Out of all the countries on Earth, the inalienable right of self-defense is best enshrined right here in the USA. But regrettably, each of the states has its own laws, laws that cover all kinds of different weapons, and that includes less-lethal weapons like tasers.
Some states are significantly more restrictive than others when it comes to these devices, and believe it or not they still aren’t legal everywhere. How about in Hawaii? Are Tasers legal in there?
Yes, tasers are legal in Hawaii as of January 1st, 2022. You may purchase a taser or stun gun in Hawaii if you are 21 years old, undergo a background check and mandatory training, and obtain the device from a licensed dealer.
Well, that is good news in the end, but the legal situation for tasers in Hawaii is still a mess. You can only be in legal possession of a taser if you are the original purchaser, and even the purchase of replacement cartridges is heavily regulated.
Something’s better than nothing though, I suppose, but there’s a lot more you’re going to need to know if you want to legally and safely carry a taser in Hawaii. Read on.
How are Tasers Classified in Hawaii?
Hawaii defines tasers as “electric guns,” a somewhat ominous and weaselly term that describes any portable device designed to discharge electricity into the body through contact or through the use of a projectile. Both tasers and stun guns are listed by type under this definition.
Read the definition for yourself in 134-81 below.
As used in this part:
“Cartridge” means any device or object that is designed to be used with an electric gun to project a missile. “Cartridge” includes but is not limited to a Taser cartridge.
“Electric gun” means any portable device that is designed to discharge electric energy, charge, voltage, or current into the body through direct contact or utilizing a projectile. “Electric gun” includes but is not limited to devices commonly referred to as stun guns and Tasers. “Electric gun” does not include any automatic external defibrillator used in emergency medical situations.
Are Stun Guns Legal in Hawaii?
Yes, stun guns are legal in Hawaii the same as tasers are, but are subject to precisely the same laws. Those laws, as promised, are quite restrictive.
Note for clarity that even though Hawaii lumps both types of devices under the same definition of “electric gun,” tasers and stun guns are distinct…
Tasers are the ones that fire out the darts or probes through the use of a cartridge with gas propulsion, whereas a stun guns have a set of fixed electrodes attached to the front of the device.
Practically speaking, whichever one you want to get you’ll have to go through all of the same processes. We’ll talk about those in just a minute.
Can You Carry a Taser Openly in Hawaii?
The law is uncertain. Historically Hawaii has been extremely non-permissive about the open carry of firearms, namely handguns, even if the person doing so was in legal possession and otherwise licensed to carry concealed.
Though Hawaii was forced to comply with the issuance of concealed weapons permits by various legal decisions, the same cannot be said for open carry.
Accordingly, tasers are in a kind of gray area when it comes to open carry even if legally possessed.
Although it is presumed that completion and possession of a taser training or stun gun training certificate would allow a person to be in legal possession of their taser, for open carrying the situation is still hazy, legally speaking.
Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in Hawaii?
Yes. It is presumed that you may legally carry a taser or stun gun concealed in Hawaii so long as the device is legal, you are in legal possession of it and are also in possession of your certificate of completion of training for the device.
However, various local laws might still be more restrictive than the new state laws concerning concealed carry; there is no statewide preemption in Hawaii. Because of this, you’ll have to become well-read on all of the laws in the towns and counties that you visit.
Are there Age Restrictions on Taser Ownership or Possession in Hawaii?
Yes, there are. Only people who are 21 years old or older may lawfully possess a taser or stun gun in Hawaii. Clear as day, read it for yourself in 134-86.
134-86 Ownership or possession prohibited.
(e) No person who is less than twenty-one years of age shall own, possess, or control an electric gun.
What Do You Need to Do to Purchase a Taser in Hawaii?
This is really where the egregious laws of Hawaii go into total overdrive. Hawaii has long been infamous as one of the most restrictive states in the Union when it comes to firearms of all kinds. It can barely be said to be part of America at all it is so bad!
But they’ve gone so far as to make it just as difficult to obtain a taser or a stun gun. For starters, you’ll have to complete a full background check in advance, and if you have any disqualifying factors in your background you won’t be able to take possession of the device.
More than this, you’ll have to complete mandatory training from a licensed and authorized instructor before you can purchase the device itself. Yes, this includes for simple stun guns, too.
Training covers a variety of topics like the safe and responsible use of your device, along with other considerations like legal training and more.
Lastly, the device itself can only be bought from a licensed and state-authorized dealer, which dramatically cuts down on the outlets where these tools are available. Even replacement cartridges for tasers require checks!
Talk about a lot to get through!
What Coulld Prevent You from Owning a Taser in Hawaii?
Concerning disqualifying factors, Hawaii makes it illegal for anyone to possess a taser who is under the age of 21, who is a fugitive from justice, under indictment or convicted of any felony or any crime of violence or the illegal sale of any drug.
But we aren’t done yet: any person who has been undergoing treatment for addiction to any harmful drug or alcohol, anyone who’s been adjudicated mentally defective or anyone who is a juvenile delinquent and under the age of 25 is also banned from ownership.
And there is yet more, but I will stop there. You’ll have to look up and read all the disqualifiers yourself under 134-86.
134-86 Ownership or possession prohibited.
(a) No person who is a fugitive from justice shall own, possess, or control an electric gun.
(b) No person who is under indictment for, has waived indictment for, has been bound over to the circuit court for, or has been convicted in this State or elsewhere of having committed a felony, any crime of violence, or any illegal sale of any drug shall own, possess, or control an electric gun.
(c) No person who:
(1) Is or has been under treatment or counseling for addiction to, abuse of, or dependence upon any dangerous, harmful, or detrimental drug; intoxicating compound as defined in § 712-1240; or intoxicating liquor;
(2) Has been acquitted of a crime on the grounds of mental disease, disorder, or defect pursuant to § 704-411;
(d) No person who is less than twenty-five years of age and has been adjudicated by the family court to have committed a felony, two or more crimes of violence, or an illegal sale of any drug shall own, possess, or control an electric gun.
Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership?
Yes. As I mentioned above, training from authorized trainers is it mandatory if you want to take possession of a stun gun or taser.
Now is also a really good time to point out that when you are in possession of a taser it is up to you to prevent the possible theoretical possession of the device by any minor, meaning you must keep the device either locked up securely or on your person and under your direct control at all times. This is, of course, another crime if you fail to do so. See 134-88.
134-88 Storage of electric gun; responsibility with respect to minors.
(a) No person shall store or keep any electric gun on any premises under the person’s control if the person knows or reasonably should know that a minor is likely to gain access to the electric gun, unless the person:
(1) Keeps the electric gun in a securely locked box or other container or in a location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure; or
(2) Carries the electric gun on the person or within such close proximity thereto that the minor cannot gain access or control of the electric gun.
Where Can You Carry a Taser in Hawaii?
There are an awful lot of places in Hawaii where you cannot carry your taser or any other weapon, and this situation is further complicated by the patchwork of local laws that the state does nothing to preempt.
As a guideline, and I warn you now that this list is hardly exhaustive, you cannot carry your taser:
- into any government building, office or property,
- onto any military base or installation,
- into any courthouse or courtroom,
- into any private property or business that has signs posted against the carrying of tasers and stun guns specifically or against weapons generally,
- into any school,
- into any treatment facility,
- correctional facility,
- or in the secured area of any airport or seaport.
When Can You Use a Taser to Defend Yourself in Hawaii?
Hawaii is extremely specific when it comes to the legal use of tasers and stun guns: They may only be used in genuine cases of self-defense, either defensive yourself or another person or in the protection of property of yourself or another person.
Knowingly or recklessly using your stun gun or taser for any other purpose is a serious crime in Hawaii.
134-82 Restrictions on use, sale, offer for sale, distribution, and transfer of electric guns and cartridges.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly or recklessly use an electric gun for any purpose except:
(2) Defense of another person; or
(3) Protection of property of the person or of another person.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.