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Hawaii permits the open carrying of handguns on the person with a permit or license.1 In 2023, Hawaii substantially changed its criteria for issuing open carry licenses. As of January 1, 2024, the chief of police may grant a license to carry an unconcealed handgun and ammunition:

  • Sufficiently establishes the urgency or need to carry a firearm unconcealed;
  • Is engaged in the protection of life and property;
  • Satisfies each of the criteria established by or pursuant to subsection (d);
  • Is not prohibited from the ownership, possession, or control of a firearm and ammunition;
  • Is not found to be lacking the essential character or temperament necessary to be entrusted with a firearm. In determining whether a person lacks the essential character or temperament necessary to be entrusted with a firearm, the licensing authority shall consider whether the person poses a danger of causing a self-inflicted bodily injury or unlawful injury to another person, as evidenced by:
    • Information from a health care provider indicating that the person has had suicidal or homicidal thoughts or tendencies within the preceding five years;
    • Statements or actions by the person indicating any dangerous propensity or violent animus toward one or more individuals or groups, including groups based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, or any other characteristic, and the propensity or animus is of a nature or to an extent that would objectively indicate to a reasonable observer that it would not be in the interest of the public health, safety, or welfare for the person to own, possess, or control a firearm or ammunition; or
    • Other information that would lead a reasonable, objective observer to conclude that the person presents or would present a danger to the community as a result of carrying a firearm in public or intends or is likely to use a firearm for an unlawful purpose or in an unlawful manner;
  • Is a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident of the United States; and
  • Is of the age of twenty-one years or more.

An applicant for a concealed carry permit must have completed a course of training that

  • Is acceptable to the licensing authority;
  • Includes in-person instruction on firearm safety; firearm handling; shooting technique; safe storage; legal methods to transport firearms and secure firearms in vehicles; laws governing places in which persons are prohibited from carrying a firearm; firearm usage in low-light situations; situational awareness and conflict management; and laws governing firearms, including information regarding the circumstances in which deadly force may be used for self-defense or the defense of another;
  • Includes a component on mental health and mental health resources;
  • Is conducted by one or more firearms instructors certified or verified by the chief of police of the respective county or a designee of the chief of police or certified by a nongovernmental organization approved for those purposes by the chief of police of the respective county or a designee of the chief of police, or conducted by one or more certified military firearms instructors;
  • Requires participants to demonstrate their understanding of the covered topics by achieving a score of at least seventy per cent on a written examination; and
  • Includes live-fire shooting exercises on a firing range and shall include a demonstration by the applicant of safe handling of, and shooting proficiency with, each firearm that the applicant is applying to be licensed to carry.

A license to open carry is valid for four years from the date of issue and may be renewed.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 2023, Hawaii enacted a law making it a petty misdemeanor to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause alarm to another person by failing to conceal a firearm, even briefly, whether the firearm was loaded or not, and whether operable or not.4


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  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-9(b). 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(m).[]
  3. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-5(a).[]
  4. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-G.[]