“It seems that people who live in states whose founding fathers failed to record that individuals have the Right to Keep And Bear Arms within each state constitution, do have something to lose,” ammoland.com asserts. “The states were talking about, California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York, do not have “right to keep and bear arms” provisions in their state constitutions. Of those listed here, only two, Iowa and Minnesota, have managed to hold on to some or all of their rights. The rest, CA, NY, MD and the worst, New Jersey, have had resident’s rights stripped a way by mostly Democrat run legislatures. Just one look at the run down of article headlines by state [list after the jump] and you can quickly see that having a state constitution the clearly spells out your right to keep and bear arms seems to be a corner stone of keeping those rights intact.” Except in RI, where legislators feel free to ignore an unequivocal declaration of gun rights. Anyway, how are gun rights doing in your neck of the woods?  . . .

AmmoLand Shooting Sports News state article archive, click the links to have a look:

Curious what your state wording reads? Keep reading for the low down. Hat-Tip: NRA-ILA.

Alabama

That the great, general and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established, we declare…. That every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state. (Ala. Const. art. I, § 26) (1819).

Alaska

A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State. (Alaska Const. art. I, § 19) (1994; previous version 1959).

Arizona

The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the State shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men. (Ariz. Const. art. II, § 26) (1912).

Arkansas

The citizens of this State shall have the right to keep and bear arms for their common defense. (Ark. Const. art. II, § 5) (1868; previous versions 1864, 1861, 1836).

California Republic

California 

No “right to keep and bear arms” provision.

Colorado

The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons. (Colo. Const. art. II, § 13) (1876).

Connecticut

Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state. (Conn. Const. art. I, § 15) (1818).

Delaware

A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use. (Del. Const. art. I, § 20) (1987).

Florida

The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law. (Fla. Const. art. I, § 8, [a]) (1990; previous versions 1968, 1885, 1868, 1838). (Note that subsection (b) imposes a mandatory period of three days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, between the purchase and delivery at retail of any handgun. Holders of a concealed weapon permit as prescribed in Florida law are exempted.)

Georgia

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have the power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne. (Ga. Const. art. I, § 1, para. VIII) (1982; previous versions 1877, 1868, 1865).

Hawaii

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. (Haw. Const. art. I, § 17) (1978).

Idaho

The people have the right to keep and bear arms, which right shall not be abridged; but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to govern the carrying of weapons concealed on the person nor prevent passage of legislation providing minimum sentences for crimes committed while in possession of a firearm, nor prevent passage of legislation providing penalties for the possession of firearms by a convicted felon, nor prevent the passage of legislation punishing the use of a firearm. No law shall impose licensure, registration or special taxation on the ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition. Nor shall any law permit the confiscation of firearms, except those actually used in the commission of a felony. (Idaho Const. art. I, § 11) (1978; previous version 1889).

Illinois

Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. (Ill. Const. art. I, § 22) (1970).

Indiana

The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State. (Ind. Const. art. I, § 32) (1851; previous version, 1816).

Ban on Ammo is a Ban on Hunting

Iowa

No “right to keep and bear arms” provision.

Kansas

A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, for lawful hunting and recreational use, and for any other lawful purpose; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be tolerated, and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power. (Kan. Const. Bill of Rights, § 4) (2010; previous version 1861).

Kentucky

All men are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned: … [t]he right to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the State, subject to the power of the General Assembly to enact laws to prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons. (Ky. Const. § 1) (1891; previous versions 1850, 1799).

Louisiana

The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms is fundamental and shall not be infringed. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny. (La. Const. art. I, § 11) (enacted 2012; previous versions 1974, 1879).

Maine

Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned. (Me. Const. art. I, § 16) (1987; previous version 1819).

Take Back Maryland PAC

Maryland

No “right to keep and bear arms” provision.

Massachusetts

The people have a right to keep and bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it. (Mass. Const. pt. I, art. XVII) (1780).

Michigan

Every person has a right to keep or bear arms for the defense of himself and the state. (Mich. Const. art. I, § 6) (1963; previous versions 1850, 1835).

Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance

Minnesota

No “right to keep and bear arms” provision.

Mississippi

The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but the legislature may regulate or forbid carrying concealed weapons. (Miss. Const. art. III, § 12) (1890; previous versions 1868, 1817).

Missouri

That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned; but this shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons. (Mo. Const. art. I, § 23) (1945; previous versions 1875, 1865, 1820).

Montana

The right of any person to keep or bear arms in defense of his own home, person, and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons. (Mont. Const. art. II, § 12).

Militia forces shall consist of all able-bodied citizens of the state except those excepted by law. (Mont. Const. art. VI, § 13) (1889).

Nebraska

All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the right to keep and bear arms for security or defense of self, family, home and others, and for lawful common defense, hunting, recreational use and all other lawful purposes, and such rights shall not be denied or infringed by the state or any subdivision thereof. (Neb. Const. art. I, § 1) (1988) (previous version 1875).

Nevada

Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes. (Nev. Const. art. I, § 11 (1)) (1982).

Battle New Jersey Gun Rights

New Hampshire

All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state. (N.H. Const. pt. I, art. 2-a) (1982).

No person, who is conscientiously scrupulous about the lawfulness of bearing arms, shall be compelled thereto. (N.H. Const. pt. I, art. 13) (1982).

New Jersey

No “right to keep and bear arms” provision.

New Mexico

No law shall abridge the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes, but nothing herein shall be held to permit the carrying of concealed weapons.

No municipality or county shall regulate, in any way, an incident of the right to keep and bear arms. (N.M. Const. art. II, § 6) (1986; previous versions 1971, 1912).

New York Hazzard to Liberty

New York

No “right to keep and bear arms” provision

North Carolina

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; and, as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be maintained, and the military shall be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power. Nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice. (N.C. Const. art. I, § 30) (1971; previous versions 1876, 1868, 1776).

North Dakota

All individuals are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation; pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness; and to keep and bear arms for the defense of their person, family, property, and the state, and for lawful hunting, recreational and other lawful purposes, which shall not be infringed. (N.D. Const. art. I, § 1) (1984).

Ohio

The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power. (Ohio Const. art. I, § 4) (1851; previous version 1802).

Oklahoma

The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person or property, or in aid of the civil power, when thereunto legally summoned, shall never be prohibited; but nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons. (Okla. Const. art. II, § 26) (1907).

Oregon

The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power[.] (Or. Const. art. I, § 27) (1857).

Pennsylvania

The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned. (Pa. Const. art. I, § 21) (1790).

Rhode Island

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. (R.I. Const. art. I, § 22) (1842).

South Carolina

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. As, in times of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be maintained without the consent of the General Assembly. The military power of the State shall always be held in subordination to the civil authority and be governed by it. No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner nor in time of war but in the manner prescribed by law. (S.C. Const. art. I, § 20) (1895; previous version 1868).

South Dakota

The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be denied. (S.D. Const. art. VI, § 24) (1889).

Tennessee

That the citizens of this State have a right to keep and bear arms for their common defense; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime. (Tenn. Const. art. I, § 26) (1870; previous versions 1834, 1796).

Texas

Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime. (Tex. Const. art. I, § 23) (1876; previous versions 1868, 1845)

Note: The Texas Declaration of Independence stated that “[The Mexican government] has demanded us to deliver up our arms, which are essential to our defense—the rightful property of freemen—and formidable only to tyrannical governments.” The Republic of Texas Constitution of 1836 also protected Texans` right to arms:  Every citizen shall have the right to bear arms in defence of himself and the republic. The military shall at all times and in all cases be subordinate to the civil power.”

Utah

The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the Legislature from defining the lawful use of arms. (Utah Const. art. I, § 6) (1984; previous version 1895).

Vermont

That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State—and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power. (Vt. Const. ch. I, art. 16) (1777).

Virginia

That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power. (Va. Const. art. I, § 13) (1971; previous version 1776).

Washington

The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men. (Wash. Const. art. I, § 24) (1889).

West Virginia

A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home, and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use. (W.Va. Const. art. III, § 22) (1986).

Wisconsin

The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation, or any other lawful purpose. (Wisc. Const. art. 1, § 25) (1998).

Note also: The people have the right to fish, hunt, trap, and take game subject only to reasonable restrictions as prescribed by law. (Wisc. Const. art. 1, § 26) (2003).

Wyoming

The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state shall not be denied. (Wyo. Const. art. I, § 24) (1889).

Other States

As noted, California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York do not have “right to keep and bear arms” provisions in their state constitutions.

Two of these states have general provisions that protect a right to defend life and liberty:

Iowa – Iowa`s constitution states: “All men and women are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights—among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.” (Iowa Const. art. I, § 1) (1998).

New Jersey – New Jersey`s constitution reads: “All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety, and happiness.” (N.J. Const. art. I, § 1) (1947).

About:
Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit: www.nra.org

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120 Responses to Question of the Day: How Are Gun Rights In Your State?

  1. PA. Not the best, but far from the worst. Actually, closer to the best than the worst. In addition, being surrounded by NY, NJ, and MD make us look much better by contrast.

    • At least I can, as an AZ CC holder, carry in PA. Sans DE, I can’t legally CC in any of the other bordering states.

    • If it weren’t for mandatory background checks on handgun purchases, PA would likely be near the top of the chart. As is, it’s still pretty good here. Legal open carry almost everywhere, shall-issue carry permits that are cheap and easy to get and no restrictions on what I can own. Pretty good.

  2. Utah-pretty good. I don’t like the part about the definition of lawful but still the state is better than a bunch of others. Not as good as wyoming though…

  3. Pennsylvania:
    The right of the citizens to bear arms in defence of themselves and the State shall not be questioned. (Pa. Const. art. I, § 21) (1790).

    Hoorah!

    We do have some weird knife laws though…. and we can’t hunt with semi-auto (or .223) and can’t carry a loaded rifle concealed. But life is good here in PA, especially compared to the little girl nanny states surrounding us.

    …as long as you don’t go into Philly that is (or cross any borders, as Shaneen found out!)

    • You know I just thought to check the Game Commission regs on minimum caliber for big game and the only restriction I could find was .27 caliber minimum for elk. I know they used to have minimum of .243 caliber for deer and bear but now the only restriction I see is centerfire cartridge with all lead or expanding bullet. So maybe you can use a .223 with a bolt action.

    • PA still has the semi-auto ban for hunting, even .22s. Philly has to honor permits, they have no choice. Even out of state permits PA recognizes.

  4. Amazing how many ways these states can say one thing and do another.

    Nothing like reading a state constitution and comparing it to the reality in which you live to illustrate how much contempt government has for you.

    • CT is among the 5 worst for long guns. Not quite as bad on pistols. And our robust constitutional provision means S.F.A.

      Connecticut:

      “Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state. (Conn. Const. art. I, § 15) (1818).”

      Whatevs dude.

      • When you have a single party system, neither the laws nor the constitution means anything because after all, who is going to oppose you? There is no incentive to follow the law when a single political party runs a government, they simple do whatever they want.

        When you have a brain washed electorate, then you are guaranteed that the people who abuse the law will also stay in power.

        Make no mistake about it, the push for amnesty for the illegal immigrants for a single purpose, to create a guaranteed democratic base. In single party ruled governments, there is no hope for change.

        Putting the crappy gun laws aside, in CT, Malloy will run the state into the ground. When the rating agencies and the NYT have called him out that his budgets are simply accounting tricks and gimmicks, it is only time before the state falls further. When you have to bribe companies to stay, there is a problem. All of Malloy’s campaign ads are based on emotions and zero facts or substance, that there tells you who his voting base happens to be and so CT is screwed.

    • +1

      Even TMAC can’t move the needle.

      Unfortunately with my son’s move to SE Minnesota/SW Wisconsin my wife is making noise about moving there when she is done working. She is from NE Wisconsin. I prefer Wisconsin because I just SWAP CCW permits. If we move to Minnesota, where taxes are indeed lower, then I will have to take the course and very few states honor the MN permit. The only plus is that I can get a non resident permit before I get there and then convert it. I will be doing that sometime later this year so I can carry when I visit. I am not concerned about getting a permit to purchase a handgun because I am all gunned out. If she says we are moving then I might buy a Px4/45ACP for her before we go.

      • Thanks to the efforts of the VCDL, we’re holding on for now. Over the years, we’ve dug our way out and now is not the time to be complacent.

      • I can’t speak for MN, but here in Wisconsin you don’t need any kind of permit to buy a gun. As long as you aren’t a felon, you’re good to go.

        • I know that but your property taxes on a $225K house are as high as my Arlington County taxes on a $750k house. That’s why my son chose Minnesota over Wisconsin to live even though has to cross the river everyday to go to work.

      • Wisconsin is better anyways, you can’t buy real beer or liquor on Sundays in Minnesota.

  5. MI, the handgun registry is utter BS, so is the permit to purchase. But now we can buy suppressors and short barrelled long arms so I think we’re headed in the right direction up here.

    • Our laws here in NC are pretty good, but far from the best. Some of the crap we have to deal with is just nonsensical…

        • Indeed. I for one would like to be able buy a handgun on a whim without having to get a pistol purchase permit. And having to shuck out 70 or so dollars to get a certification that I can shoot reasonably well BEFORE paying for my CCW permit is irritating to say the least.

    • Fellow North Carolinian here, who also grew up in a decidedly very blue state (NY).

      I could have sworn we would have finally stricken that old Jim Crow pistol purchase permit, which is something that MDA curiously supports wholeheartedly. Hmmmm. (READ: Shannon Watts is a de facto racist.)

      Anyway, now we can use suppressors for hunting, and can at least store our guns in our cars on state-funded college campuses. We also have restaurant and bar carry now. H.B. 937 was a breath of fresh air, for sure. But, there’s still a loooong way to go.

  6. What keeps Minnesota and Iowa in the pro-column is that they are rural states where even Democrats/Liberals have guns.

    Your state Constitution is irrelevent since the SCOTUS has declared the Second Amendment to have universal jurisdiction.

    • Does it matter in a State or Cointy court? (actual question, I don’t umderstand the intracacies of jurisdiction and courts)

      • One SCOTUS incorporated 2A, state and local courts will also apply it. But, as noted, in many states, the right is more strongly protected in the state constitution, so it still helps. And, of course, there’s always the possibility that SCOTUS changes their mind eventually and makes a ruling that goes counter to the standing interpretation, so having fail-safes is always good.

  7. As a New Hampshirite turned Nutmegger, I can say with authority that CT Constitution’s Art. 1 Sect. 15 is less than airtight when it comes to defending our freedoms…

  8. Lousiana–just about everyone has a truck and a gun rack in it filled with rifles and shotguns in open view. In South Louisiana, we need guns to hunt alligator (Swamp People et al), and in north Louisiana, we need guns to hunt deer and ducks (the bearded Robertson clan et al) and everywhere else we love guns because it is our heritage, livelihood, recreation, and protection.

    Louisiana–where we have legal open carry and it is on display every day, in every town and rural area as it has been since the Spanish traded guns to native Americans and the French and the British followed their lead.

    Louisiana–where we have easy and inexpensive concealed carry, and we are trying to make the fee deductible from state income taxes to cause it all to be a wash. School teachers, staff, and administrators conceal carry to school, at school, and at home. I know.

    Louisiana–where sheriff’s are not elected if they are in any way not very supportive of Second Amendment rights and defenders of us all against any federal overreach.

    • Is all of this true even in New Orleans?

      One place states tend to differ a LOT is in their rules about guns where alcohol is either served or sold. How is LA there?

      Deduction from income taxes doesn’t cancel out the cost of the permit, it just gives you a percentage of it back (the percentage being the tax rate). Unless it’s a tax credit?

      • When I lived in Noo Awlins, BB guns were illegal. Why I have no idea. That was a long time ago, but it is a place where little ever changes. The police there do not like people to be armed. Remember Katrina?

      • NOLA has always been an entity unto itself. Louisiana laws preempt laws of lower jurisdictions but the clowns running the city of New Orleans pretty much do whatever they wish and the clowns running state government ignore it. Most people equate New Orleans to the entire state of Louisiana when, in fact, it has very little in common with other areas of the state.

        I’ve lived my whole life in Louisiana and I have to admit that New Orleans is my least favorite place in the state and one of my least favorite places in the entire USA. It’s hot, humid, crowded, noisy, dirty and it smells like a dirty public toilet. It does have good food and good music. But you can find good restaurants in other Louisiana cities and you can download jazz from iTunes.

  9. CO is pretty good even with the crap that passed out of the legislature last year.

    Open carry is legal almost anywhere (Denver being the big exception) and places where it’s not are government buildings/facilities and are required to be posted (Denver again the exception). Needed: pre-emption of local laws on open carry so Denver has to look like the rest of the state.

    CC is fairly strong, it’s shall issue and localities are not allowed to ban it. You can even carry near alcohol (but don’t be impaired); there’s none of the 51% of revenues nonsense. What sticks out as significantly worse than many other states is our refusal to recognize other states’ non-resident permits (and our refusal to issue them).

    The new laws: 1) A ban on the transfer of >15 round mags. Old ones are grandfathered. This is effectively unenforceable unless they can find evidence you did not own the mag before 1 July 2013. (You can bring ones in from out of state, so long as you owned them before that date). As I said, effectively uneforceable, and most of our sheriffs have called “bullshit” on it. 2) Background check required for private transfer. This also accompanied a bill supposedly making it illegal to charge more than ten bucks for that (dis)service which would have killed private sales (it costs FFLs more than that to do it), but as near as I can figure they found some way around that maximum fee and can afford to do the transfers.

    Contrary to what some people think, there isn’t an “assault weapons ban” here, no actual firarms were banned, just those mags that happen to be over 15 rounds. (CZ-75 mags, at 16 rounds, are apparently just barely evil, whereas Beretta 92 mags at 15 rounds are just barely not evil.)

    There’s a strong chance the mag ban can be reversed. The background check bill is believed to be popular (especially when they can throw the NRA’s rhetoric about making sure bad guys don’t get guns back in our faces) and probably is here to stay though I’d love to be proved wrong.

  10. AZ – it’s not bad right now, but I have no certainly what it will be like in 10 years or even 5 years. The state seems to be drifting towards purple, if it’s not already there.

      • I moved to the AZ in February. It is the best thing I have ever done. I think the only way gun rights will go away in AZ is by overwhelming force. These are people who will not march into the virtual gas chambers without a real fight. I doubt it will get that far, though.

      • Tucson is pretty anti-gun. Phoenix may not be as bad, but its mayor is a member of the Bloomberg brigade, so the gun politics there can’t be perfect either. I like what I see in AZ right now, but I am really not as sanguine about the future as some folks seem to be.

    • You were a lot more succinct than I was. Between my verbosity and my intermittent keyboard, everyone after Dirk down to me managed to post while I was typing mine.

  11. Illinois is getting better. It still sucks. Got shall issue CC but made private sales verboten. I have NO idea who will be GOVERNOR. Quinn is the worst in America( and not just on gun rights). The billionaire Rauner has lots of red flags-buddies with Rahm, democrat wife and an extremely vague position on 2A. And lots of scandal brewing with his business ventures. So I don’t know if Rauner would veto or support any gun vote.

    • Private sales are still alive and well here in Illinois.

      We can’t own NFA stuff, except SBRs. To get one you have to have a C&R licence. Other than that, it’s not nearly as bad as most think.

    • You can still do private sales in Illinois with no problems. The buyer gives the seller his FOID number, the seller enters the number on the police web site and the web site tells you if the FOID is still active. Then after the waiting period is over (nobody follows this law) you exchange signed bills of sale and go your separate ways.

      FOID means Firearms Owner Identification for those of you in freer states than mine.

      • THAT is still a background check on a private sale. It should NOT be Illinoiss freaking business. I won’t bother with Armslist. And I can’t legally sell my brother a gun instantly. And I know he’s legal.

  12. NY, which bites. There is no right to keep in bear arms in the NY BIll of Rights section. However, it is there in the civil rights sections. And it goes so far as to say the right to keep and bear arms CANNOT be infringed.
    But must be nobody reads that far in…

    • Well we DO have the Castle doctrine. And don’t need to register our rifles or shotuns. Yet. That’s better than nothing. Got to keep fighting though. And HARD.
      FUAC!

  13. NM: I will do what I want over here. as long as what you’re doing over there doesn’t affect me over here I couldn’t care less.

    poor place to make a living, great place to retire.

    • Money. Reciprocity is easy to have with Wyoming and the Dakotas. How many visitors does Maine get from South Dakota every year? But New Hampshire? Lots of cross boarder traffic and at $60 per that’s a lot of money the state would be giving up.

      Freedom doesnt cost a dime. Licenses and permits cost as much as the issuer dictates. Cha-ching.

  14. MD: HQL Permit is so stupid I refuse to buy anymore guns until I move out of this sorry excuse for a state.

    I got a kick out of seeing that Hawaii had something though.

  15. Texas–It’s funny here, the law on handguns is actually kind of strict (no open carry in public, concealed carry in public only with a license) OTOH, the laws about use of guns (ie “deadly force”) are pretty loose (eg we can shoot to protect or retrieve property, even property of a third party). And the handgun laws have some pretty expansive exceptions and non-applications; we can have guns on us in our cars, if concealed, and in any premises under our control or with the permission of the person who is in control, for example. And culturally, the state is very gun-friendly. It’s funny how the other states reserved the power to restrict _concealed_ carry in their constitutions, while Texas reserved the power to restrict _open_ carry. I would argue that reserving such a specific power to restrict one , whichever it is, would necessarily imply that the other is not to be restricted at all. But obviously they have not been interpreted that way, except maybe in the case of New Mexico.

  16. The state of affairs in Texas is interesting. Pretty much everywhere, you have the well recognized right to use your gats in self defense. If you’re in your house and a bad dude’s in your house, you won’t catch any flak for shooting him. Most likely will not be arrested or detained at all. Ownership: no issues, if it’s legal anywhere else in the US of A, it’s legal here. But the concealed carry and open carry are a little silly for a place that likes to consider itself a free state. I still haven’t got my Texas CHL because I have one issued by the state of Washington that’s recognized here. Even when it expires in 2 years, I may just re-up out of state instead of applying for a Texas one. The sole reason is cost and time. In WA, I called the local police, made an appointment for a Thrusday morning, walked in, filled out the application, gave them $52, and walked out 20 minutes later. I got it in the mail 3 weeks later. When I moved to TX, I didn’t even bother with the appointment, and the address change and change to out of state took 10 minutes. It’s good for 5 years. Got it in the mail 2 weeks later. In TX, I would have to pay for and attend a 4 hour class($45-$75), including paying for 50 rounds of ammo ($15). I would have to go to another place to get my fingerprints done (another $15). I would then have to mail all the required documents to the DPS and pay them too ($140). Total time would be at least 8 hours, and total cost $200-$250, and it’s only good for 4 years. Renewal in WA is $32, renewal in TX is $70.

    TL;DR Texas has good laws for possession and self-defense, but the CHL process is expensive, convoluted and lengthy.

  17. Minnesota. Not bad except the permit to purchase requirement. No registry. No ‘universal background checks’. No mag limits. I have 50rd PS90 mags!!!! No waiting periods. No allowable gun lists. Concealed or Open carry with CCL. The only things that really suck are the restrictions on suppressors (if you’re not a cop or an armorer selling to cops, no suppressor for you!). And the absolute full-retard Machinegun law. In MN, they didn’t just ban machine guns, they banned anything that acts as a ‘trigger-activator’ that would simulate full auto. Slide fire stocks are in a gray area.

  18. Gun rights in MA are at the whim of the chief LEO of the town or city. I live in a Red town in a vast sea of Blue, so I have an unrestricted carry permit. It always amuses me that I carry in Boston, while most Bostonians can’t carry anywhere in the Commonwealth. FU, Beantowners! The statewide AWB with its two-feature test has little effect except to keep local prices a bit higher than elsewhere, and selection a bit more limited. The ten-round mag limit has no effect on revolvers (natch) and means that I might carry two spare mags for my semi-autos instead of one.

    NY (my old home state) has this provision in its Civil Rights Law:

    § 4. Right to keep and bear arms. A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed.

    Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s only honored in the breach, not the observance.

    • Where in MA is there a “red town”? I grew up on the South Shore, and I’ve never heard of such a place. Maybe in Western MA? So glad I live in Michigan now.

      • I grew up in Hanover. I’m an FFL and lawyer on Cape Cod. My guns are selling like whatever the exact opposite of hotcakes is.

        • Hey neighbor, I grew up in Hingham and still get back once in awhile. Do you have a store on the Cape? May need to check it out next time I’m out that way.

  19. TN- except for “but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime.” I’d say TN has one of the most open an prolific gun cultures in the country. As long as you stay out of Chatt and Memphis. We did get a new Beretta plant too:)

    • Better than most “red” states.
      * Castle doctrine? Check.
      * Stand your ground? Check.
      * Open Carry? Check.
      * Shall Issue CPL? Check.
      * Training requirements for a CPL? Nope. Just fill out the form, get finger printed, and check the mail in 30 days.
      * Bans on certain scary cosmetic features or makes / models of guns? Nope.
      * Suppressors? Check.
      * SBRs? Not yet. The newest check mark on the list.
      * State preemption? Check. (Sorry Seattle city council.)
      * Unlimited magazine capacity? Check.
      * Immediately take possession of a 4473 transfer? Long guns: check. Hand guns: with a CPL.
      * Unrestricted face-to-face transfers? Check…and I think we’ll keep that one a check, despite Bloomberg’s attempt to buy a law.
      * Automatic weapons? No, but the virtual ban at the federal level makes it not much different than the other 49 states.

      • One negative that should go on the list, in all fairness, is the handgun registry.

        On the bright side, we have a constitutionally protected individual right to carry arms in self-defense… so that one is pretty hard to work around. Also, that constitutional provision was actually successfully invoked in some cases already (IIRC, it was under the state constitution that a judge basically forced WA to start issuing alien firearm licenses again in 2008).

    • I think that SCOTUS is out of the Second Amendment business for a while, thanks to Kennedy (he’s the guy that insisted on the “longstanding restrictions,” “sensitive places” and the “any gun anywhere” language). The Cal Sup Ct is a waste and has been since Rose Bird.

      So you’re dependent on the 9th Circuit. There are a couple of strong Republican nominees on that bench, like O’Scannlain, who is a former Young Americans for Freedom guy (like me). But most of that bench sits on the left side.

    • Recently, the federal district court for the eastern district of California ruled that the 10-day wait to pick up a gun after purchase for persons who currently have CCWs, COEs or who are in the system by virtue of previously having purchased a firearm was unconstitutional. Yesterday, AG Harris appealed. Two steps forward, two steps back. DeLeon’s “ghost gun’ bill which would apparently require the reregistration of all handguns made since 1898, all homemade rifles ever built, among other egregious restrictions, is on Gov. Brown’s desk. He has until next Tuesday to sign or veto. If he does neither it becomes law. Peruta (holding that self defense=good cause to carry) is still on hold pending the AG’s motion to intervene/ motion for en banc review, and I personally don’t think we will have a decision until after the election in November. Two steps forward, and two steps back.

  20. I have to say I like the Maine phrasing the best.. Just wish the state laws mirrored the clear intent of the state constitution

    Maine

    Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned. (Me. Const. art. I, § 16) (1987; previous version 1819).

  21. Delaware is one of a few with ridiculous may issue rules and one of only 4 that ban NFA items. While not at NJ or even MD levels of ignorance I don’t have a good feeling about the future. Beu Biden ( yes son of that Biden) is itching to tighten gun laws around us and already has tweaked the CCW laws. Previously reciprocity applied to more states and to permits out of state held by DE residents, he was able to get language added that limited one and ended the second.

  22. Hawai’i…. (the Soviet of…)

    1. cannot transport a firearm unless to a range, a hunting site or gunsmith; even though technically a “may issue” state it is in actuality a “no way in hell” state. On the other hand since you’re in tshirt, shorts and sandals, concealed carry wouldn’t be all that concealed….

    2. operant language is “firearms and ammunition”, so if you pull out a handful of change at the 7-11 and there’s an errant .22 cartridge, it’s the same penalty as waving an Uzi around. Gives rise to the image of pulling a round out of your pocket, putting it between your teeth and slapping the back of your neck to set it off – the only way it can be logically construed as a weapon .

    3. mag limit of 10 for handguns – some argument about whether that also applies to rifles/shotguns’ I’m told it does apply to any caliber than can be used in a handgun, e.g., ,223

    4. my personal favorite – in a form of Code Napoleon, if you shoot an intruder in your house, you WILL be charged with murder/assault depending on your marksmanship. YOU have to prove the decedent actually wanted to hurt you as opposed to just being there to steal your stuff…..

  23. Florida. Pretty good. Three day waiting period on handguns needs to be repealed, but since it is waived if you have a CCL, the people who could make that happen are working on bigger stuff. Self defense laws got a little clearer earlier this year when the legislature passed a law that a show of force with a firearm was protected under the same statutes that actual force was. Prior to that, the case law was sketchy, and defensive display could get you arrested for brandishing. Florida is also only a few weeks away from the FL Supremes reviewing a case for constitutional open carry. That case is being spearheaded by Florida Carry, a group that is going great work in the courts.

    But we still have room for improvement. Despite some advancement in forcing universities to recognize FL law regarding guns in cars, campus carry is not legal. FL also does not allow carrying concealed in bars, or even the bar area of restaurants with a bar. Fairly minor complaints in the grand scheme, but still something to work on.

  24. If I may… the ORIGINAL Pennsylvania Constitution language (September 28, 1776):

    “XIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”

    13 years prior to the U.S. Constitution and co-authored by Benjamin Franklin

  25. I find it odd that New York has no provision for the right to keep and bear given that with Virginia, New York refused to ratify the Constitution without the Second Amendment. I live in New Jersey and each day I feel more and more that we are a lost cause unless there’s a major shift right in the Supreme Court.

  26. So far so good in WA state, but I have a sinking feeling that we are about to get shafted with the new background check legislation banning all private sales between law abiding citizens…

  27. New York, where things stink. But then again, I have it on good authority that only 12,000 people registered “assault weapons” out of a potential million owners of such. That’s 1.2%. So the laws suck but the FOAD Cuomo is awesome.

  28. We have constitutional open carry of long guns or pistols, and the concealed permit is $10 shall issue for 5 years. Reciprocity is good with all most all states except the one 10 minutes from me. It is rather offensive, which is part of life but rant on, that as an American citizen who happens to be a Christian of firm understanding in beliefs of good and evil that I can’t protect my family legally once I hit minnesota. You can marry a man there if that is your lifestyle choice but I am denied my supposed constitutionally protected right of being armed as is my choice. I’m forced between following hypocritical laws, aforementioned Christian beliefs negates my adherence to corrupt laws, that hinder my duties of being the man of my family and protecting them how I choose in such a short driving distance. If minnesota would allow its citizens to open carry than maybe all the thugs would become more courteous like the ghetto spill overs that come here. Gang tats and a big white women on their arm is how we profile here, and they don’t mess around much when the local pass time of locals is perfecting drive by’s shooting pheasants in ditches.

  29. Wyoming is a fairly good state, but we have elitist twerps too. Lots of them out of the Jackson, Casper, Cheyenne and Sheridan areas in particular.

    One of the things that is most absurd about Wyoming is the legislature’s (and many local governments’) obsession with booze. It’s like the Women’s Christian Temperance Union is alive and well in Wyoming, except the women no longer dress as nicely as the WCTU members used to dress, nor are the modern temperance types as attractive as some of the pictures of the WCTU here in Wyoming 100 years ago.

    Anything that intersects with booze, in any way, in this state is sucked down a rabbit hole of bizarre liquor licensing and temperance movement nonsense. Where guns are concerned, you’d better know whether the business you’re stepping into derives 51% or more of their revenue from selling booze. If they do, you may not carry into that establishment, even if you’re not going to drink (eg, a package store where you’re just buying a six-pack and leaving).

    Now, there are some liquor licenses in the state of Wyoming that proscribe that the business holding them can’t make more than X% of their revenue from booze sales. If you know what type of liquor license your favorite restaurant/lounge/etc has, and their license says (eg) “may not make more than 40% of their revenue from liquor sales,” you’re magic. If a cop stops you and tries to busy you for CCW where alcohol is served, you point to the liquor license on the wall and say “Well, their license says 40% max, state law says I can carry into establishments up to 51%…”

    Yes, things sometimes get that silly.

    The temperance types are, of course, females in the MDA age/race cohort, poking their long pecksniffian noses into other people’s business.

  30. Iowa is a pretty good state for gun owners if you don’t want any NFA or class 3 weapons. There’s a pretty good movement to get suppressors legalized, but for now no SBRs, no full autos and no suppressors.

    The state does however have one of the best concealed carry laws in the country IMO. Any safety course produced by any law enforcement agency in the US or the NRA is all that’s needed so I got mine with a free 20 minute online course from the Maryland State Police. You can carry open or concealed, you can carry in bars AND drink provided your BAC doesn’t cross that magical .08%, you can ignore ‘no firearms’ signs (although if you’re asked to leave you’d best comply), no duty to inform. Iowa recognizes licenses from all 50 states. There’s a couple of DNR rules like no carrying while riding an ATV, but for the most part it’s pretty straightforward.

    The entire Iowa code (724) on firearms is 15 pages, plus I think there’s 7 pages of administrative rules that mostly are of concern to your local sheriff – both available online. Not exactly as simple as ‘shall not be infringed’, but I wouldn’t trade Iowa’s laws for Texas’.

  31. I grew up in Massachusetts and it was pretty much a pain in my eyes to get a firearm but I was under 18 anyways.

    Later on, moved to California to finish high school and get enough units to transfer but you don’t need to ask me how the gun laws over there were. The ten-round magazine cap with the mandatory bullet button didn’t make it all too appealing to own an AR-15 despite my desire for one and on top of that you were limited to ten in a pistol too.

    Currently in Hawaii and it’s nice they allow a thirty round magazine in the AR-15 but I’m a little upset since there is still a 10-round magazine limit on pistols… I don’t really see the allure in getting a high capacity pistol only to be limited by state regulations (makes the 1911 real attractive). The worst part of it all is I can’t have Class III anything here but have been lusting for a suppressor, SBR, and all that fun stuff. Hopefully they’ll allow CCW/OC here.

    Looking into my crystal ball now and Texas is probably in the near future.

    • ditto grew up in Mass., but back with Squanto & the Pilgrims (not a boy band). No problem then: my grandmother bought my first gun (Rem Nylon 66) with S&H Green Stamps,. Turn 14, sit thru a safety course given by the game warden and that was that.

  32. Indiana is not too bad and we are slowly winning. No high power rifles for deer, just muzzle loaders, slug guns, and pistol cartridges allowed. You can hunt squirrels with a high power rifle though. Go figure..

    • Awe, it’s better than that! 🙂

      Shall issue, got mine in 2 weeks (open or concealed doesn’t matter)
      For an extra $20 LTC is lifetime (only state that has that IIRC)
      Strong preemption (can even sue, only allowed to ban in public buildings where there is a courtroom)
      No duty to inform LEO
      No Guns signs don’t have force of law
      Car carry on school grounds, school carry if you have permission, and school is defined as the structure so grounds are not prohibited
      No storage laws
      Strong self defense protections
      No training requirements
      No permission (from the state, anyway) to purchase, own or transfer
      No waiting periods
      And obviously no restrictions on capacity, features or NFA items

      So yeah, hunting regs are goofy, but on the RKBA side it’s a pretty good place, not bad for the demanding mommy’s home turf.

  33. Kentucky

    1. Open carry easy. No permission needed.
    2. “Shall issue” concealed.
    3. “No guns” signs are meaningless so we rarely ever see them and then laugh when we do.
    4. Very few “Off limits areas”. (I don’t have to leave it outside at church).
    5. Parking lot storage law has an enforcement mechanism to punish employers who violate their employees civil rights.
    6. Honors every other state’s carry permits.
    7. Statewide pre-emption with a criminal penalty enforcement mechanism for locals governments who try to defy it.
    8. No such thing as “gun registration”.
    9. Car carry with no permission needed.
    10. NFA items galore. (Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot anyone?)
    11. No such animal as an “assault weapon”.
    12. No magazine limits. (I prefer mine belt-fed anyway).
    13. Strong Castle doctrine
    14. Stand your ground.
    Did I miss anything?

    • Yes I did:

      15. I can drive to the school to pick up kids without having to stop at home to disarm first.
      16. No duty to inform Law Enforcement.
      17. College commuters can have it in the car on campus.
      18. No NICS needed since I am already a CCDW holder. (So, no serial number registries on file at gun shops)
      19. I can store it at home any way I dang well please. Or take it with me however I please.

      • Yes, we have it fairly damn good in KY when it comes to 2nd rights. However you left out something that happens in my part of the state (east). Cop at gun shop sees you buy that .9mm black assault machine man killer with that thing that goes up. Cop proceeds to giggle like a school girl with you and ask to shoot it behind the shop.

  34. Only bad part about being in West Virginia…. I’m only 15 minutes from Maryland, and I have to drive through Maryland to get to other parts of the state.

    Otherwise laws are pretty good here.

  35. Idaho – pretty good, but we still need a few improvements (Constitutional Carry):
    CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF IDAHO
    ARTICLE I DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

    Section 1. Inalienable rights of man. All men are by nature free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are enjoying AND DEFENDING life and liberty; acquiring, possessing AND PROTECTIING property; pursuing happiness and securing safety.

    Section 11. Right to keep and bear arms. The people have the right to keep and bear arms, which right shall not be abridged; but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to govern the carrying of weapons concealed on the person nor prevent passage of legislation providing minimum sentences for crimes committed while in possession of a firearm, nor prevent the passage of legislation providing penalties for the possession of firearms by a convicted felon, nor prevent the passage of any legislation punishing the use of a firearm. NO LAW SHALL IMPOSE LICENSURE, REGISTRATION, OR SPECIAL TAXATION ON THE OWNERSHIP OR POSSESSION OF FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION. NOR SHALL ANY LAW PERMIT THE CONFISCATION OF FIREARMS, except those actually used in the commission of a felony.

  36. WASHINGTON – This is an interesting state. I have read and re-read this state’s gun laws a dozen times in an effort to clearly understand what’s legal and what isn’t. Here’s what I know. First, open carry I legal. It’s also guaranteed to get a cop in your face asking for the state’s magic concealed carry permit (which isn’t required obviously since you’re carrying openly.)

    Long guns – It’s simple. Those have to be unloaded (no exceptions) and they have to be stored in the trunk of your car or in a locked case behind your pickup’s seat. (You might get away with an unlocked case. But, I wouldn’t risk it. Just use a locked rifle case or keep ’em in the trunk of your car, which is locked anyway.) The state’s magic concealed carry permit is meaningless when it comes to long guns in Washington state. But, private sellers often want to see one because… it’s magic.

    Pistols – It’s a crazy hodgepodge of conflicting laws. Just as with long guns, unless you have the magic concealed carry license (“good guy card’) on your person, those have to be kept unloaded and stored inside the trunk of your car or inside of a locked case behind your pickup’s seat. Even with the magic license you have to conceal your pistol if you’re inside of your car or pickup. It is illegal to leave it where it can be seen (period, no exceptions.) Now here’s where it gets a little more crazy. If you’re inside of your home or your “fixed place of business” (meaning it doesn’t have any wheels on it), you can carry a concealed pistol without the state’s magic license. So, the magic license is only for carrying your pistol concealed on the street or while you’re inside your vehicle (driving or parked.) What’s more, if you’re a member of a target shooting club, there’s an loophole that permits you to carry your guns (pistols and long guns) loaded(!) to and from a shooting event. This is with or without the state’s magic license. Further, if you’re engaged in a legitimate outdoor activity like hunting, fishing or camping you can carry your pistol concealed without the state’s magic license. (WTF?) Clearly the state’s magic license is only meant for the city dwellers. But, it is all very rubbery. If you are pulled over to an a__hole cop, he might say you were not going to or from a shooting event. (It’s his word against yours.) Likewise for the other outdoor activities. If you’re just carrying a pistol into a gun show, gun store or pawn shop, then it has be inside of an “opaque wrapper” (pistol rug) and unloaded.

    Your best bet, if you are going shooting, is to carry your guns in the trunk, unloaded, and then load those after you get to where you’re going. If it’s a pistol, use an outside-the-waistband open carry holster (not under your coat tails either.) Don’t leave anything undone that could be misinterpreted (intentionally or otherwise.)

    Are you confused yet? Welcome to Washington!

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