Handy Quick-Reference Table: Firearms Laws by State

I’m writing a beginner’s book on firearms. I tried to write an overview on federal firearms laws, but that didn’t cut it. I needed a way to convey state laws without overloading noobs with legal mumbo-jumbo. So I spent a good chunk of last night pulling information from the NRA’s ILA website and to make this handy table. I’ve posted it here. It’s hardly definitive and there’s bound to be some inaccuracies. I’d rather be called an idiot for a post on a website than a published book. So have at it! Your help is most appreciated.


  1. Proud to live in a 6xNo+None state.

  2. avatar Matt in FL says:

    Florida has a 3 business day waiting period for purchase of a handgun without a concealed weapons permit. No wait or restriction on long guns.

  3. avatar GS650G says:

    Apparently I can’t own a NFA gun but at least I’m not under Hawaii restrictions. It’s easier in NJ than the Aloha state and that’s some accomplishment.

  4. avatar sdog says:

    In MD there is definitely a waiting period for regulated firearms (“modern” sporting rifles, hand guns) and NFA stuff. “assault” pistols (mac’s, tec’s, etc) are also illegal here.

    1. avatar TTACer says:

      MD you can only transport to and from places where it is legal to have the gun. Not sure of the details but as I understand it basically to and from the store, ‘smith, range, or hunting grounds. I believe ftf private sales are legal, so I assume going from your house to you friend’s house is ok.

      1. avatar 40&2000 says:

        You are more or less correct about transporting but wrong about F to F transfers. All handgun & regulated long gun transfers must go through an FFL or the state police. F to F transfers of shotguns and most rifles are ok

      2. avatar 40&2000 says:

        You are more or less correct about transporting but wrong about F to F transfers. All handgun & regulated long gun transfers must go through an FFL or the state police. F to F transfers of shotguns and most rifles are ok.

  5. avatar Rabbi says:

    Two thing are vital and are usually missing on gun law references:
    1 – Is it required to advise an LE officer that you are carrying?
    2- Locations that are off limits

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      http://www.usacarry.com/concealed_carry_permit_information.html and http://www.handgunlaw.us/ are both good places to get this information if you’d like to add it to the chart.

      The only two states I’m familiar enough with to know the info is correct are Florida and Virginia, but it is correct for those two.

      1. avatar Bat Sh*t Crazy says:

        Inform the LEO of having a weapon on your person? No way. If you tell on yourself, didn’t you just waved your 5th Amendment protection? If he ‘feels’ threatened he’ll detain you, then search your car without your consent, ruin your whole day, why even open that can of worms, unless it’s specifically written in your state’s law?

        1. avatar Matt in FL says:

          Whoa there, soldier.

          Apparently you missed the whole point of the comments on this post. Nick posted up the chart he made, for comment. Rabbi was recommending that Nick include on the chart whether or not the state requires that you notify law enforcement, when you interface with them, that you are carrying. No one is suggesting that you should announce it indiscriminately to every cop you see.

  6. avatar grs says:

    There is not a pistol purchase permit requirement in Ohio. For “other” in the state of Washington you might note that the only legal NFA items are suppressors and AOWs.

  7. avatar Chaz says:

    For iPhone aficionados “Legal Heat” and “Gun Conceal” apps have some state by state information. “Your Rights” app while not gun related particularly offers information about how to interact with the police.

  8. avatar RightYouAreKen says:

    Washington has a 5 day waiting period on handgun purchases unless you have a CCW, at which point there is no waiting period.

  9. avatar pastubbs says:

    Tenn is looking pretty good now, glad I live here. Nice table Nick easy on the eyes not a lot of legal jargon just something quick.

  10. avatar Paul in 6-no-None WA says:

    A column on concealed carry would be great!

  11. avatar mike says:

    Nick, you will drive yourself crazy trying to understand/summarize MA law. It’s purposely written so ubiquitously that it is maddening. Here’s a brief summary to most of the major ones, have at it and good luck.


    1. avatar Ralph says:


      MA law is an intentional maze and a trap for the unwary. Hell, it’s a trap for the wary.

  12. avatar Pro Libertate says:

    Surprised that Arizona requires NFA registration yet has constitutional carry.

  13. avatar 40&2000 says:

    In Md the sales/transfer of ANY magazine greater than 20 rounds is illegal, not just new ones. Possession is fine just can’t sell or transfer. There is also a one regulated firearm per 30 day rule .

  14. avatar Pascal says:

    Connecticut information is incorrect;

    No permit for long guns, permit for handguns to purchase. If you have gun permit, there is no waiting period.

    What would be usefull is a link to each states firearms laws. Here is the one for CT

  15. avatar Nate says:

    Missed a thing on PA. Explosive DD’s are prohibited.

  16. avatar Adam says:

    California has a 10 round limit I believe. I also remember hearing that they were going to start a long gun registration.

  17. avatar BLAMMO says:

    New York has a 10-round magazine limit (unless you’re including that in the AWB).

    1. avatar Brett Solomon says:

      Unless the magazines are old- ha! Its like trying to navigate through the solar system using a $79 TomTom.

  18. avatar Carl says:

    California requires you have a HSC card to purchase a handgun, long gun registration was passed this year but wont go into effect until 2014, the waiting period for purchases is 10 days. There are a lot of additional restrictions. If you want to know more calguns dot net is a good resource.

    I think it will be hard to do something like this in book form and have it be useful because the laws and court rulings about that laws change frequently.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      California is one of the most restrictive states. Here are a few more of their B/S restrictions:

      1 handgun every 30 days,

      10 round magazines,

      You can not purchase a new gun that is not on their list of approved guns.

      CA is a May Issue state and the “policy” in many counties is like “Never Issue”.

  19. avatar Scott Vaughn says:

    There has been a book titled The Travelers Guide to the Firearm Laws of the 50 States, and it had enough major discrepancies I would promote NOT to buy it 🙂

  20. avatar Mercutio says:


    Hawaii – 10 rd limit is defined in the section talking about pistols. Most folks here have 20/30 rd mags for their ARs

    Added inticements for moving to Hawaii (NOT):

    Law talks about guns AND ammo. If you pull out a .22 cartridge in your change at the local grocery store, it’s treated the same as if you busted in waving a Glock.

    Guns can only be transported directly to and from a range, hunting area, FFL/gunsmith and home… don’t be stopping off to run errands on the way.

    Oddly the law says guns must be transported in a “rigid” container, so no gun bags… but even odder, the law doesn’t say anything about locking the container.

    If you shoot someone in your home you have to prove they meant to harm you and weren’t there just to rob you. And you will be arrested regardless – you have to prove you’re innocent of murder – kind of a Code Napoleon.

    And concealed carry? The “may issue” law is interpreted as you “may” file an app. Hawaii is actually “a no way in hell” state

  21. avatar VA Pete says:

    I don’t know, Nick, it seems to me that the minute you publish this chart it will be obsolete. After a year the whole thing will be riddled with no-longer-accurate info. I would suggest more of a summary of the types of things that vary between states…. waiting periods, registrations, permits, bans, shall issue vs. may issue, etc. and then refer your readers to usacarry.com, handgunlaw.us, or their state-specific websites for the latest info.

  22. avatar GS650G says:

    A reciprocity matrix would be a good thing to have, although that changes quite frequently too.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity Maps is an excellent resource for that.

  23. avatar Joe nobody says:

    Maybe you could create some sort of gun law wiki. An online resource that can change as the laws change.

      1. avatar Joe nobody says:

        Thanks that looks like a good resource.

  24. avatar Ben Eli says:

    What is an assault pistol?

    1. avatar Alfonso says:

      A made-up term created by libs to refer to any handgun with a capacity over 10 rounds.

  25. avatar Adrian says:

    I might separate New York State outside of NYC, and NYC itself. Treat them as 2 separate states.

    1. avatar Bryan E says:

      I’ve been trying to do that for years. NY up state is simply beautiful. NYC, not so much.

  26. avatar RobinGoodfellow says:

    For California: Governor Jerry Brown just signed a long gun registry law last week. Also, you might include a 10-round magazine capacity limit in the “other restrictions” section. In addition, no handgun may be purchased in California unless it is on a state list of approved weapons.

  27. avatar ed says:

    Having purchased 2 pistols and 2 rifles in the last year, I’m confident Iowa has no waiting period. I walked out of the store with my purchase each time.

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