Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Hawaii?

Can You Own a Gun with a Medical Card in Hawaii?

No. Registered medical marijuana cardholders in Hawaii are prohibited from possessing firearms. Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 134-7 (a), bans persons prohibited from possessing or buying firearms under federal law from carrying guns in the state. However, state law enforcement agents allow persons who already have licenses to carry firearms to continue to possess their guns after registering for the Hawaii Cannabis Registry Program. Such persons cannot acquire new firearms while their medical marijuana registrations are still active.

Can Hawaii Medical Cannabis Patients Legally Carry Firearms Without Permits?

Hawaii does not issue gun permits to registered medical marijuana patients. Only medical marijuana patients who have already obtained gun carry permits before registering as medical marijuana patients can carry firearms.

Does Hawaii Require Background Checks for MMJ Patients Seeking Gun Licenses?

Medical marijuana patients in Hawaii cannot obtain gun permits and cannot purchase firearms. The state prohibits cannabis users from possessing guns in line with federal legislation.

Can You Get a Hawaii Medical Marijuana Card After Getting a Gun License?

Yes. Hawaii residents can obtain state-issued medical marijuana cards after getting their gun permits. They can also obtain gun permits after the expiration of their medical marijuana cards. In addition, spouses of registered medical cannabis patients in the state can get gun permits.

Legal History of Gun Ownership for MMJ Patients in Hawaii

Hawaii has one of the strictest firearms laws in the U.S. The state maintains a registry of firearms and empowers county police chiefs to determine whether to issue gun permits to individuals. The Honolulu Police Department wrote to some medical cannabis patients who had already obtained firearm licenses before enrolling as cannabis patients, asking them to surrender their firearms within 30 days. After widespread condemnation, the request was rescinded. Police departments in the state thereafter resolved to allow medical marijuana patients with gun permits to continue to possess their guns.

What Federal Law Says About the Firearm Rights of Medical Marijuana Users

The U.S. Congress passed the Gun Control Act of 1968 to impose stricter regulations on firearms rights. The Act established new categories for firearms offenses and prohibited its sales to felony convicts and illegal drug users. It also imposed federal licensing for manufacturing and selling firearms in all U.S. territories. Following the passage of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act in 1971, cannabis was listed as a Schedule I substance and became an illegal drug. Hence, users of marijuana are prohibited from purchasing firearms under federal laws, regardless of the purpose of use.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) was established to regulate and license the possession of firearms in the U.S. In 2011, the ATF published an open letter to federal firearm licensees prohibiting the sales of firearms to medical marijuana patients because cannabis was still illegal at the federal level. The ATF provides a Firearms Transaction Record form (Form 4473) that must be completed before firearms can be sold. Section 21(f) of the form specifically seeks to determine if a potential buyer uses marijuana, and a positive response disqualifies the buyer from purchasing the firearms. Lying on the form is a felony offense punishable with up to 10 years of imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine.

The Wilson v. Lynch case in 2016 was a notable challenge to the prohibition of gun sales to medical marijuana patients. S. Rowan Wilson was prevented from purchasing a gun because she possessed an active Nevada medical marijuana card. She filed a lawsuit against the Nevada Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, challenging the law that prevented her from purchasing a gun. She claimed that it violated her Second Amendment rights. The United States Court of Appeals dismissed Wilson’s suit and affirmed the federal laws prohibiting medical marijuana patients from purchasing firearms in the U.S., regardless of the state’s position on medical marijuana.

In this section: