County police departments issued 22,393 permits covering a total of 57,091 firearms in the 2021 calendar year, the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday in its annual report on gun registrations in the state.

That marked a 6.8% increase from the 53,481 firearms registered during 2020. About half of the guns registered last year were imported from outside of Hawaii, and the other half were guns previously registered in Hawaii, the department said. Long guns like rifles and shotguns made up 55.4% of firearms registered in 2021, and handguns made up 44.6%, the report said.

While county officials account for permits and gun registrations when they occur, the total number of guns in Hawaii is not clear, in part because guns aren’t accounted for when they leave the state. Still, estimates suggest the number of guns in Hawaii could be upward of 2 million for a population of 1.4 million, or more than one gun per resident.

In the late 1990s, for instance, the attorney general and Honolulu Police Department estimated there were “at least one million” privately owned firearms in Hawaii, the report said. On top of that, from 2000 through 2021, an additional 754,000 firearms were registered (including some more than once, by different owners) and 394,000 imported, while an unknown number of firearms permanently left the state, the attorney general reported.

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