Self-defense may not be the first thing that most people think of in the Aloha State but with changing populations it is becoming more and more necessary to be prepared to defend oneself. In this article, I will go over Hawaii self-defense statutes and what everyday carry weapons are legal.
Hawaii Castle Doctrine Law
Hawaii doesn’t have a castle doctrine law per se but there is no duty to retreat inside your own home. Deadly force may only be used if the person believes it necessary and the attacker has made threats of bodily harm, kidnapping, rape, or murder.
There is no duty to retreat inside one’s home or place of business. Outside of those locations, there is a duty to retreat if it can be done in “complete safety.” Reasonable force, including deadly force, in order to protect one’s own life or another’s life when at home, or in their “castle,” without being liable to prosecution is adopted in Hawaii. (§703-304 )
Is knife legal in Hawaii?
Court decisions have accentuated that the law intends to only restrict the concealed carry of materials that are either specifically listed, manufactured to be weapon deadly or dangerous weapons or modified to be weapons and only weapons. In other words, if the intention of a knife is to inflict dangerous or deadly force, it will be illegal to conceal carry that knife. (HRS §134-51)
Legal to own Knives
- Dirks, daggers, and stilettos.
- Bowie knives and other large knives.
- Throwing stars and throwing knives.
- Disguised knives like belt knives, lipstick knives, and push knives.
- Undetectable knives (knives that won’t set off metal detectors).
Illegal to own (H.R.S. § 134-52)
Hawaii legislation have two categories of prohibited knives. “Switchblade” and “butterfly” knives can’t be lawfuly manufactured, sold, transferred, possessed or transported within the State. These knives are defined as follows:
(a) Whoever knowingly manufactures, sells, transfers, possesses, or transports in the State any switchblade knife, being any knife having a blade which opens automatically
(1) by hand pressure applied to a button or other device in the handle of the knife, or
(2) by operation of inertia, gravity, or both, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Whoever knowingly manufactures, sells, transfers, possesses, or transports in the State any butterfly knife having a blade encased in a split handle that manually unfolds with hand or wrist action with the assistance of inertia, gravity or both, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. (H.R.S. § 134-53)
Tactical Pen: Legal in Hawaii
We use pens on a day to day basis. Some things can be done with an aid of a computer but a good pen will always be essential. It is also remarkably practical when a pen can do so much more than simply use it for writing. The primary use of a tactical pen is straightforward, it is a device for writing however it can also be used as a self-defense tool.
On top of that, the pointed end of a tactical pen is perfect for breaking glass panes. Banging the pointed metal tip into the pane corner. Some tactical pens have a crown studded edge that is ideal for scraping and jabbing. Here is a review of the Ape Survival StrikePen which you can get for free here.
Hawaii Gun Legislation
Hawaii’s gun control statutes are very similar to federal gun laws. Hawaii residents cannot purchase a firearm without first getting a license to acquire the gun. A license to acquire firearms will only be issued to individuals 21 years of age or older. Subject to some requirements, however, licenses are not necessary for persons under age 21 when carrying and using any rifle or shotgun while “actually engaged” in hunting or target shooting. (§134-1 to 18)
State law allows any person 16 years of age or older, or any person under 16 years of age under the following circumstances:
- Accompanied by an adult, to carry and use any lawfully acquired rifle or shotgun, and suitable ammunition, while actually engaged in hunting or target shooting,
- Individuals going to and from the place of hunting or target shooting.
- Engaged in hunting with a procured a hunting license.
Under state law, any child who, while attending school, is found to be in possession of a firearm will be “excluded” from attending school for not less than one year.
Prohibited Individual in Hawaii
In Hawaii, no person shall own, possess or control a firearm or ammunition if he or she:
- Is a fugitive from justice;
- Is a person prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law;
- Is under indictment for, or has been convicted of, a felony;
- Is under indictment for, or has been convicted of, any crime of violence. Crimes of violence are enumerated in Title 37 of the Hawaii Code that involve injury or threat of injury to another, including misdemeanor sexual assault and stalking
- Is under indictment for, or has been convicted of, an illegal sale of any drug;
- Is or has been under treatment or counseling for addiction to, abuse of, or dependence upon any dangerous drug, intoxicating compound, or intoxicating liquor;
- Has been acquitted of a crime on the grounds of mental disease, disorder, or defect
Hawaii is a “may issue state”
The chief of police of the county has the option in determining whether or not to give a concealed weapons permit to an applicant. The chief of police may grant a license to carry a concealed weapon and ammunition in an exceptional case, when an applicant shows reason to fear injury to the applicant’s person or property if the applicant is a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, or a duly accredited official representative of a foreign nation, and over 21 years of age.
Is it legal to carry a Pepper Spray in Hawaii?
Pepper spray is legal in Hawaii if the sole intent to use it is for self-defense. You should be 18 years of age and above with no record of felony to possess it. See the below summary on how the Honolulu law defines it’s legality.
Sec. 41-37.3 Restrictions on possession, sale, and use of pepper sprays.
(a) It is unlawful for any person to use any pepper spray for any purpose except:
(2) Defense of another person; or
(3) Protection of property of the person or of another person.
(b) It is unlawful for any person to sell or offer for sale any pepper spray in the city without a license obtained pursuant to
(c) It is unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale or otherwise furnish any pepper spray to a minor in the city.
(d) It is unlawful for a minor to purchase, possess or use any pepper spray in the city.
(e) It is unlawful to sell or offer for sale any pepper spray on premises where liquor or alcoholic beverages are consumed.
Stun Guns and Tasers are Illegal
Stun gun and Taser are classified as electric gun.
Definition (134-1 )
“Electric gun” means any portable device that is electrically operated to project a missile or electromotive force.
Chapter 134-16 Restriction on possession, sale, gift or delivery of electric guns.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, including a licensed manufacturer, licensed importer or licensed dealer, to possess, offer for sale, hold for sale, sell, give, lend or deliver any electric gun.
(b) Any electric gun in violation of subsection (a) shall be confiscated and disposed of by the chief of police
When you think of a self-defense weapon an alarm may not be the first thing that comes to mind but believe me a personal alarm is one of the best self-defense weapons that you can have! This isn’t an ordinary alarm. A personal alarm is more produces a sound of more than 100 decibels. That’s louder than a jackhammer!
Trust me when I say it’s shrill and loud. You wouldn’t want this alarm sounding in your ear. Also, causing a scene by making a lot of noise is a great tool to defend yourself against any surprise attack whether it be a mugger or purse snatcher. Read about an old woman whose life was saved by a personal alarm.