View Full Version : Vacation plannning to Hawaii - guns or no guns?

02-09-2016, 07:42 PM
My wife and I are discussing vacation plans to Hawaii later this year. She's been working hard at her job and needs a break. Our research has turned up tons of fun stuff to do in the islands.

The planning problem: CCW in Hawaii seems to be seriously discouraged, or actually forbidden. Ordinarily, I just avoid traveling to places with such policies/rules. In some regards, Hawaii seems as if it is travel to a foreign nation - a very large gun-free zone.

From those who've traveled to Hawaii, what have you encountered? Take your gun, or leave it at home?

02-09-2016, 08:40 PM
From what I understand I would say leave all guns at home, but I am by no means an expert on it.

02-09-2016, 10:17 PM
My brother's been there 6 or 7 times now and doesn't attempt to bring anything. Hell, 99% of tourists don't and they're none the worse. I'm not saying, "Hey, you'll be alright," but...you'll probably be alright.

I couldn't speculate on the ramifications of doing it anyway. Can't say I've looked into their state laws.

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02-09-2016, 10:20 PM
Hawaii according to the locals is fairly nuts. I myself have not spent adequate time there as I only passed through to get to Guam and Saipan. But in Guam I met many Hawaiian transplants and they all pretty much says that .gov is draconian crazy on firearms and even self defense. I think some items of opportunity might be a better plan than trying go with a gun. Ymmv

Brent Yamamoto
02-09-2016, 10:34 PM
Leave it at home.

You have to declare a firearm when you fly. Not so bad on the way there...not good for you on the way back.

02-09-2016, 10:36 PM
I'm very much a guns-everywhere guy, but in Hawaii I just carry a couple of good knives. If I were buying a second home there, I would put some guns in place. But for vacation, I don't.

02-10-2016, 09:38 AM
Leave the gun at home. How do you plan to carry when you are out surfing or diving or generally having fun in the water?

02-10-2016, 12:45 PM
A few more things to consider here about Hawaii.

Hawaii has some very real crime and some dangerous places. The entire state has, though, perhaps the most socially advanced tourist structure in the world. Tourism is the Hawaiian industry. Pineapples and sugar cane may still exist as industries on the islands, but they are relics. Tourism is what it is all about, and they go to great lengths to create a protected tourist corridor. If you decide to venture out to the western regions of Oahu, you will leave this little corridor and face significantly greater odds of being targeted for crime. If you stay in the touristy areas, your greatest risks will be pickpockets and art dealers.

There is a very deep vein of racism and resent that runs through both the indigenous islanders and the "local" Asians. If you are white or black, you are a haole (pronounced "how-lee"). The islanders suffered pretty significantly under British and American rule. They exist today in a kind of second-class caste--or at least there are many of them who feel as though they do. If you leave the touristy areas, and find yourself in a place where everyone is an actual islander, you have gone too far. It's not quite on par with looking around in Memphis and realizing that yours is the only white skin in sight, but it's a close enough analogy. The Asians may not be indigenous to Hawaii, but there seems to be the belief that they have a better claim to the islands than the pale skins. Plus there is that whole internment camp thing that hasn't been forgotten. While I'm using the generic "Asians," I think you could probably just say the Japanese. I confess to being ignorant enough that I can't always distinguish between countries of origin, so I'm sticking to the generic.

So you've got two sources of racial animosity directed toward you. Add to this the simple fact that tourists are always hated. No matter how dependent any economy is on tourism (which in Hawaii is essentially 100%), the locals will still always hate tourists. One reason local Alaskans love winter is that we have our parking spaces back and the roads aren't filled with septuagenarians who are learning how to drive a giant RV. Criminals love tourists. They don't understand local customs, don't know their way around, are distracted by the sights, have pockets full of cash and pawnable cameras, and don't want to fly back just to be a witness in a trial. What's not to love? The Hawaiian government understand this and their police force is very focused on making the tourist experience a good one, by keeping the criminals at bay.

You may spend all of your time in a swimsuit on the beach, but you may not. I spend a lot of time there in Hawaiian shirts, which could conceal a brace of G34s if I so desired. I spent more time drinking coffee and reading books under palm trees than I did swimming in the ocean. So the argument that you couldn't carry a gun while surfing doesn't carry much sway with me. I don't surf. I have done some diving and snorkeling, and it's totally normal in those scenarios to strap on a 6" fixed blade (or two). And even when you are not diving, the "dive knife" is so common in Hawaii that it makes a particularly good choice of blades.

Though getting a gun onto and off of the islands has some difficulty, carrying around any given island would be easy as pie. I don't recall seeing a single metal detector outside of the airport. I never went to the courthouse--I suspect they probably have them--but museums do not. They probably have security screening at Pearl Harbor, but I never felt a desire to go look at an oceanic grave. You can't get lunch in Washington, D.C. without passing through a magnetometer. NYC is nearly as bad. But Hawaii is free and clear.

Also, be sure to get out of Waikiki. While the touristy areas are safer, that doesn't mean to remain in the throng of people bunched up in that little area. On Oahu, head up to the north shore, or at least out of Honolulu. And I strongly encourage making it to the outer islands. I very much prefer the Big Island to all others. A friend of mine has a condo in Kona, so we go stay there occasionally. If I were buying a place down there, it would be in Hilo.

Go. Have fun.

02-10-2016, 06:53 PM
I second law dog on the touristy areas, if you have a rental and leave it unattended to snorkel or whatever on the west side of Oahu, it WILL get vandalized. I love Hawaii and it's one of my favorite places to vacation, so I'd say go for it

Gabriel Suarez
02-10-2016, 07:13 PM
I have always taken mine but in truth, never carried it.

02-11-2016, 03:10 AM
It's one of the very few places I go that I don't take a gun! It's a very good place to have a couple of knives and a good vacation!