We all know that gun laws and how much (or little) they respect the 2nd amendment continue to be a hot topic. Instead of focusing on the pros and cons of regulated access to firearms and the debate among gun rights groups and anti-gun rights groups, a debate which unfortunately doesn’t seem likely to be settled anytime soon, let’s examine how gun laws vary by each state. It’s common knowledge that some states have more restrictive gun laws and don’t uphold the second amendment very well. Others states continue to act in a more traditional manner in their approach to gun rights. Let’s see exactly where each state stands.
States with Very Restrictive Gun Laws
The states which restrict gun rights claim they do so because the local authorities believe that restrictive gun laws will reduce crime in the long run. They basically implement this strategy (despite the fact that these laws stand at the expense of and in direct opposition to the second amendment). Since this is a long-term idea, they will not likely be deterred from this approach no matter how the image painted by the current statistics appear.
These are basically the strictest gun laws by state:
- Illinois: any potential buyer has to show his or her FOID (Firearms Owner’s Identification Card) before completing any purchase (even for ammo, not just guns). Then, the seller is required by law to withhold the delivery of the purchased goods for 72 hours in the case of handguns and 24 hours in the case of rifles and shotguns.
- Hawaii: in this state, no one is allowed to purchase any kind of firearm (or acquire it by other means such as inheritances) unless they have obtained a special permit directly from the chief of the police in his or her county of residence or business.
- Connecticut: in this state, the right to carry a gun requires a special permit (including concealed carry) on one’s self or in a vehicle. The Connecticut board of firearms permit examiners states that every effort should be made for firearms to be almost out of sight completely, as to not upset or alarm the people around.
- Massachusetts: buying a firearm can get quite complicated in this state. This state doesn’t just require a permit. There are separate permits for each type of firearm and munition. You must be careful to hold the correct card and permit before attempting any purchase.
- New Jersey: not only is a permit required here before the purchase of any firearm, but it is also unlawful to own any firearm if you did not first apply for and possess the appropriate permit. There is no constitutional guarantee here for the New Jersey citizen’s gun rights.
States with less restrictive gun laws
Without further ado, here are the states where it’s easiest to obtain your firearm:
- New York: no permit is required here, except for the area of New York City. On the other hand, the state doesn’t have any constitutional provision on gun rights, to fall back on.
- Alaska: Alaska is one of the most gun-friendly states in the U.S.A. No permit is required for any purchase. The state also offers stand-your-ground laws which protect gun owners in a case of self-defense.
- Arizona and Florida: in these states, buying, owning, and carrying a gun are again free of any required permits. The state also offers stand-your-ground laws allowing a person to claim self-defense after using a gun if an intruder breaks into a person’s home or attacks the citizen in public.
- Idaho and Kentucky: These states do not require a permit to purchase and own. The state also offers stand-your-ground laws. However, the states still require a permit to carry a gun concealed.
- Montana: in Montana, owners must possess a permit to purchase certain types of firearms (such as assault weapons (aka: semi-automatic rifles)) in certain local municipalities. However, this state has a relatively easy path to obtain said documents. Like the others, Montana offers stand-your-ground laws.
- New Mexico: There are no permits required here for owning, purchasing or carrying firearms. Coincidentally, the state does not offer any stand-your-ground laws or castle doctrine. This disparity is unusual for a state so gun-friendly in all other regards.
If you’d like to check out more about the gun laws in each state and the way they vary, you can use this map of gun laws state cards.