“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.”

*NOTE: Thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision on NYSRPA v. Bruen, “May Issue” states must affirm the right to bear arms in public, marking the end of these subjective and unconstitutional permitting schemes. Now these states are scrambling to figure out how to curtail the decision by passing new laws to effectively make it difficult, or even outright illegal, to conceal carry in public. For that reason, things are moving too fast to keep these specific states updated. Please be vigilant in staying updated with your state laws.


Hawaii is a may-issue state. A permit to purchase, a background check and firearms registration are required to buy a handgun. All firearms and ammunition must be registered with the chief of police. The minimum age to apply is 21. Hawaii permits open carry and concealed carry of handguns with a license to carry, which is only valid in the county of issue. The minimum age is 21. Concealed carry permits require a firearms training course. 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. A person acting in self defense may estimate the amount of force necessary under the circumstances.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Hawaii does not have a reciprocal carry statute. Hawaii requires an application for a license to carry to be submitted and approved by the Chief of Police where there is an established necessity (including fear of injury to one’s person or property). There is no provision for persons with carry licenses from other states. Additionally, even permits issued in the state of Hawaii are only good within the county of issuance.

Duty To Notify Police Officer

Hawaii does not require individuals to inform a LEO of a permit or license to carry but if an Officer asks about a weapon, by law, an answer must be supplied. You must have a valid identification at all times in which You are in actual possession of a firearm and must display proper identification upon demand of a LEO.

Carrying Firearms In Vehicles

Hawaii generally bans carrying firearms in vehicles without a carry permit. Hawaii permits the open carrying of a long gun in a motor vehicle, but only if traveling to and from hunting or target shooting locations with a valid hunting license. Handguns may only be carried with a permit.

NFA Items

MGs, SBRs, SBSs, and suppressors are prohibited for non-LEO individuals. Certain DDs and AOWs are allowed with proper tax stamp and NFA paperwork from the ATF.

Self-Defense Laws

Hawaii has a Castle Doctrine but no SYG law. You do not have a duty to retreat if attacked in Your dwelling or place of work. You have a duty to retreat if attacked in public, and if You can retreat safely by surrendering possession of property to someone robbing You or by complying with their demands, You must do so before resorting to deadly force. You may use deadly force in self-defense only if You cannot retreat or are attacked in Your dwelling, and if You reasonably believe it is imminently necessary to prevent death or SBI, kidnapping, rape, or forcible sodomy.

Carry In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

There is no law stating it is illegal. You can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then You are prohibited from carrying into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant. You can carry Your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm.

Do “No Gun Signs” Have The Force Of Law?

If a property or establishment has a “No Guns” sign or the person in lawful possession communicates to you that guns are not allowed, you are prohibited from carrying on the property or into the establishment. Failure to obey such signs or verbal warnings constitutes trespass.

Open Carry

Open carry is illegal in Hawaii. A firearm may only be openly carried when hunting with a pistol and You must possess the proper license while doing so.

Waiting Period

There is a fourteen (14) day waiting period after application before a permit to purchase a firearm will be issued.

High Capacity Magazine Ban

Hawaii prohibits the intrastate manufacture, sale, and possession of magazines that can be inserted into a pistol and are capable of holding more than ten (10) rounds. Members of organizations are exempt from the pistol magazine limit at places of target shooting.

Universal Background Check

Every sale or transfer of firearms, even by private parties, is required to go through an FFL to conduct a background check.

DISCLAIMER: The Gun Laws by State Guide (GLBSG) was created to provide its readers with a general educational resource tool to explore the pertinent gun laws in Your jurisdiction.

However, the GLBSG was not researched and/or written by attorneys as a specific legal guide to rely upon. Instead, it is a starting point for your own research. In addition, all laws are always subject to reasonable, but different, legal interpretation as to meaning and application.

As such, the GLBSG is not intended to supplant, nor limit, Your need for independent verification of any and all material contained herein and consultation with competent counsel of choice regarding any specific issues.

This type of specific legal analysis is necessarily beyond the general educational objective of the GLBSG and for which a bar-admitted attorney in the particular state(s) is needed and required. The content of this GLBSG is a general restatement of the law.

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