Hawaii saw record number of firearm permit applications in 2020

Hawaii saw record number of firearm permit applications in 2020
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The number of firearm permit applications that were processed in Hawaii last year skyrocketed by more than 62% from 2019, the state Department of the Attorney General said.

In its annual report released Wednesday, the Attorney General’s Office said a record high total of 26,122 firearm applications were processed statewide. That compares to 2019, when 16,098 applications were processed.

Of those processed in 2020, nearly 96% were approved and issued permits.

“The biggest individual reason for denial is for medical marijuana patients, anyone with a current medical marijuana card or who has a card that expired in the last year those people are being denied,” said Deputy Attorney General Paul Perrone.

A total of 53,481 firearms were actually registered in 2020 — a 35.5% increase compared to 2019. Of those firearms, just under half were imported from out-of-state.

Hawaii gun rights advocates aren’t surprised.

“We’re seeing a trifecta of situations happening right now in America that’s making people go out and purchase firearms. One of those is the change in President,” said Andrew Namiki Roberts, Hawaii Firearms Coalition Director. “The civil unrest we seen ... Hawaii didn’t see any of that major violence but it was still a possibility.”

Roberts said another reason is the pandemic.

“There was a lot of problems with food shortages, people not being able to afford food. So one big concern that a lot of people had was with regards to people breaking into their homes and stealing from them or being violent to be able to just feed themselves or feed their family,” Roberts said.

Here’s the breakdown of types of firearms registered:

  • Rifles : 24,126 (45.1%)
  • Shotguns: 5,673 (10.6%)
  • Handguns: 23,682 (44.3%)

Overall, firearm registration went up dramatically over the past 21 years, the Attorney General’s office said.

“It’s not surprising there’s record numbers of firearms being sold,” said State Sen. Chris Lee. “I think the real concern is when people start 3-D printing their weapons, assembling them from parts, without having to register them with law enforcement.”

To view the full report, click here.

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