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New law allows Hawaii residents to legally purchase, carry stun gun for self-defense

Top stories from across Hawaii and around the world, as seen on the 5 p.m. news broadcast from Hawaii News Now.
Published: Jan. 1, 2022 at 5:03 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 1, 2022 at 5:06 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Jan. 1 is the first day Hawaii residents 21 years old and older can legally purchase and carry a stun gun or Taser for self-defense.

The new law is strict compared to most states.

Vendors would have to complete a background check on potential buyers and provide proper training.

It’s a big day for former Honolulu police officer Raymond Craig, who just started up Smart Training Hawaii, a business that focuses on training and stun gun education.

“There has been a lot of questions on what people want from the device,” Craig said. “And they want it for the right reasons.”

Anthony Smith visited the Smart Training Hawaii’s facility on Kalihi to learn more about the devices — after he waited years for them to become legal in Hawaii.

“I wanted to kind of feel them, get to know them,” Smith said. “I think we’re a little overdue for getting something like this. It gives the people on Oahu a chance of defending themselves.”

For Anthony Smith, the wait is worth some peace of mind.

“If I knew that my wife had one of these, I would be a lot more comfortable when she goes out for her walks,” Smith said. “I always like to say I’d rather have this device and not need it than need it and not have one.”

Ed Howard, president and CEO of Pax Bello Security Solutions Hawaii, said he thinks there is a lot of demand for stun guns.

“People are excited,” he said. “We’ve gauged interest and we’ve had amazing results with that.”

Hawaii is the 49th state to legalize stun guns.

“I think to give the people a nonlethal option, that’s effective, right?” said Sara Morrell, the senior trainer for TASERSelf Defense.

Morrell traveled to Hawaii to celebrate the new law and to teach people about her company’s products.

“Weapons are so regulated here in Hawaii,” Morrell said. “There are so many regulations around that. Getting the electronic gun passed here has just taken a long time. I think it’s great though, that training is required. Then people will really have confidence around using the device.”

Andrew Namiki Roberts, Honolulu resident and director for the Hawaii Firearms Coalition, filed a lawsuit in federal court in 2018 after the Honolulu Police Department told him that it’s illegal for anyone to possess electronic arms.

“I’m really happy,” Roberts said. “I mean, it’s taken a long time. But it’s finally happened.”

He said, however, there are still a lot of logistical issues to work through.

First, people will have to file a background check which could take weeks. They would have to go through a licensed trainer and the purchase could be anywhere between $100 and $500.

Roberts said there is limited information about how to properly buy and own a stun gun and is working through the process himself.

The new law limits electric gun use to self-defense, defense of another, or protection of property.

According to the Attorney General’s office, use for other purposes is a misdemeanor offense and could even be considered a felony if you use it to commit a crime.

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