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State Gun Laws: Who's Restricting & Who's Expanding?

by Countable | Updated on 4.2.18

What’s the story?

  • In recent months, and with renewed urgency since the school shooting in Parkland, FL, states have been pursuing new gun laws. Many are enacting more gun controls, but a handful are expanding gun rights. Legislative sessions are ending soon, closing a window for action. What’s happening in your state?

  • Here’s a round-up from the Wall Street Journal:

  • Florida and Vermont have passed the most comprehensive gun control packages, including raising the age limit for purchase, outlawing bump stocks, and enacting "red flag" laws.

  • Florida also allows teachers to be trained to carry guns on campus.

  • Vermont also now requires background checks for private firearm sales and bans high-capacity magazines.

  • Washington, Massachusetts, and New Jersey passed bump stock bans after the Las Vegas shooting.

  • After Las Vegas, Oregon and Washington tightened restrictions on gun ownership by domestic abusers.

  • The New Jersey House passed expanded background checks, a "red flag" law and a requirement that applicants seeking a concealed-handgun permit show a “justifiable need” to be armed. Senate approval is pending.

  • New York tightened restrictions on gun ownership for convicted domestic abusers.

  • Maryland’s House passed a "red flag" law, but Senate approval is pending. Similar laws in Alabama, Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and Tennessee are not gaining traction.

  • Idaho lawmakers voted down a law that would have restricted gun ownership for domestic abusers for two years after conviction.

  • Colorado and Minnesota are considering school safety bills.

  • Louisiana is considering a bill that would allow students to wear bulletproof backpacks.

  • The Tennessee legislature is debating a bill to penalize any local governments that refuse to let firearm or hunting trade shows rent space at public fairgrounds or convention centers.

  • Lawmakers in Iowa are considering enshrining the "right to bear arms" in the state constitution.

  • South Dakota enacted a law to allow firearms for self-defense in houses of worship and private schools.

What do you think?

What’s happening in your state around gun laws? Do you support enacting tighter gun controls or expanding gun rights? What are you doing in your state to support those legislative goals?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia* / Creative Commons)*

Countable

Written by Countable

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(22)
  • Matthew
    04/02/2018
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    A good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. Look at the Maryland shooting that happened not to long ago. Don’t restrict them!!!!

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  • John.Nutt
    04/02/2018
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    We need more CCWs the more good guys we have that are properly trained and armed. They more protection we have against crime and violence.

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  • David
    04/02/2018
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    Gun control disarms the law-abiding and only the law-abiding, by definition. Self-defense is a basic human right and guns are the only reasonable means for the average citizen to exercise that right.

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  • Kelly
    04/03/2018
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    For those who care about facts: When it comes to gun violence against women, the United States is the most dangerous country in the developed world. Women in the U.S. are 16 times more likely to be shot and killed than are women in other developed nations. Access to a firearm, irrespective of age, triples the risk of death by suicide and doubles the risk of death by homicide. And the vast majority of fatal unintentional shootings of children are self-inflicted, or are by other children and involve an unsecured gun found in their own home. A recent study shows that the majority of children are aware of where their parents store their guns, and more than one third reported handling their parents’ guns—40 percent of them doing so without the knowledge of their parents. The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, the nation’s two largest organizations of education professionals, oppose allowing guns in schools, a position they reiterated after the Parkland shooting Gun violence has a devastating impact on American children and teenagers. Over 2,700 children and teens (ages 0-19) are shot and killed and over 14,000 more are shot and injured every year—that’s an average of 47 American children and teens shot every day. An estimated 3 million American children per year are exposed to shootings. I could go on. Every day, 96 Americans are killed with guns. This should not be about Democrats and Republicans, this should be about common sense. Republicans, Democrats are not coming and have never come for you guns, allow certain common sense gun measures so that we have a chance of curbing this unnecessary epidemic of gun deaths in America. Source: everytownresearch.org

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  • James
    04/02/2018
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    Be armed America! It is your right!

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  • Jonathan
    04/02/2018
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    Unfortunately, relying on individual states to do more about guns isn't going to cut it. That's fine and dandy that one state has tougher laws and shows great initiative, but what's stopping a person from driving to the next state over to buy a gun? For example, California has very strict laws, but some rando who wants to protect him/herself from the Zombie apocalypse or whatever can go next door to Nevada and get their semi Auto bump stocked AR15 there. For real change to occur on the gun issue (yes, it is the issue), these gun control measures need to be enacted equally across ALL 50 states. This is a nationwide epidemic, not a statewide epidemic.

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  • Alvin
    04/03/2018
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    More guns are not the answer. If teachers are armed they will just become the first victims of future school shootings. These atrocities are usually well-planned so the shooter will go after what they see as their greatest threat first; a teacher that may be armed. Don't put a target on the backs of the teachers.

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  • dmc
    04/02/2018
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    The way the NRA and other radical gun owners would like to start up the old west form of justice ie, a good guy ( not a woman) with a gun against a bad guy with a gun. This thinking is wrong for this period in time. Modern society doesn’t need to reconsider taming the old west. Guns are here to stay, we need to protect citizens using other methods. Yes, it will cost lots of $$. SO WHAT! Are our children worth saving? Or have we as Americans grown so cold and unfeeling that we become sheep herded this way and that over gun laws. When we need to protect our children by not letting “BAD Guys” get near them: metal detectors, police officers, secure entries, hardened schools,

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  • Gregory
    04/03/2018
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    The legally armed American Citizens are true allies of law enforcement. We are first responders when law enforcement isn't in the immediate area. Our aim is to protect our families and friends and the innocent people from being victims.

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  • Beth
    04/04/2018
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    Enough is enough. We need common sense laws to protect our children. More guns is not the answer.

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  • Greg
    04/04/2018
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    Leftists don't really want gun control. They want to control the people they don't already control with their system of indoctrination and propaganda. The gun is merely the tool. They're totally good with guns in the hands of people with minds they think they already control. To advance their agenda universally, they must get the guns (especially the most effective guns) out of the hands of those who oppose their oppression; so they let no crisis -real, or imagined, or manufactured, or that they just allowed to occur- go to waste. (Rahm Emanuel) They'll attempt to shame you into accepting their argument that you should surrender your rights due to the actions of another. Absurd! Every single oppressive regime in history either came to power using weapons against the masses, or cemented their power by keeping weapons from the masses. This is a struggle for power! One side strives for the power to be in control of everyone and everything and they'll do anything to achieve it; while the other side strives to be free as God intended and they'll do anything to resist it. Then there are those in the middle, Luke warm, asleep. This situation likely will end up in grand confrontation; the left is already pushing for it. For those of you who have been in slumber, it might be time to sell your cloak and purchase your sword, because while you are educating yourselves, the leftists will be doing everything they can to prevent you. As seen in Genesis, we are put here to decide. We were given that gift of free will. The devil is here to deceive and oppress; to pretend to give you what will ultimately forever be denied to you. That's the paradox.

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  • Carole
    04/04/2018
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    I am surprised at some of the comments. A bad guy with a gun is going to kill somebody. A good guy with a gun is just a reactionary. Good guys aren't supposed to be our vigilantes. We have law enforcement. Let's follow some realistic laws. It has never been proven that shooting each other on the street has solved any problems involving murder.

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  • David
    04/04/2018
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    Oh for Christ’s sake! Really? I am a fan of the constitutional republic, and in general prefer states to have more autonomy... but on this issue, we need common sense regulation on a federal level. End of debate...

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  • Alisha
    04/06/2018
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    Letter I sent to my reps: RE: gun laws - “enshrining the right to bear arms?” in Iowa. With all of the recent shootings both in schools and outside of them (i.e. YouTube headquarters) you cannot be serious! Do you watch the news at all? Every day just this last week I have seen multiple stories of various types of gun violence and the fear it’s causing for people just around my little Iowa community! 1) ANYONE with a criminal background or mental health history needs lifetime barred from owning ANY firearm. And not just felons! I mean if someone even has a minor assault or harassment charge on their record, they don’t get to own a gun! 2) Stricter security and the funding for it from trained personnel for our schools. NOT teachers. I’m talking ex cops, professional security guards, etc. Teachers already have enough crap on their plate without having to worry about “policing” our schools! And our children, parents, and teachers shouldn’t have to live in fear everyday that the choice to go to school could mean their life ends that day. In the last couple weeks just in my local area I have seen schools shutting down or locking down multiple times in fear of gun threats! This HAS to stop. 3) Ban of bumpstocks and any type of automatic or assault weapon. There is absolutely NO reason to have access to these types of weapons by civilian population. They serve no purpose other than boosting ego and killing people. They’re not useful for hunting. They’re unnecessary for protection. A hand pistol or hunting rifle is plenty for hunting and protection. Frankly, in my opinion, the only people who should ever have ANY kind of gun are those who are serving actively in our military in a war zone and have ACTUAL need of it. There are far too many gun related deaths in this country caused by police wrecklessly discharging their firearm, people willfully shooting up places and murdering each other, and accidents caused from mishandling a weapon or not storing it properly. It’s completely unnecessary. Do your research into nations with strict gun laws and bans. Notice the differences in crime rates and mortalities caused by murders and accidents! “What about protecting ourselves?” people argue... well, there are plenty of nonlethal ways for both our police force and citizens to do that. There are various sorts of guns which shoot pellets or rubber balls that will bring a criminal down without killing them. There are taser weapons, tear gas, mace, powerful water hoses, sound generators, tranquilizer darts and all KINDS of tools that can protect our police force and stop an assailant without killing them. Same goes for home protection. Also, these same weapons can be used in tactical training for military forces so that the ONLY time actual lifetaking weaponry is being used is in an active war zone. For hunting there are various other tools as well, such as bows and arrows which take actual skill to use successfully and are less likely to cause human deaths. I feel this is vital. People also argue, “Well if someone wants to kill you, they’ll find a way. They’ll use a fork if they have to. Should we ban forks too?” Well that statement is ignorant and made by people who just want an excuse to take another’s life. Because the fact is, I would much rather have someone come at me with a fork and get knocked on their ass and sent to jail than to have someone hiding in a bush somewhere waiting to shoot me and I don’t even know they’re there or have any way of protecting myself. Guns need to go. Period. They need to all be collected nationwide and stored somewhere that only military has access to in times of war. But since I know we’re a nation of selfish and ignorant people who care little for the lives of others and prefer to justify our own desires rather than consider the benefit of “all,” I know that won’t happen right now and that’s why I propose, AT THE VERY LEAST, we must enforce the top 3 suggestions regarding gun control. For the safety of our children! It is NECESSARY!

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  • John
    04/02/2018
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    Thank god Michigan is still in the thrall of the NRA. There needs to be a major housecleaning of government to get the gunlickers out and have sanity return.

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  • Carl
    04/04/2018
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    The Tommy Gun began it’s entry into the hands of “mobsters” in 1918. In essence, a machine gun/ The Thompson Submachine Gun was banned in 1934, the Congress’ second act of gun control- the National Firearms Act of 1934. The then NRA President, Karl Fredrick stated, “protection for firearms does not come from the Second Amendment, it comes just from wise public policy.” Do your homework. You can still own a gun today. We don’t need to own every type of weapon. That is why we don’t all have tanks or silos.

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  • Tom
    04/05/2018
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    For everyone out there that thinks gun violence in this country is the worst in the world here's some a lot worse, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Europe (London specifically has surpassed Chicago), even Germany, yes Germany numbers are rising yet still even with all their gun laws people are being shot with illegal firearms. London ERs are filling with young people shot and stabbed, go on over and visit see for yourself. Gun laws do not stop shootings only allow more good people to die cause they can't defend themselves

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  • Ochoninja
    04/05/2018
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    I am not a liberał and just want better background checks and no assault weapons. I think they should have licensed like we have for driving, etc I had to have a license for OTR as do doctors, other professions

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  • TracyEckels
    04/03/2018
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    For those about to rock, we salute you!!!

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  • Gregory
    04/09/2018
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    Americans, if you want to keep your freedom you must never vote for any legislation that takes away our 2nd amendment rights. This issue is very serious and we need to pay close attention to what the sneaky Democrats are trying to do! Gun control is the last thing we need happening. Legally armed citizens are the only ones that can help stop the madness in cooperation with law enforcement. We are their allies!

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