What’s the Law: Hi cap mags for law enforcement

WHAT’S THE LAW?

BY DARRYL CHOY

Topic: More than 10-round magazines/law enforcement revisited

Question: I see a number of gun dealers in Hawaii who have been stocking and selling more than 10-round magazines that will fit a pistol. A lot of AR-15 30-round magazines can be found displayed for sale. Can they legally sell them despite Hawaii’s ban?

Answer: People of Hawaii are prohibited from possessing any magazine that holds more than 10 rounds and fits a pistol (so-called hi-cap pistol magazines). Stores cannot lawfully sell them to civilians. That includes hi- cap AR-15 magazines. (See Section 134-8 (c) HRS)
However, Section 134-11 (a) (1) HRS exempts state and county law enforcement officers from the hi-cap pistol magazine ban. Law enforcement normally means police and sheriffs but also includes those within the Office of the State Attorney General; the County Prosecutors; and the Departments of Land & Natural Resources, and Transportation, and Public Safety. Some, but not all, are deemed “on duty 24/7.”

By contrast, Section 134-11 (a) (2) HRS exempts members of the armed forces from the hi-cap magazine ban while in the performance of their duties and only if those duties require them to be armed.

It would appear those “always on duty” law enforcement officers can purchase banned hi-cap magazines. But can a dealer sell such magazines to them? What must be considered is there is no statutory exemption for a dealer to possess such high capacity magazines even if only part of the store inventory. So a dealer who is selling the magazines to qualified law enforcement cannot legally possess them in the first place.

Will Hawaii’s hi-cap pistol magazine ban be enforced to the letter? That’s up to law enforcement. Complicated you say?

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