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Gun ownership laws vary widely across the United States. While some states have more relaxed regulations, Hawaii enforces strict firearm registration requirements for gun owners. Failure to properly register your firearm in Hawaii can result in severe legal penalties.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Failure to register a firearm in Hawaii is a felony offense punishable by up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. The state requires registration of all firearms within 5 days of acquisition. Not registering is a serious crime.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover Hawaii’s firearm registration laws in detail, look at the penalties for failure to register, and provide tips on how to properly register a firearm in Hawaii.

Hawaii’s Firearm Registration Requirements

Gun and gavel on the table.

When it comes to firearms, Hawaii has strict regulations in place to ensure public safety. One of the key requirements is the registration of all firearms.

Whether you own a handgun or a long gun, it is essential to understand the registration process and the consequences of failing to comply.

All firearms must be registered

In Hawaii, all firearms, including handguns and long guns, must be registered with the appropriate authorities.

This applies to both residents and non-residents who bring firearms into the state. Failure to register a firearm is a serious offense and can lead to legal consequences.

Registration must occur within 5 days of acquiring a gun

Upon acquiring a firearm, whether through purchase, gift, or inheritance, it is crucial to complete the registration process within five days. This timeline is strictly enforced, and failure to meet the deadline can result in penalties.

Long guns and handguns have different registration procedures

It is important to note that the registration process for long guns and handguns differs in Hawaii.

Handguns require registration with the county police department, while long guns are registered with the Department of the Attorney General.

Make sure to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements for each type of firearm.

Registration involves fingerprinting and background checks

As part of the registration process, individuals are required to undergo fingerprinting and background checks. This helps ensure that firearms are not falling into the wrong hands and helps maintain public safety. It is essential to cooperate fully with these requirements to avoid any legal complications.

For more information on Hawaii’s firearm registration requirements, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General at

Familiarizing yourself with these regulations is crucial to avoid the consequences that come with failing to register a firearm in Hawaii.

Penalties for Failure to Register a Firearm in Hawaii

Failure to register is a felony offense

In Hawaii, failing to register a firearm is considered a serious offense. It is important to understand that the law requires all firearms to be registered within a certain timeframe.

Failure to comply with this requirement can result in criminal charges and severe consequences.

Punishable by up to 5 years in prison

The consequences for failing to register a firearm in Hawaii can be severe. Under Hawaii law, individuals who fail to register their firearms can be charged with a felony offense.

If convicted, the punishment can include up to 5 years in prison. This is a serious penalty that should not be taken lightly.

Fines up to $10,000

In addition to potential imprisonment, individuals who fail to register their firearms in Hawaii may also face significant fines.

The maximum fine for failing to register a firearm can be up to $10,000. This financial burden can have long-lasting consequences on an individual’s livelihood and financial well-being.

Firearm may be confiscated

Furthermore, failure to register a firearm in Hawaii can result in the confiscation of the firearm by law enforcement authorities.

Once a firearm is confiscated, it can be difficult and time-consuming for individuals to reclaim their property, even if they ultimately comply with the registration requirements. This can be a frustrating and costly process for gun owners.

It is important to remember that these penalties and consequences exist to ensure public safety and to encourage responsible gun ownership. By registering firearms, individuals help law enforcement track the possession of firearms and prevent their misuse.

Compliance with firearm registration laws is crucial for maintaining a safe community for all.

Read more: Failure To Register Firearm In Hawaii: What Are The Consequences?

How to Properly Register a Firearm in Hawaii


Registering a firearm in Hawaii is a legal requirement that all gun owners must adhere to. By following the proper steps, you can ensure that you are in compliance with the law and avoid the potential consequences of failing to register your firearm.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the registration process:

Complete required training courses

Before registering a firearm in Hawaii, it is necessary to complete the required training courses.

These courses are designed to educate gun owners on proper firearm safety, storage, and handling. They also provide essential information on the local laws and regulations regarding firearms.

By participating in these courses, you can enhance your knowledge and ensure that you are a responsible gun owner.

Undergo fingerprinting and background checks

As part of the registration process, gun owners in Hawaii are required to undergo fingerprinting and background checks. These measures are in place to ensure that only individuals who are eligible to possess firearms are granted registration.

By conducting these checks, authorities can verify the identity and background of gun owners, helping to maintain public safety.

File the required registration paperwork

Once you have completed the necessary training courses and undergone fingerprinting and background checks, you must file the required registration paperwork.

This paperwork typically includes an application form, proof of completion of training courses, and any additional supporting documents as required by the state.

It is important to submit all the necessary paperwork accurately and in a timely manner to avoid any delays or complications.

Pay registration fees

Registration fees are an essential part of the firearm registration process in Hawaii. These fees help cover the administrative costs associated with processing and maintaining firearm registrations.

It is important to note that the fees may vary depending on the type of firearm being registered. Make sure to review the current fee schedule and submit the appropriate payment along with your registration paperwork.

Safely store firearms to prevent access without permission

After successfully registering your firearm, it is crucial to prioritize its safe storage. This includes storing firearms in a secure location, such as a locked gun safe or cabinet, to prevent unauthorized access.

It is your responsibility as a gun owner to ensure that your firearms are not accessible to individuals who should not have access to them, such as children or unauthorized users.

By following these steps and fulfilling the registration requirements, you can demonstrate responsible gun ownership and avoid the potential consequences of failing to register your firearm in Hawaii.

Steps to Take If Charged With Failure to Register

Consult with a criminal defense attorney

If you have been charged with failure to register a firearm in Hawaii, it is crucial to seek legal representation from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.

They can guide you through the legal process, explain your rights, and provide you with the best possible defense strategy. A skilled attorney will review the details of your case, assess the evidence against you, and work to protect your rights and interests throughout the proceedings.

Consider options like plea bargains

When facing charges for failure to register a firearm, it is important to explore all available options.

One such option is a plea bargain, where you negotiate with the prosecution to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence. This can be a viable option depending on the specific circumstances of your case.

Consulting with your attorney will help you understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of pursuing a plea bargain.

Build a strong legal defense

Building a strong legal defense is crucial when facing charges of failure to register a firearm. Your attorney will investigate the circumstances surrounding your case, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and challenge any evidence presented by the prosecution.

They will work diligently to uncover any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and present a compelling defense on your behalf.

Remember, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution, and a strong defense can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

Enroll in a deferred prosecution program if eligible

In Hawaii, eligible individuals charged with certain non-violent offenses, including failure to register a firearm, may have the option to enroll in a deferred prosecution program.

This program allows participants to complete specific requirements, such as community service or counseling, in exchange for having their charges dismissed. Consulting with your attorney will help determine if you meet the eligibility criteria for this program and if it is a viable option for your case.

Remember, the information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified attorney who can provide personalized guidance based on the specifics of your situation.

How to Legally Transfer or Sell an Unregistered Firearm

Voluntarily surrender the firearm to law enforcement

If you find yourself in possession of an unregistered firearm in Hawaii, one option is to voluntarily surrender it to law enforcement.

This is a responsible course of action that helps ensure the weapon does not end up in the wrong hands.

Contact your local police department or sheriff’s office to inquire about their procedures for surrendering firearms. They will provide guidance on how to safely turn in the firearm and may ask for additional information regarding its origin or acquisition.

Transfer ownership to an immediate family member

If you have an unregistered firearm that you wish to keep within your family, you can transfer ownership to an immediate family member.

In Hawaii, immediate family members include spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren. However, it is important to note that the transfer must comply with state and federal laws, including background checks and any necessary permits.

It is recommended to consult with an attorney or legal expert to ensure the transfer is conducted legally and smoothly.

Sell or give the firearm to a licensed gun dealer

An alternative option for disposing of an unregistered firearm is to sell or give it to a licensed gun dealer.

Licensed gun dealers are authorized to buy and sell firearms, and they can provide a legal and regulated means of transferring ownership. They will conduct the necessary background checks and ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

Selling the firearm to a licensed dealer also eliminates the risk of the weapon falling into the wrong hands.

Apply for an exemption based on inheritance

If you have inherited an unregistered firearm, you may be eligible for an exemption under Hawaii law. The exemption allows individuals who have inherited firearms to keep them without registering, provided certain conditions are met.

You will need to submit an application to the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General, along with supporting documentation such as proof of inheritance and a statement explaining why the firearm was not previously registered.

It is essential to follow the application process carefully and comply with all requirements to ensure a successful exemption.

For more detailed information on the legal transfer or sale of unregistered firearms in Hawaii, it is always advisable to consult the relevant state statutes and regulations.

The Hawaii Department of the Attorney General’s website offers comprehensive information and resources regarding firearms laws in the state.

Also read: An In-Depth Look At The Hawaii State Police


Hawaii has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. Properly registering firearms according to state laws is crucial for legal gun ownership. Failure to do so can lead to felony charges, incarceration, and hefty fines.

While the penalties are severe, there are legal options to mitigate charges or safely dispose of an unregistered firearm.

Understanding Hawaii’s firearm registration system can help gun owners avoid violations and exercise their Second Amendment rights responsibly.

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