Hawaii’s gun laws are fairly strict

We're one of only 18 states that require a national background check

Gary Chun

Hawaii’s gun laws are considered one of the strictest in the nation. All firearms purchased or brought into the islands must be registered with county police within 72 hours. The prerequisites of getting a permit for owning a firearm in Hawaii are thorough: The person must be at least 21 years of age, fingerprinted and photographed for a criminal background check, affirm by affidavit state of mental health and lack of drug or alcohol addiction or criminal background, and show evidence of proper safety training. In the case of mental illness, Hawaii is among only 18 states that require records go to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

There is a 14-day waiting period after filing and if denied a permit, the firearms owner has 30 days to transfer all firearms and ammunition to either a gun dealer or to the police.

Failure to register a firearm is considered a petty misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Acquiring a firearm without a permit is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year’s imprisonment, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.

If a minor under 16 years of age gains access to an owner’s firearm without parental permission (except as provided by law when at a range or hunting) the owner may be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by fine and jail. When not in use, firearms must be locked up or otherwise reasonably secured.

Under state law, the use of deadly force is justifiable only in self-defense or in defense of other innocents where there is a reasonable belief that death, serious bodily injury or kidnapping may occur. There is a caution that the use of deadly force for the protection of private property can result in criminal charges.