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Información Legal: Hawái

Hawái: State Gun Laws

Actualizada: 
28 de agosto de 2019

What is the difference between federal and state gun laws?

In these gun laws pages, we refer to both “federal gun laws” and “state gun laws.” The major difference between the two has to do with who makes the law, who prosecutes someone who violates the law, and what the penalty is for breaking the law.

One reason why it is important for you to know that there are these two sets of gun laws is so that you can understand all of the possible ways that the abuser might be breaking the law, and you can better protect yourself. Throughout this section, we will be referring mostly to state laws. Be sure to also read our Federal Gun Laws pages to see if any federal laws apply to your situation as well. You will need to read both state and federal laws to see which ones, if any, the abuser might be violating.

If you are calling the police because you believe the abuser has violated a gun law, you do not necessarily need to be able to tell the police which law was violated (state versus federal) but local police cannot arrest someone for violating federal law, only for violating state/local laws. Only federal law enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”), can arrest someone for violating federal laws. If the local police believe that a state law is being violated, they could arrest the abuser and hand the case over to the state prosecutor. If the local police believe a federal law is being violated, hopefully, the police department will notify the ATF or perhaps the U.S. Attorney’s office in your state (which is the federal prosecutor). For information on how you can contact ATF directly to report the violation of federal gun laws, go to Who do I notify if I think the abuser should not have a gun? If the abuser is breaking both state and federal laws, s/he might be prosecuted in both state and federal court.

What is the definition of a felony?

Throughout these gun law pages, we will refer to gun laws that make it illegal for someone convicted of a felony to have a gun. A felony is a more serious crime than a misdemeanor. In Hawaii, a felony is a crime that is punishable by imprisonment for more than one year or any crime that is listed as a felony in Hawaii’s criminal laws.1

However, you cannot always tell if someone was convicted of a felony only by looking at the amount of time s/he actually served in prison since sentences are often reduced or pled down. If you are unsure if the abuser was convicted of a felony, you might want to talk to the prosecutor who handled the criminal case against the abuser to find out or go to the courthouse and search the conviction records.

1 Haw. Rev. Stat. § 701-107(2)

I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

Under Hawaii law, a person cannot have or buy a gun unless s/he has a permit issued by the chief of police in his/her county. To qualify for a permit, a person:

  • has to be 21 years or older, unless s/he is 18 or over and has a valid hunter’s license;
  • must have completed an approved safety course;
  • has to be a United States citizen, a legal permanent resident, or other qualified immigrant (called a “qualified alien” in the law); and
  • must not be otherwise disqualified for one of the reasons mentioned below.1

Hawaii state law says that a person cannot have or buy a gun if s/he:

  • is subject to an order that says the person cannot contact, threaten, or physically abuse the protected person, which includes an order for protection or a gun violence protective order;
  • has been convicted of, or has charges pending, in Hawaii or another state, for:
    • a felony;
    • any crime of violence2 (an offense that involves injury or the threat of injury)3; or
    • an illegal sale of any drug;
  • is a fugitive from justice;
  • cannot own a gun under federal gun laws;
  • is or has been under treatment for addiction to a dangerous drug or alcohol, unless the person has been medically documented to no longer have the addiction;
  • has been found not guilty of a crime because of a mental disorder, unless the person has been medically documented to no longer have the mental disorder;
  • has been diagnosed with a serious behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, unless the person has been medically documented to no longer have the mental disorder;
  • is under 25 and was found by a family court, as a juvenile, to have committed:
    • a felony;
    • two or more crimes of violence, or
    • an illegal sale of any drug;
  • is under 18 and:
    • is under treatment for addiction to a dangerous drug, unless the person has been medically documented to no longer have the addiction;
    • is a fugitive from justice;
    • has been determined to not be responsible for a crime because of a mental disorder, unless the person has been medically documented to no longer have the mental disorder; or
    • has been committed to an institution due to a mental disorder, disease, or defect, unless the person has been medically documented to no longer have the mental disorder.2

If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may be illegal for him/her to have a gun. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, may restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

1 Haw. Rev. Stat. § 134-2(a), (d)
2 Haw. Rev. Stat. § 134-7
3 Haw. Rev. Stat. § 134-1