Federal law establishes a baseline national standard regarding individuals’ eligibility to acquire and possess firearms. Under federal law, people are generally prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms if they have been convicted of a felony or some domestic violence misdemeanors, or if they are subject to certain court orders related to domestic violence or a serious mental condition. However, federal law merely provides a floor, and has notable gaps that allow individuals who have demonstrated significant risk factors for violence or self-harm to legally acquire and possess guns.
Hawaii has incorporated some federal firearm restrictions under state law, and also enacted stronger restrictions on firearm access too. Under Hawaii law, a person generally may not own, possess or control a firearm or ammunition if he or she:
- 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;
- Is under indictment for, or has been convicted of, any crime of violence. Crimes of violence are enumerated in Title 37 of the Hawaii Code that involve injury or threat of injury to another, including misdemeanor sexual assault and stalking1;
- Is under indictment for, or has been convicted of, 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;”
- Is or has been diagnosed as having a significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, or for treatment for organic brain syndromes, unless the person has been medically documented to be no longer adversely affected by the addiction, abuse, dependence, mental disease, disorder, or defect;
- 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 a firearm and ammunition.
- 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;
- Is subject to a gun violence prevention order;2
- Has been convicted of a third or subsequent offense of failing to report the loss or theft of a firearm as required by section 134-29.3
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- Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-1.
- Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7.
- Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-29(d)(3)(B).