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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 being prosecuted for one or more charges for, or who has been convicted of:
    • A felony
    • An illegal sale or distribution of any drug that is not a felony for 20 years from the date of conviction;
    • Any “crime of violence” that is not a felony for 20 years from the date of conviction or
      • Crimes of violence are enumerated in Section 134-1 of the Hawaii Code and are any offense under federal or state law that involves injury or threat of injury to another person; or the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another or the creation of a substantial risk of causing bodily injury. Specific crimes are also considered crimes of violence including misdemeanor harassment and sexual assault in the fourth degree;1
    • “A criminal offense relating to firearms” for 20 years from the date of conviction.
      • Criminal offenses relating to firearms are any criminal offenses involving firearms, ammunition, or dangerous weapons punishable as a misdemeanor; criminally negligent storage of a firearm; and any other criminal offense punishable as a misdemeanor under federal or state law or the law of another state, a United States territory, or the District of Columbia that has as an element of the offense the use, attempted use, threatened use, or possession of a firearm.
  • 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;”
  • Unless the person has been medically documented to be no longer adversely affected by the addiction, abuse, dependence, mental disease, disorder, or defect;
    • Is or has been diagnosed with or treated for a medical, behavioral, psychological, emotional, or mental condition or disorder that causes or is likely to cause impairment in judgment, perception, or impulse control to an extent that presents an unreasonable risk to public health, safety, or welfare if the person were in possession or control of a firearm;
    • Has been adjudged to:
      • Meet the criteria for involuntary hospitalization under state law; or
      • Be an “incapacitated person”, as defined in state law.
  • 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, a crime of violence, a criminal offense relating to firearms, or an illegal sale or distribution 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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  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-1.[]
  2. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-7.[]
  3. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-29(d)(3)(B).[]