Hawaii permits the open carrying of handguns on the person with a permit or license.1 The chief of police may grant a license to carry an unconcealed weapon and ammunition “[w]here the urgency or the need has been sufficiently indicated,” and the applicant is of good moral character, a citizen of the United States, at least 21 years of age, and engaged in the protection of life and property.2 Hawaii allows for the open carrying of long guns in public, but only for target shooting purposes or while hunting with a license.3

In Young v. Hawaii, a divided panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit interpreted Hawaii’s open carry permitting law restrictively and ruled that it violates the Second Amendment because it limits open carry permits to applicants who are professionally “engaged in the protection of life and property” (e.g., security guards).4 Following the Ninth Circuit’s opinion, the Attorney General of Hawaii issued an opinion clarifying that open carry permits may be issued to any qualified individual applicant, not just professional security.5 The state and county of Hawaii have sought rehearing en banc in Young, arguing that the panel opinion misinterprets Hawaii’s law; as of October 2018, Hawaii’s en banc petition is still pending before the Ninth Circuit.

  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-9(c). See also Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann § 134-9 (licensing provisions for the possession of concealed handguns); Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §134-5(c) (licensing of hunters) and Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-25 (possession restrictions for handguns). ⤴︎
  2. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-9(a). ⤴︎
  3. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-5(a). ⤴︎
  4. Young v. Hawaii, 896 F.3d 1044, 1048, 1070-71 (9th Cir. 2018). ⤴︎
  5. Op. Att’y Gen. Haw. No. 18-1 (Sept. 11, 2018), available at https://ag.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/AG-Opinion-No.-18-1.pdf. ⤴︎