Ammunition Regulation in Hawaii

Purchase and Possession of Ammunition

Hawaii prohibits the ownership, control or possession of ammunition by any person who:

  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Is a person prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law;
  • Is under indictment for, or has been convicted of, a felony or any crime of violence, or an illegal sale of any drug;
  • Is or has been under treatment or counseling for addiction to, abuse of, or dependence upon any dangerous drug, intoxicating compound, or intoxicating liquor;
  • Has been acquitted of a crime on the grounds of mental disease, disorder, or defect, or is or has been diagnosed as having a significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, or for treatment for organic brain syndromes;
  • Is less than 25 years old and has been adjudicated by the family court to have committed a felony, two or more crimes of violence, or an illegal sale of any drug;
  • Is a minor who: 1) Is or has been under treatment for addiction to any dangerous drug, intoxicating compound, or intoxicating liquor; 2) is a fugitive from justice; or 3) Has been determined not to have been responsible for a criminal act or has been committed to any institution on account of a mental disease, disorder, or defect; or
  • Has been restrained pursuant to an order of any court from contacting, threatening, or physically abusing any person, as long as the order or any extension is in effect, unless the order specifically permits the possession of ammunition.1

Safe Storage of Ammunition

Hawaii requires all ammunition to be confined to the possessor’s business or residence and only allows for the limited transport of ammunition in an enclosed container away from these locations.2 Hawaii law does not specify any ammunition storage practices, however.

Regulation of Unreasonably Dangerous Ammunition

Hawaii prohibits the manufacture, possession, sale or other transfer, barter, trade, gift or acquisition of any ammunition or projectile component coated with Teflon or a similar coating designed primarily to enhance its capacity to penetrate metal or pierce protective armor.3

Hawaii also prohibits the manufacture, possession, sale or other transfer, barter, trade, gift or acquisition of ammunition or projectile components designed or intended to explode or segment upon impact with a target.4 In addition, the federal prohibition on certain kinds of armor-piercing ammunition applies.

Hawaii does not:

  • Require a license for the sale of ammunition;
  • Require sellers of ammunition to maintain a record of the purchasers; or
  • Require a license to purchase or possess ammunition.

See our Ammunition Regulation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7. ⤴︎
  2. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-27. ⤴︎
  3. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-8(a). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎

Assault Weapons in Hawaii

Hawaii criminalizes the manufacture, possession, sale or other transfer, barter, trade, gift or acquisition of an assault pistol.1 Under state law, “assault pistol” is defined as a semiautomatic handgun which accepts a detachable magazine and which has two or more of the following characteristics:

(1) An ammunition magazine which attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;

(2) A threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward hand grip, or silencer;

(3) A shroud which is attached to or partially or completely encircles the barrel and which permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the second hand without being burned;

(4) A manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded;

(5) A centerfire pistol with an overall length of 12 inches or more; or

(6) A semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm.2

An assault pistol does not include a firearm with a barrel 16 or more inches in length, or an antique, curio or relic.3

As of July 1, 1992, no person shall bring or cause to be brought into Hawaii an assault pistol.4 Furthermore, as of July 1, 1992, no previously-owned assault pistol may be sold or transferred to anyone within Hawaii other than a state-licensed dealer or the chief of police of any county.5 A person that inherits an assault pistol registered within the state on or after July 1, 1992, has 90 days to render the weapon permanently inoperable, transfer the weapon to a licensed dealer or chief of police of any county, or remove the weapon from the state.6

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-8(a). ⤴︎
  2. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-1. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-4(e). ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎

Background Checks in Hawaii

Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

Hawaii is a point of contact state for NICS. In Hawaii, permits to acquire firearms are processed by local law enforcement.1

In Hawaii, anyone wishing to acquire a firearm must first obtain a permit.2 A permit to acquire a handgun must be obtained for each handgun purchase and the permit is void if not used within ten days of issuance.3 A permit to acquire a long gun entitles the permittee to purchase long guns for a period of one year from the date of issue.4 Permit applications are processed directly through the county police chief, who must perform a search of NICS.5

An applicant for a permit must sign a waiver authorizing the disclosure of mental health records.6 Hawaii requires any public health provider to disclose mental health records if the local chief of police requests them for use in issuing a permit to acquire a firearm, provided the applicant has signed the required waiver.7

In 2017, Hawaii enacted a law requiring the chief of police to report individuals whose permit applications are denied because the applicants are prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm under state or federal law.8 This law, known as “lie and try,” requires the chief to report denied individuals to:

  • The prosecuting attorney in the county where the permit was denied;
  • The state’s Attorney General;
  • The United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii; and
  • The state Director of Public Safety.

If the permit to acquire was denied because the applicant is subject to a domestic violence order, the chief of police must, within three business days from the date of denial, send written notice to the court that issued the order. When the director of public safety receives notice that an applicant has been denied a permit because of a prior criminal conviction, the director of public safety must determine whether the applicant is currently serving a term of probation or parole. If so, the director must send a written notice of the denial to the applicant’s probation or parole officer.

Under federal law, persons who have been issued state permits to purchase or possess firearms are exempt from background checks if those permits were issued: 1) within the previous five years in the state in which the transfer is to take place; and 2) after an authorized government official has conducted a background investigation, including a search of the NICS database, to verify that possession of a firearm would not be unlawful.9 Holders of concealed weapons licenses and permits to acquire firearms in Hawaii are exempt from background checks when purchasing a firearm, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) chart that outlines those permits that qualify as alternatives to the federal Brady Act. Please note that ATF’s exempt status determination is subject to change without notice.

Additionally, every person arriving in Hawaii who brings or causes to be brought a firearm into Hawaii must register the firearm with the chief of police of the county of the person’s place of business or, if there is no place of business, the person’s residence or, if there is neither a place of business nor residence, the person’s place of sojourn.10 When registering their firearm, such persons must be fingerprinted and photographed by the police department of the county of registration, although this requirement shall be waived where fingerprints and photographs are already on file with the police department.11 The police department must perform an inquiry on the person by using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System before any determination to register a firearm is made.12

In 2016, Hawaii enacted a law authorizing county police departments to enroll firearms permit applicants and individuals who are registering their firearms into the federal Rap Back service. The FBI defines the Rap Back service as a service that “allows authorized agencies to receive notification of activity on individuals who hold positions of trust (e.g. school teachers, daycare workers) or who are under criminal justice supervision or investigation, thus eliminating the need for repeated background checks on a person from the same applicant agency.”13

Firearm transfers by private sellers (non-firearms dealers) are subject to the state’s permitting requirement. See the Hawaii Private Sales section.

See our Background Checks policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map (last visited Aug. 24, 2015). ⤴︎
  2. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-2(a). ⤴︎
  3. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-2(e). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-2(c). ⤴︎
  7. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-3.5. ⤴︎
  8. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-2(j). ⤴︎
  9. 18 U.S.C. § 922(t)(3), 27 C.F.R. § 478.102(d). ⤴︎
  10. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-3(a). ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎
  12. Id. ⤴︎
  13. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 134-2, 3;  846-2.7(b)(42. ⤴︎

Child Access Prevention in Hawaii

Hawaii prohibits persons from storing firearms on property they control when they know or reasonably should know that a minor (a person under the age of 16) is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the parent or guardian of the minor, unless:

  • The firearm is kept in a securely locked box or container or in a location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure; or
  • The firearm is carried on the person or within such close proximity thereto that the person readily can retrieve and use it as if it were carried on the person.1

Under state law, a person commits the offense of “criminally negligent storage of a firearm” when a minor obtains a firearm as a result of the person’s violation of state law.2 Criminally negligent storage of a firearm is a misdemeanor.3 If the minor obtains the firearm as a result of unlawful entry to any premises by any person, the owner of the firearm is not criminally liable.4

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-10.5 ⤴︎
  2. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 707-714.5; see also, Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-10.5. ⤴︎
  3. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 707-714.5(3). ⤴︎
  4. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 707-714.5(2). ⤴︎

Concealed Weapons Permitting in Hawaii

See our Carrying Concealed Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Hawaii is a “may-issue” state, meaning that the chief of police of a county has discretion in determining whether or not to issue a concealed weapons license to an applicant. The chief of police may grant a license to carry a concealed weapon and ammunition “[i]n an exceptional case, when an applicant shows reason to fear injury to the applicant’s person or property,” if the applicant is a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, or a duly accredited official representative of a foreign nation, and over 21 years of age.1

Pursuant to state law, a chief of police must adopt procedures to require that any person granted a license to carry a concealed weapon on the person shall:

(1) Be qualified to use the firearm in a safe manner;

(2) Appear to be a suitable person to be so licensed;

(3) Not be prohibited under state law from the ownership or possession of a firearm [see the Hawaii Background Checks and Hawaii Prohibited Purchasers Generally sections];2 and

(4) Not have been adjudged insane or not appear to be mentally deranged.3

A fee of $10 shall be charged for each license.4 Any person carrying a concealed handgun without a license is criminally liable for a misdemeanor and “may be immediately arrested without warrant by any sheriff, police officer, or other officer or person.”5

All licenses to carry a handgun may be revoked for good cause by the issuing authority or by the judge of any court.6

Firearm Safety Training

Although Hawaii does not specifically require applicants for licenses to carry firearms to complete firearms safety training, firearms safety training is a pre-requisite to obtaining a permit to purchase or possess a pistol or revolver under state law.7 For additional information, see the Hawaii Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers section.

Duration & Renewal

A concealed weapons license is valid for one year from the date of issue.8 The renewal fee is $10.9

Disclosure or Use of Information

Within ten days after the last day of each month, all issuing authorities must report to the Department of the Attorney General all permits and licenses issued or revoked by the authority as of the last day of the preceding month.10

Reciprocity

Hawaii has no provisions allowing concealed weapons license holders from other states to carry their concealed firearms in Hawaii.

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-9(a). Pursuant to a federal district court decision, lawful permanent residents may apply for Hawaii concealed carry permits. Fotoudis v. City & County of Honolulu, 54 F. Supp. 3d 1136 (D. Haw. 2014). ⤴︎
  2. See, Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7. ⤴︎
  3. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-9(b). ⤴︎
  4. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-9(d). ⤴︎
  5. Id.; Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-51(a). ⤴︎
  6. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-13. ⤴︎
  7. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-2(g). ⤴︎
  8. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-9(a). ⤴︎
  9. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-9(d). ⤴︎
  10. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-14. ⤴︎

Dealer Regulations in Hawaii

Persons engaged in the business of selling or manufacturing firearms, either at wholesale or retail, must be licensed by the state annually.1 A dealer license expires on the next June 30 following the date of issuance.2

All firearms in the possession and control of a firearms dealer, or registered by the dealer pursuant to state law,3 are subject to physical inspection by the chief of police of each county during normal business hours.4 During a national emergency, a dealer license may be revoked or suspended and all firearms in the licensee’s possession may be seized and held in possession by the state.5 A dealer license may be revoked for a dealer’s:

  • Failure to comply with all laws relating to the sale of firearms;
  • Failure to comply with the seizure of the dealer’s firearms by the Governor during a time of national emergency;
  • Failure to comply with physical inspection of the dealer’s firearms by the Chief of Police during normal business hours.6

Pursuant to the Brady Act, federally licensed firearms dealers must conduct background checks on prospective purchasers each time the dealer transfers a firearm. See the Hawaii Background Checks section.

See our Dealer Regulations policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-31. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann § 134-3(c). ⤴︎
  4. Haw. Stat. Ann. § 134-32(4). ⤴︎
  5. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-32(2), (3). ⤴︎
  6. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-32. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Hawaii

Hawaii prohibits any person, including a licensed manufacturer, licensed importer, or licensed dealer, from possessing, selling, or delivering any handgun if the frame or receiver “is a die casting of zinc alloy which has a melting temperature of less than 800 degrees Fahrenheit.”1 This section does not apply to any handgun registered prior to July 1, 1975, or to any antique handgun.2

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-15(a). ⤴︎
  2. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-15(b). ⤴︎

Disarming Prohibited Persons in Hawaii

Any person denied a permit to acquire a firearm may be required by the chief of police to voluntarily surrender all firearms and ammunition to the chief of police or “dispose” of the firearms or ammunition by selling them to a licensed gun dealer.1 If the applicant fails to surrender or dispose of the guns and ammunition within 30 days of the date the person received notice, the chief may seize the guns and ammunition.2

Furthermore, any person who is disqualified from the ownership, possession, or control of firearms or ammunition because he or she falls into a federal or state prohibited class on the basis of anything other than mental illness or drug/alcohol addiction, must voluntarily surrender all firearms and ammunition to the chief of police where the person resides or “dispose” of the guns and ammunition by selling them to a licensed gun dealer.3 If the person does not voluntarily surrender or dispose of the firearms or ammunition within seven days from the date of disqualification, the chief of police may seize the guns and ammunition.4

For any person disqualified due to drug/alcohol addiction, mental illness, or emergency or involuntary hospitalization to a psychiatric facility, once the chief of police is notified of the disqualification, he or she shall promptly issue a notice to the disqualified person to immediately surrender all firearms and ammunition. The written notice shall state the reasons for the disqualification, and require the person to immediately surrender all firearms and ammunition to the chief of police. If the individual fails to voluntarily surrender all firearms and ammunition upon receiving notice, the chief of police may seize all firearms and ammunition. The firearms and ammunition shall be held in police custody until the person has been medically documented to be no longer adversely affected or until transferred or sold by the owner.5

For information on laws authorizing the disarmament of individuals involved in domestic violence in Hawaii, see the Hawaii Domestic Violence and Firearms section.

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7.3(a). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7.3(b). ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎
  5. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7.3(c). ⤴︎

Domestic Violence & Firearms in Hawaii

Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Convicted of Domestic Violence Misdemeanors

Federal law prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition by persons who have been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.” Hawaii also prohibits individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition by broadly prohibiting any person who has been convicted in the state or elsewhere of “a crime of violence.”1

Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Restraining/Protective Orders

Hawaii prohibits the possession, control or transfer of ownership of firearms or ammunition by any person restrained by an order of any court (including ex parte orders) from contacting, threatening, or physically abusing any person as long as the order, or any extension of an order, is in effect.2 The order must specifically include a statement that the possession, control or transfer of ownership of a firearm or ammunition by the person subject to the order is prohibited.3

Hawaii authorizes judges issuing protective orders to grant appropriate injunctive relief, but the law does not specify whether a firearm prohibition is permissible.4

Protective orders shield spouses or reciprocal beneficiaries, former spouses or former reciprocal beneficiaries, persons who have a child in common, parents, children, persons related by blood, persons jointly residing or formerly residing in the same dwelling unit, and persons who have or have had a dating relationship.5

Removal or Surrender of Firearms When Domestic Violence Restraining / Protective Orders Are Issued

In Hawaii, any person subject to a protective or restraining order must relinquish possession of any firearm and ammunition owned by that person to the police department of the appropriate county for safekeeping for the duration of the order or extension of an order.6

Any person disqualified from ownership, possession, control, or the right to transfer ownership of firearms and ammunition by a restraining or protective order must surrender his or her firearms to law enforcement or “dispose” of all firearms and ammunition by selling them to a licensed gun dealer.7

Hawaii authorizes, but does not require, removal of firearms and/or ammunition by law enforcement officers from abusers subject to domestic violence protective orders, including ex parte protective orders.8 In Hawaii, upon service of a domestic violence restraining order involving firearms or ammunition, the police officer may take custody of any firearms or ammunition in plain sight, discovered pursuant to a consensual search, or surrendered by the person subject to the order.9 If the police officer is unable to locate firearms or ammunition registered to that person or known to the person granted protection by the court, the police officer must apply to the court for a search warrant for the purpose of seizing these firearms and ammunition.10

If the person restrained by the order is the registered owner of a firearm and knows its location but refuses to surrender the firearm or refuses to disclose its location, the person restrained shall be criminally liable for a misdemeanor.11

Removal or Surrender of Firearms from the Scene of a Domestic Violence Incident

Hawaii has two laws regarding removal of firearms from the scene of a domestic violence incident.  Hawaii Revised Statute 134-7.5(a) authorizes a police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person recently assaulted or threatened to assault a family or household member to seize all firearms and ammunition the officer believes were used or threatened to be used in the commission of the offense.  The statute also authorizes the officer to seize any firearms or ammunition in plain view or discovered pursuant to a consensual search, as necessary for the protection of the officer or any family or household member.12 Any guns or ammunition seized will be held by law enforcement.13 The officer at the scene must provide the owner or lawful possessor of seized firearms or ammunition with a receipt.14 The firearm or ammunition will be made available to the owner or lawful possessor within seven working days after the seizure unless it is retained for use as evidence or the abuser is ineligible to possess it.15

Hawaii Revised Statute 709-906(4)(f) is similar but requires a police officer to seize all firearms and ammunition that the police officer has reasonable grounds to believe were used or threatened to be used in the commission of a domestic abuse offense if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that there was physical abuse or harm inflicted by one person upon a family or household member, regardless of whether the physical abuse or harm occurred in the officer’s presence.

See our Domestic Violence and Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7. ⤴︎
  2. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7(f). ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. See Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 586-5(b), 586-5.5(b). ⤴︎
  5. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 586-1, 586-3. ⤴︎
  6. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7(f). ⤴︎
  7. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 134-7(g), 134-7.3(b). ⤴︎
  8. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7(f). ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎
  12. Id. ⤴︎
  13. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7.5(a). ⤴︎
  14. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7.5(b). ⤴︎
  15. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7.5(d). ⤴︎