When It Comes to Gun Laws The Various States Are All Over The Map — Here’s Your Guide

Written by Andrew Linn on July 9, 2018

Gun laws vary from state to state, which can be confusing to those who bring their guns with them when travelling from one state to another. Fortunately, the NRA-Ila website has a list of the gun laws and constitution provisions of all fifty states, as well as New York City, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. I will focus on the constitutional provisions of each state, as well as the laws requiring the permits to purchase firearms, the permits to carry firearms, the licensing of owners, and the registration of firearms.

In regards to constitutional provisions on the right to bear arms, forty-five states have such provisions. New York and New Jersey do not have such provisions in their constitutions, although New York does allow the establishment of a militia and the right to bear arms in its civil rights law, while New Jersey’s constitution does allow its citizens the right to defending life, protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety. Meanwhile, California, Maryland, and Minnesota have no constitutional provisions when it comes to the right to bear arms, nor do Guam or Puerto Rico.

When it comes to the state laws requiring a permit to purchase firearms, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North Carolina require such permits for handguns only, while California, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Massachusetts require permits for the purchase of both handguns and long guns (with Massachusetts requiring a firearms identification card- FID). Meanwhile, New Jersey requires a permit to purchase handguns, and identification is required for the purchase of long guns. As for Illinois, a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card is required for purchasing handguns and long guns (i.e. rifles and shotguns).

In reference to the state laws requiring permits to carry firearms, thirty-four states only require such permits for handguns, while eight other states do not require a permit to carry either handguns or long guns. In Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and West Virginia, permits are available for carrying handguns, but are not required. Illinois requires a FOID for carrying handguns but does not require a permit to carry long guns. Massachusetts and New Jersey require a permit for carrying handguns and a FID for long guns. New York requires a permit to carry handguns, but does not require a permit for long guns.

In regards to the licensing of owners, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey require a license for both handguns and long guns, while Maryland and New York only require a license for handguns. Illinois requires a FOID for both handguns and long guns.

As for the registration of firearms, such a process is mandatory in California and Hawaii for both handguns and long guns. In Connecticut, registration is mandatory for long guns but not for handguns, while Maryland and Michigan require registration for handguns but not for long guns.

In New York City, the permit to purchase, permit to carry, the licensing, and registration is required for both handguns and long guns.

In the District of Columbia, one does not need a permit to purchase firearms, nor is licensing required. However, registration of both handguns and long guns is mandatory, while a permit to carry handguns is required (but is not available for long guns).

For more information regarding state constitution provisions regarding the right to bear arms and state gun laws, visit https://www.nraila.org/.

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Andrew Linn
Andrew Linn is a member of the Owensboro Tea Party and a former Field Representative for the Media Research Center. An ex-Democrat, he became a Republican one week after the 2008 Presidential Election. He has an M.A. in history from the University of Louisville, where he became a member of the Phi Alpha Theta historical honors society. He has also contributed to examiner.com and Right Impulse Media.