Hawaii has some of the strongest gun laws in the nation, earning an A- on our Annual Gun Law Scorecard. Among other lifesaving laws, the state requires gun purchasers to obtain a license and complete a firearm safety course. In 2017, Hawaii had the lowest gun death rate in the country and exported crime guns at the third-lowest rate. To further strengthen its gun laws, Hawaii could regulate untraceable and undetectable firearms (also known as ghost guns) and direct funding to evidence-based, community-driven violence intervention strategies in underserved communities.
State Law Background
Among other things, Hawaii:
- Requires any person who is in the business of selling or manufacturing firearms to obtain a state dealer license, which must be renewed annually;
- Bans most assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines;
- Requires all firearm purchasers to obtain a license;
- Imposes child access prevention requirements upon gun owners;
- Requires the registration of most firearms;
- Prohibits the sale of “unsafe handguns;”
- Regulates the possession and sale of ammunition; and
- Restricts the open carrying of handguns and long guns.
Hawaii does not, however:
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Regulate 50 caliber rifles; or
- Require the permanent maintenance of records of firearm sales.
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.
In 2017, Hawaii had the lowest gun death rate among the states. Hawaii also supplied crime guns to other states at the third lowest rate among the states and also imported crime guns from other states at the second lowest rate in the nation.