How Do Gun Laws Vary Throughout the United States?

Fri, Mar 21, 2014

General Legal Issues

Some rights reserved by Mike SaechangEvery state has different legislation regarding guns. Our blog usually discusses Florida laws regarding guns, but for this blog post we will discuss various guns laws throughout the United States for an informational comparison to Florida laws.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States discusses the right to bear arms. The right to bear arms is a very controversial subject and garners various interpretations. There are staunch supporters that say it guarantees the right for Americans to have guns without much regulation, and there are those who say it is outdated and is being interpreted poorly by gun supporters. Our blog post about the Second Amendment is found here.

The Second Amendment is not the only federal law relating to guns. There are several federal gun laws. They include:

  • The National Firearms Act
  • The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
  • The Gun Control Act of 1968

Another federal law that has been quite controversial is the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, part of the 1994 Crime Bill. This was valid from 1994 through 2004, and is often brought up in the discussions about assault weapons and violence associated with them. It was allowed to expire because of wording in the bill itself.

The ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) is involved in enforcing most federal gun laws. This link to their site brings you to a good starting point for learning more about the bureau and federal gun laws.

Each state also has different gun laws. We have discussed Florida’s gun laws in great detail over time. Some blog posts that are good starting points include:

As you know, Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is one of Florida’s most controversial laws. We’ve discussed it here. Florida is often criticized or lauded (depending on your point of view) for its gun laws. However, it is not the only state with controversial gun laws:

  • Arizona has mostly open carry, meaning you can carry your gun in the open most places without a permit. It also has a Stand Your Ground Law.
  • Kentucky does not require a permit to carry a concealed weapon and they also have a Stand Your Ground law.
  • New Hampshire has no restrictions on magazine capacity.

Then there are those states that have strict gun laws. New York is one of those states. The New York Safe Act, or the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, was passed just last year. Among other things:

  • it bans high-capacity magazines
  • requires registration of assault weapons and broadened what assault weapons includes
  • addresses crimes committed with guns

California is another state with strict gun laws. However, they recently saw a change to these laws when concealed weapon permitting rules were changed. Previously only certain people were able to get concealed weapons. And now, “They recognized that the Second Amendment is something that applies to everyone, not just a few individuals with some kind of a special need,” says Chuck Michel, the National Rifle Association’s West Coast counsel. “It’s not a privilege; it’s a right.” For more, read this article at Thus, scads of Californians are rushing to get their concealed weapon permits before the law might be changed.

It’s easy to see that gun ownership is regulated quite differently throughout the United States.

Attorney Christopher D. Smith is a Lakewood Ranch, Florida attorney with SmithLaw Attorneys. He concentrates in bankruptcy, civil litigation, probate, estate planning, and elder exploitation cases in the Sarasota and Bradenton area. Call 941-907-4774 to learn more and to ask about our free consultations.

Image: Some rights reserved by Mike Saechang


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