Pepper Spray Laws – Hawaii

Hawaii has a somewhat dodgy reputation among gun owners as a state that is fairly restrictive, but surprisingly perhaps this mildly draconian outlook does not extend to the use of defensive sprays, including pepper spray.

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Residents and visitors to Hawaii may possess pepper spray and may furthermore possess any formulation of pepper spray they deem fit so long as it is not intended to cause any lasting or permanent harm.

However, county and city restrictions vary widely throughout the Aloha State so it is definitely in your best interest to dig deeper than state law if you are planning on visiting or moving to Hawaii.

We will tell you what else there is to know and the remainder of this article and provide the most relevant statutes at the end of the article.

Fast Facts

  • Hawaii does not have any statewide restriction on what formulations of pepper spray may be carried by civilians. OC pepper spray, as well as CN and CS tear gas formulations, are permissible.
  • There is no obvious restriction on what quantity of defensive spray may be carried at the state level. Once again, local and county restrictions vary.
  • Anyone may be in possession of pepper or other defensive sprays so long as it is carried with the strict intention of being used in self-defense.
Pepper Spray State Laws Hawaii—What's Legal?

Overview

Hawaii’s state statutes go on at some length concerning the restriction of firearms, knives, and other deadly or dangerous weapons, but nowhere do they mention pepper spray in any context as it pertains to civilian ownership and carries.

This is good news in one way because it means you really don’t have to fret too much about how big your pepper spray canister is or what formulation is contained therein.

On the other hand, it might make life needlessly complicated because county and city laws concerning pepper spray are present and do vary, and there appears to be nothing in the way of statewide preemption to help unravel the patchwork nature of said laws.

For instance, the city of Honolulu has restrictions stating that pepper spray may only be carried for a defensive purpose and only by a person who is aged 18 years or older.

City law also says it is unlawful for a person to sell or offer to sell any pepper spray in the city for any reason to anyone without a license obtained pursuant to other requirements.

It stands to reason that other city and county laws could be similar or even more restrictive, but an explanation of those laws is beyond the confines of this article series.

It is imperative that you do your research before committing to carrying pepper spray throughout the state.

Many weapons violations are felonies in Hawaii, and it stands to reason that a violation carrying something as innocuous as pepper spray might yet result in serious criminal charges if you screw up. Buyer beware!

Conclusion

Hawaii is a surprisingly lenient state when it comes to pepper spray laws, and places no restrictions on the formulation of any defensive spray or the quantity of defensive spray that may be carried by civilians.

Unfortunately, city and county laws throughout the state have their own ideas about defensive sprays and civilian hands and have implemented their own statutes accordingly.

Residents and travelers to Hawaii who contemplate utilizing defensive sprays for their self-defense plan are strongly encouraged to research all local and county laws in the places that they frequent before carrying.

Relevant State Statutes

§134-51 Deadly weapons; prohibitions; penalty. (a) Any person, not authorized by law, who carries concealed upon the person’s self or within any vehicle used or occupied by the person or who is found armed with any dirk, dagger, blackjack, slug shot, billy, metal knuckles, pistol, or other deadly or dangerous weapon shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and may be immediately arrested without warrant by any sheriff, police officer, or other officer or person. Any weapon, above enumerated, upon conviction of the one carrying or possessing it under this section, shall be summarily destroyed by the chief of police or sheriff.

(b) Whoever knowingly possesses or intentionally uses or threatens to use a deadly or dangerous weapon while engaged in the commission of a crime shall be guilty of a class C felony.

Case Notes

(…)

“Other deadly or dangerous weapon” is limited to instruments whose sole design and purpose is to inflict bodily injury or death. 55 H. 531, 523 P.2d 299.

A “diver’s knife” is neither a “dangerous weapon” nor a “dagger”. “Deadly and dangerous weapon” is one designed primarily as a weapon or diverted from normal use and prepared for combat. 56 H. 374, 537 P.2d 14.

Cane, butterfly and kitchen knives are not deadly or dangerous weapons. 56 H. 642, 547 P.2d 587.

Sheathed sword-cane and wooden knuckles with shark’s teeth were “deadly or dangerous weapons”. 58 H. 514, 572 P.2d 1222.

Statute does not require that weapons be “concealed” within the vehicle. 58 H. 514, 572 P.2d 1222.

Vehicle stop being proper, seizure of weapons in plain view was authorized. 58 H. 514, 572 P.2d 1222.

Shotgun is a deadly or dangerous weapon. 61 H. 135, 597 P.2d 210.

A .22 caliber rifle is a “deadly or dangerous weapon”. 63 H. 147, 621 P.2d 384.

Nunchaku sticks are not per se deadly or dangerous weapons. 64 H. 485, 643 P.2d 546.

The crime underlying a subsection (b) offense is, as a matter of law, an included offense of the subsection (b) offense, within the meaning of §701-109(4)(a), and defendant should not have been convicted of both the subsection (b) offense and the underlying second degree murder offense; thus, defendant’s conviction of the subsection (b) offense reversed. 88 H. 407, 967 P.2d 239.

“Billy” as used in this section refers to “policeman’s club” or “truncheon”; a club-like implement designed for purpose of striking or killing fish is not a “billy”; section extends only to weapons deadly or dangerous to people. 10 H. App. 404, 876 P.2d 1348.

Cited: 43 H. 347, 367; 10 H. App. 584, 880 P.2d 213.


134-12.5 Forfeiture of firearms, ammunition, deadly or dangerous weapons, and switchblade knives; when.

All firearms, ammunition, deadly or dangerous weapons, and switchblade knives possessed, used in violation of this chapter or the Hawaii Penal Code shall be forfeited to the State according to the provisions of chapter 712A and shall be destroyed or, if not destroyed, transferred to the chief of police of the county in which the violation took place for use by and under control of the police department.


707-713 Reckless endangering in the first degree.

1) A person commits the offense of reckless endangering in the first degree if the person employs widely dangerous means in a manner which recklessly places another person in danger of death or serious bodily injury or intentionally fires a firearm in a manner which recklessly places another person in danger of death or serious bodily injury.

(2) Reckless endangering in the first degree is a class C felony.


707-714 Reckless endangering in the second degree.

(1) A person commits the offense of reckless endangering in the second degree if the person:

(a) Engages in conduct that recklessly places another person in danger of death or serious bodily injury; or

(b) Intentionally discharges a firearm in a populated area, in a residential area, or within the boundaries or in the direction of any road, street, or highway; provided that the provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to any person who discharges a firearm upon a target range for the purpose of the target shooting done in compliance with all laws and regulations applicable thereto.

(2) Reckless endangering in the second degree is a misdemeanor.


707-712 Assault in the third degree.

(1) A person commits the offense of assault in the third degree if the person:

(a) Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person; or

(b) Negligently causes bodily injury to another person with a dangerous instrument.

(2) Assault in the third degree is a misdemeanor unless committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty misdemeanor.


707-711 Assault in the second degree.

(1) A person commits the offense of assault in the second degree if:

(a) The person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes substantial bodily injury to another;

(b) The person recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another;

(c) The person intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to a correctional worker, as defined in section 710-1031(2), who is engaged in the performance of duty or who is within a correctional facility;

(d) The person intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a dangerous instrument;

(e) The person intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to an educational worker who is engaged in the performance of duty or who is within an educational facility. For the purposes of this paragraph, “educational worker” means any administrator, specialist, counselor, teacher, or employee of the department of education or an employee of a charter school; a person who is a volunteer, as defined in section 90-1, in a school program, activity, or function that is established, sanctioned, or approved by the department of education; or a person hired by the department of education on a contractual basis and engaged in carrying out an educational function;

(f) The person intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to any emergency medical services provider who is engaged in the performance of duty. For the purposes of this paragraph, “emergency medical services provider” means emergency medical services personnel, as defined in section 321-222, and physicians, physician’s assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, respiratory therapists, laboratory technicians, radiology technicians, and social workers, providing services in the emergency room of a hospital;

(g) The person intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to a person employed at a state-operated or -contracted mental health facility. For the purposes of this paragraph, “a person employed at a state-operated or -contracted mental health facility” includes health care professionals as defined in section 451D-2, administrators, orderlies, security personnel, volunteers, and any other person who is engaged in the performance of a duty at a state-operated or -contracted mental health facility;

(h) The person intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to a person who:

(i) The defendant has been restrained from, by order of any court, including an ex parte order, contacting, threatening, or physically abusing pursuant to chapter 586; or

(ii) Is being protected by a police officer ordering the defendant to leave the premises of that protected person pursuant to section 709-906(4), during the effective period of that order;

(i) The person intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to any firefighter or water safety officer who is engaged in the performance of duty. For the purposes of this paragraph, “firefighter” has the same meaning as in section 710-1012 and “water safety officer” means any public servant employed by the United States, the State, or any county as a lifeguard or person authorized to conduct water rescue or ocean safety functions;

(j) The person intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to a person who is engaged in the performance of duty at a health care facility as defined in section 323D-2. For purposes of this paragraph, “a person who is engaged in the performance of duty at a health care facility” shall include health care professionals as defined in section 451D-2, physician assistants, surgical assistants, advanced practice registered nurses, nurse aides, respiratory therapists, laboratory technicians, and radiology technicians;

(k) The person intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to a person who is engaged in providing home health care services, as defined in section 431:10H-201; or

(l) The person intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to a person, employed or contracted to work by a mutual benefit society, as defined in section 432:1-104, to provide case management services to an individual in a hospital, health care provider’s office, or home, while that person is engaged in the performance of those services.

(2) Assault in the second degree is a class C felony.

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