Purchasing a firearm in Hawaii can be complicated and time-consuming. This guide is here to help you through the process. While we strive to make this guide as complete as possible, there certainly may be some questions we fail to answer. If that is the case, please feel free to use our contact form to suggest something we've missed.
The application process begins at your county Chief of Police, but you can expedite the process by filling out some of the necessary forms ahead of time. Those forms can be found here:
(Note: There is also a form to request a license to concealed- or open-carry a firearm in public here. In more than 20 years, no regular citizen who was not a security guard or armored truck driver has ever been granted one. You can fill out the form if you like, but until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the right to "bear arms" as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment, you're wasting your time.)
If you are looking to purchase a handgun, you must first take an approved class. (Purchase of a long gun does not require taking a class, but if you've never handled a firearm before, we here at Restricted Arms strongly suggest you visit your local gun shop and see about taking one anyways.) Approved classes include a State of Hawaii-run Hunter Education Course or a Handgun Safety Training Course run by an NRA-certified instructor. Check your local gun shop for information on where you can take the latter course.
For a handgun, you will also need to pick up a "Permit to acquire" application that will require you to fill in the name and address of the seller, the gun's Make, Model, Caliber, Type (Revolver/Semi-Automatic), Barrel Length and Serial Number of the handgun you with to purchase. Contact your local firearms retailer for more details on ths.
At your local police/sheriff's department you'll need to have the forms filled out above and you'll also have to pay a one-time $43.25 "Rapback Fee." (This fee is only charged the very first time you're purchasing a firearm.) This fee is to fund a program where if you later commit a disqualifying crime, the authorities will know to come for your guns. Call your local department ahead of time to determine how to pay this fee. Some will take cash or a credit card, other departments want a postal money order or cashiers check.
At this time you will also be fingerprinted and then the mandatory 14-day waiting period begins.
Once the 14-day waiting period is complete, you have just six (!) calendar days (including weekends and holidays) to pick up your permit. If, for any reason, those six days elapse and you have not picked up your permit, you'll have to go through the entire process again.
If your permit was for a long-gun (rifle, shotgun), then your purchase permit is good for 1 year from the date of issue. You can purchase as many long guns as you like during that time period.
Permits for handguns are only good for 10 days from the date of issue, including weekends and holidays.
Once you've taken possession of your rifle or handgun, you have just 5 calendar days (including weekends and holidays) to return to the sheriff's or police department and register the gun. Make sure the gun is unloaded and in a locked container as you transfer the firearm.