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Thread: Breaking down a Hawaii Firearm law

  1. #1
    Regular Member Funtimes's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Honolulu, Hawaii, United States

    Breaking down a Hawaii Firearm law

    Some things came up with not being allowed to train or teach with firearms in Hawaii at the range. So I was looking at the statute and would like some other smart people to help me break down this statute. I'm wanting to get the best understanding I can, because I have been threatened with arrest at the shooting range in the past few months.

    Alright, so let’s have some fun, with a question: Are you allowed to carry, display or use a unloaded pistol in Hawaii, for any reason?

    A link to the statutes is here.

    Let us start first with the relevant carry portion of Hawai’i law. HRS § 134-9 states: (c) No person shall carry concealed or unconcealed on the person a pistol or revolver without being licensed to do so under this section or in compliance with sections 134-5(c) or 134-25.

    So we know, just from reading this, that unless we have a concealed firearms permit, are in compliance with section 134-25 or 134-5(c), or have some sort of other statutory exemption – we cannot.

    As of right now we are prohibited from carrying, because we don't have a license. So let us see if any relief is granted from 134-5(c).
    HRS 134-5 (c) states:

    A person may carry unconcealed and use a lawfully acquired pistol or revolver while actually engaged in hunting game mammals, if that pistol or revolver and its suitable ammunition are acceptable for hunting by rules adopted pursuant to section 183D-3 and if that person is licensed pursuant to part II of chapter 183D. The pistol or revolver may be transported in an enclosed container, as defined in section 134-25 in the course of going to and from the place of the hunt, notwithstanding section 134-26. (134-26 does not apply, as it relates to possession of a loaded firearm on a public highway -FT)

    So we now know, that under 134-5(c), we must:
    1. be engaged in hunting;
    2. have acceptable ammunition and firearm; and
    3. be licensed in accordance with 183D-3.

    In part 134-5(a) there is an exemption that removes the requirement for a permit – if the person is target shooting. However, it appears part (A) only applies to rifle and shotguns for target shooting – not pistols.

    Moving on. HRS 134-25, the second exemption to carrying a concealed or unconcealed firearm, states the following:
    a) Except as provided in sections 134-5 and 134-9, all firearms shall be confined to the possessor's place of business, residence, or sojourn; provided that it shall be lawful to carry unloaded firearms in an enclosed container from the place of purchase to the purchaser's place of business, residence, or sojourn, or between these places upon change of place of business, residence, or sojourn, or between these places and the following:

    (2) A target range;
    So we know that, we should confine it to our business, residence or sojourn. However, it is lawful to carry a firearm in an enclosed container – from and to one of the previously mentioned areas.

    Section (b) of this statute states:
    Any person violating this section by carrying or possessing a loaded or unloaded pistol or revolver shall be guilty of a class B felony. [L 2006, c 66, pt of §1].
    So, I can confine it to my sojourn, but if I carry or possess it loaded, I commit a felony?

    There are no other relevant statutes that would provide any exemptions to these policies.

    Can a person shoot on a target range, carry a gun in a holster, or utilize a pistol for target shooting?

    Can 134-25 be read to allow you to un-case, handle, or carry those handguns once you have reached the destinations that you are allowed to carry in-between?

    Can you even carry a loaded firearm within your home?

  2. #2
    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Newport News, Virginia, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Funtimes View Post
    Can you even carry a loaded firearm within your home?
    I think that Heller is definitive about that question.
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come …………. PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

  3. #3
    Regular Member Funtimes's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
    I know and understand the ruling, and most of the dicta in Heller. That doesn't really have anything to do with the question at hand though.

    I'm looking more for a detailed analysis of what this law is actually saying, and whether or not the law, as it is currently written, prohibits loaded pistols inside or outside the home. I believe that if I were to follow the letter of the law -- I can't ever load or carry my pistol if I don't have a license, or am not hunting game mammals.

    For example, while not enforced, there are a few of us who believe having the pistol loaded at a target range could be a felony.

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