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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.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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

      • 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.

  4. 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

      • 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?

        • 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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 .

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

  9. 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.

    • 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”.

  10. 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 🙂

  11. Nick__

    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

  12. 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,, or their state-specific websites for the latest info.

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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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