There are six states with constitutions that don’t explicitly protect the right of the people to keep and bear arms. The last state to add such a protection was Wisconsin, in 1998. The last stage of the process to amend the Badger State’s founding document was via a referendum and it passed with an overwhelming 74% of the vote. The sorry six that still lack enshrinement of the RKBA are listed below. And it won’t surprise you that these states are some of the least supportive of gun ownership and Second Amendment rights . . .
New York: Dominated by New York City politics, New York has often taken the lead in introducing and passing egregiously restrictive gun laws. The first significant one was in 1911, the infamous Sullivan Act, ostensibly designed to fight organized crime. The latest is the so called “SAFE Act” passed with out debate in the middle of the night. New York is ranked 50th by Guns & Ammo and gets an A- on the most recent Brady Campaign scorecard.
New Jersey: Garden State gun laws start with the premise that everything to do with guns is illegal. The state then tells you under what very restrictive conditions you may own, shoot, transport, or — for a tiny group, mostly judges and retired police officers — carry a gun. New Jersey is ranked 49th by G&A, A- on the Brady scorecard.
California: California has a long and distinguished history of legislation designed to keep minorities disarmed. The Golden State is the only state in recent years to (mostly) ban the open carry of firearms and is ranked 47th by G&A with another A- by the Brady Center.
Maryland: One of the few remaining “may issue” states, Maryland’s gun laws are some of the most restrictive in the nation thanks largely to the efforts of Governor Martin O’Malley. Maryland is ranked 43rd by G&A, A- by the Bradys.
Minnesota: Despite the oversight in its constitution, Minnesota’s gun law could be far worse, keeping it out of the bottom 10 on Guns & Ammo’s listing. The state has a well-organized state-level Second Amendment supporter movement. Minnesota is ranked 39th by G&A and gets an average C on the Brady scorecard.
Iowa: While Iowa is a middle-of-the-road state on firearms restrictions, it was one of the last to pass “shall issue” legislation. Iowa is ranked 38th by G&A, and received a C- by the Bradys.
It’s clear that state constitutions offer some protection for your rights. Several ballot measures this year are meant to strengthen a states constitutional protections. The most recent of these passed in Missouri. Alabama’s Amendment 3 will be on the ballot in a few days. Kinda makes you wonder how the vote would go if support for the RKBA would be put to a vote in the Empire State. But that’s just kooky talk.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.