Hawaii permits the open carrying of handguns on the person with a permit or license.1 The chief of police may grant a license to carry an unconcealed weapon and ammunition “[w]here the urgency or the need has been sufficiently indicated,” and the applicant is of good moral character, a citizen of the United States, at least 21 years of age, and engaged in the protection of life and property.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 Young v. Hawaii, in an opinion that is now not binding on other courts, a divided three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit interpreted Hawaii’s open carry permitting law restrictively and ruled that the law violates the Second Amendment by limiting open carry permits to applicants who are professionally “engaged in the protection of life and property” (e.g., security guards).4 However, following the panel’s decision, the Attorney General of Hawaii issued an opinion clarifying that open carry permits may be issued to any qualified individual applicant, not just professional security.5 The Ninth Circuit subsequently granted Hawaii’s petition for en banc rehearing by an 11-judge panel, which means the original panel opinion may “not be cited as precedent by or to any court of the Ninth Circuit,”6 and the final outcome in Young is uncertain until the en banc Ninth Circuit panel rehears the case.
See our Open Carry policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-9(c). 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).
- Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-9(a).
- Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-5(a).
- Young v. Hawaii, 896 F.3d 1044, 1048, 1070-71 (9th Cir. 2018).
- Op. Att’y Gen. Haw. No. 18-1 (Sept. 11, 2018), available at https://ag.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/AG-Opinion-No.-18-1.pdf.
- Young v. Hawaii, 915 F.3d 681 (9th Cir. Feb. 8, 2019) (granting petition for rehearing en banc).