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Hawai‘i County Sees Decrease in Processed Firearm Applications

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Hawai‘i County had the highest denial rate of firearm applications at 5.6% statewide for 2021, according to data released by the Department of the Attorney General.

Statewide, 23,299 personal/private firearm permit applications were processed last year, marking a 10.8% decrease from 26,122 applications processed in 2020. Of the applications processed throughout all the counties in 2021, 96.1% were approved and resulted in issued permit, 1.3% were approved but subsequently voided after the applicants failed to return for their permits within a specified time period and 2.6% were denied because of one or more disqualifying factors.

According to the report, Hawai‘i County saw a slight decrease in the number of applications processed from 5,437 in 2020 to 4,899 in 2021. Last year, county officials approved 4,620 and denied 272. Firearm registrations increased from 11,075 in 2020 and 11,600 in 2021. Firearm imports also increased from 5,240 to 6,103.

The 22,393 permits issued statewide covered a total of 57,091 firearms registered throughout the year, resulting in a 6.8% increase from the 53,481 firearms registered during 2020. Just more than half (29,143, or 51%) of the firearms registered during 2021 were imported from out-of-state, with the balance accounted for by transfers of firearms that were previously registered in Hawai‘i. Rifles and shotguns comprised 43.2% (24,678) and 12.1% (6,922) of total registrations, respectively. The remaining 44.6% (25,491) of firearms registered throughout 2021 were handguns.

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According to the AG’s report, the No. 1 reason for denial of a firearm permit in 2021 was applicants were either current or former medical marijuana patients, with 213 being denied. The police departments allow former patients to apply for firearm permits no less than one year after the expiration of their medical marijuana card.

The second reason for denial was for mental health-related issues, with 185 applications rejected.

Firearm registration activity increased dramatically throughout the course of the past 22 years. From 2000-21, the number of statewide permit applications annually processed increased by 253.1%, the number of firearms annually registered climbed 319.3% and the number of firearms annually imported rose by 303.2%.

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Record high tallies of firearms registered and imported, and permit applications processed, were reported in 2021 for Maui County.

County police departments in the state also process permit applications for carrying firearms in public. Statewide in 2021, 124 employees of private security firms applied for and were issued carry permits; one was denied. Twenty-one carry permits were applied for by private citizens statewide, including two in Hawai‘i County, which were denied by Police Chief Paul Ferreira.

Two applications filed in Kaua‘i County were the only ones approved.

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The report also indicates that seven prohibited firearms were confiscated last year, all in the City and County of Honolulu. Weapons recovered included four assault pistols, two short-barrel rifles and one short-barrel shotgun.

View the full report below.

Firearm Registrations in Hawaii 2021 by Tiffany De Masters on Scribd

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.
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