearm certification.
Only butterfly knives and switchblades are banned in Hawaii. Any other type of knife is legal. It is illegal to concealed carry, go armed with, or carry the following weapons in a vehicle: any dirk, dagger, blackjack, slungshot, billy, metal knuckles, pistol, or other deadly or dangerous weapon. Ordinary pocket knives and diver's knives are not considered dangerous weapons unless they are used in a way that make them a dangerous weapon.
Can you concealed carry while bow hunting in Hawaii?
HUNTER HARASSMENT LAW?
Is there a Hunter Harassment Law in Hawaii?
Yes. No person shall intentionally prevent or attempt to prevent the lawful taking of game by a person. No person shall enter or remain upon public lands or waters, or upon private lands or waters, without permission of the owner or the owner's agent, with intent to violate this section.
Here at the USCCA, it is our mission to provide responsible gun owners with the tools they need to be educated and trained. Our team is constantly working to provide you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of self-defense laws available for every state.
If you have any questions that you don’t see answered here — let us know! Just email [email protected] and we will be sure to get your question resolved. Your feedback matters to us, and we appreciate you helping to make this page the best possible resource for responsible gun owners!
Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States.” Numbers include resident and non-resident permits for those states that issue both.
The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.
If you have any questions regarding USCCA Membership, Delta Defense, handguns laws or the lawful process of carrying concealed, please contact the award-winning Delta DefenseCustomer Engagement Team.
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