Your Rights

Gun Control Laws by State

The topic of gun control can be one of the most divisive subjects in America. It can be one of those topics that you end up not bringing up or weighing in with your opinion due to the lengthy argument that may follow. Whatever your thoughts are on gun control, if you feel strongly one way or the other, you may want to live in a state that feels the same way that you do.

In this article, we will highlight gun control laws across the United States, showing which states are the most conservative and which are the most liberal when it comes to gun control.

Here is what the Second Amendment to the Constitution says in regards to gun ownership:

“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.”

Those words were written in 1789, but the right to bear arms remains to this day. Each state has the opportunity to adopt its own gun laws, and they vary wildly across the country.

Alabama Gun Control Laws

Alabama skews towards the more liberal states with its gun control laws. With that said, there are still regulations in place that limit the possession and ownership of firearms. In September of 2015, Alabama adopted new gun laws, which were laws at the federal level but needed to be on the books in Alabama to be enforced. The reasoning behind adopting the new laws was mainly to protect those in domestic violence situations. But the new laws extended to minors, as well as those with mental illnesses.

September 2015 New Laws

Here is a rundown of the new Alabama gun laws adopted in September 2015:

  • Minors can now carry pistols, as long as they have the permission of a legal guardian who has a permit to carry a gun. However, there are a few caveats. Here are the situations when minors can carry a gun:
    • In organized competitions for non-profit groups
    • When hunting with a permit and a parent or guardian
    • In National Armed or Armed Services
  • The following people cannot possess a firearm in Alabama:
    • Those convicted of a violent crime
    • People convicted of a domestic violence charge
    • Anyone that has an order of protection against them
    • Someone with a mental illness
      • Judges must now alert authorities if anyone is on trial or committed for a mental illness
  • Employees can keep a gun in a vehicle in their possession when parked at a public or private parking lot

Prohibited Guns in Alabama

The following guns are illegal to possess in Alabama:

  • Short-barreled rifle – Class C felony subject to one to ten years in prison
  • Short-barreled or sawed-off shotgun – Class C felony subject to one to ten years in prison
  • Cane gun – a misdemeanor with a fine of $500 to $1,000

Alabama does not regulate the possession of assault rifles or semi-automatic guns.

Alaska Gun Control Laws

Alaska is one of the least restrictive states when it comes to gun laws. There is no waiting period for buying a gun as there is in many other states. But an instant background check is required.

Prohibited Guns in Alaska

The following guns are illegal to possess in Alaska:

  • Guns with a silencer or device made to muffle the shot
  • Automatic weapons
  • Rifle with a barrel under 16 inches
  • Shotgun with a barrel under 18 inches

Arizona Gun Control Laws

Another state with fewer restrictions on gun laws is Arizona. Anyone over 21 in Arizona can carry a gun openly or concealed without a license. Most other states would require a concealed carry permit.

Prohibited Guns in Arizona

The following guns are illegal to possess in Arizona:

  • Automatic weapons
  • Rifle with a barrel under 16 inches
  • Shotgun with a barrel under 18 inches
  • Guns with a silencer or device made to muffle the shot

Those convicted of a violent felony cannot possess guns in Arizona. A person that could be a danger to themself can also not possess a gun.

Arkansas Gun Control Laws

Arkansas has similar regulations to the other states so far on this list. They also do not require a waiting period to buy a firearm. A permit is not required to buy a handgun, but one is required to carry a concealed handgun.

Prohibited Guns in Arkansas

The following guns are illegal to possess in Arkansas:

  • Machine gun
  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Guns with a silencer or device made to muffle the shot

Convicted felons and those who are mentally ill cannot possess guns in Arkansas.

California Gun Control Laws

Unlike these first few states, California is one of the most restrictive when it comes to gun control. Handgun buyers are required to have a Handgun Safety Certificate, and all firearm buyers must wait ten days. California also has a limit on magazine capacity and limits how much ammunition you can buy.

Prohibited Guns in California

The following guns are illegal to possess in California:

  • Cane gun
  • Wallet gun
  • A gun that is unrecognizable
  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Multi-burst trigger guns
  • Assault weapons

Colorado Gun Control Laws

Colorado is another one of the less restrictive gun law states. It does not have a waiting period to buy a gun as long as you meet eligibility requirements.

Prohibited Guns in Colorado

The following guns are illegal to possess in Colorado:

  • Machine gun
  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Guns with a silencer or device made to muffle the shot

Connecticut Gun Control Laws

After the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012, Connecticut stepped up its gun control laws. Assault weapons and high-capacity magazine weapons were outlawed. Magazines are now limited to a ten-round capacity. The assault rifle ban originally outlawed 66 guns in 1993, and that list has been expanded to 100 outlawed guns.

Delaware Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Delaware.

Prohibited Guns in Delaware

The following guns are illegal to possess in Delaware:

  • Machine gun
  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Guns with a silencer or device made to muffle the shot
  • Weapons compressed by air or springs

Florida Gun Control Laws

There is a three-day waiting period to buy a gun in Florida. Those that are not allowed to possess a gun include minors, convicted felons, someone who habitually abuses alcohol or other substances, someone suffering from a mental illness, or someone with a history of domestic violence.

Prohibited Guns in Florida

The following guns are illegal to possess in Florida:

  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Machine gun
  • Bump-fire stocks

Georgia Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy most guns in Georgia. But there is a 60-day waiting period to carry a pistol.

Prohibited Guns in Georgia

The following guns are illegal to possess in Georgia:

  • Machine gun
  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Guns with a silencer or device made to muffle the shot

Hawaii Gun Control Laws

Hawaii is one of the most restrictive states on gun laws. You must apply through the police department for a permit before you can buy a gun. Those convicted of violent crimes will not be permitted. There is a 14-day waiting period once you receive your permit.

Prohibited Guns in Hawaii

The following guns are illegal to possess in Hawaii:

  • Automatic guns
  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Assault pistol

Idaho Gun Control Laws

Anyone over 18 without a felony conviction can own a gun in Idaho.

Prohibited Guns in Idaho

The following guns are illegal to possess in Idaho:

  • Weapons that expel projectiles by an explosive propellant
  • Guns with a barrel bore of over .700 inches in diameter, other than rifles and shotguns

Illinois Gun Control Laws

There is a three-day waiting period to buy a gun in Illinois, as long as you meet certain criteria for ownership.

Prohibited Guns in Illinois

The following guns are illegal to possess in Illinois:

  • Machine gun
  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Guns with a silencer or device made to muffle the shot
  • Stun gun or taser
  • Metal-piercing bullets

Indiana Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Indiana.

Prohibited Guns in Indiana

The following guns are illegal to possess in Indiana:

  • Machine gun
  • Sawed-off shotgun
  • Armor-piercing handgun

Iowa Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Iowa. Convicted felons and those under 18 cannot own guns.

Prohibited Guns in Iowa

The following guns are illegal to possess in Iowa:

  • Machine gun
  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Guns with a silencer or device made to muffle the shot
  • Guns with explosive bullets

Kansas Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Kansas.

Prohibited Guns in Kansas

The following guns are illegal to possess in Kansas:

  • Automatic weapons
  • Sawed-off shotgun
  • Guns with a silencer or device made to muffle the shot
  • Spring gun traps

Kentucky Gun Control Laws

Kentucky is one of the least restrictive gun control states. There is no waiting period, but convicted felons and those under 18 cannot buy a gun.

Prohibited Guns in Kentucky

The following guns are illegal to possess in Kentucky:

  • Guns with armor-piercing ammunition
  • Defaced firearms

Louisiana Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Louisiana.

Prohibited Guns in Louisiana

The following guns are illegal to possess in Louisiana:

  • Machine guns
  • Submachine guns

Maine Gun Control Laws

Maine is very lax when it comes to gun control. Firearm owners are not required to register their weapons, and there is no limit on how many weapons you can buy. Unsafe handguns are not regulated.

Prohibited Guns in Maine

The following guns are illegal to possess in Maine:

  • Machine guns
  • Guns with armor-piercing ammunition

Maryland Gun Control Laws

There is a seven-day waiting period to buy a gun in Maryland.

Prohibited Guns in Maryland

The following guns are illegal to possess in Maryland:

  • Short-barreled rifle or shotgun

Massachusetts Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Massachusetts. Convicted felons and those under 18 cannot possess a gun.

Prohibited Guns in Massachusetts

The following guns are illegal to possess in Massachusetts:

  • Machine gun
  • Sawed-off shotgun
  • Guns with a silencer

Michigan Gun Control Laws

You must score 70 percent on a gun safety questionnaire to buy a gun in Michigan, but there is no waiting period.

Prohibited Guns in Michigan

The following guns are illegal to possess in Michigan:

  • Automatic weapons
  • Machine gun
  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Guns with a silencer
  • Guns with armor-piercing ammunition

Minnesota Gun Control Laws

There is a seven-day waiting period in Minnesota to buy handguns or assault rifles.

Prohibited Guns in Minnesota

The following guns are illegal to possess in Minnesota:

  • Machine gun
  • Short-barreled shotgun
  • Spring gun
  • Swivel gun
  • Set gun

Mississippi Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Mississippi.

Prohibited Guns in Mississippi

The following guns are illegal to possess in Mississippi:

  • Machine gun
  • Fully automatic gun
  • Short-barreled rifle or shotgun
  • Silenced guns
  • Toy pistols that can fire
  • Guns with armor-piercing ammunition

Missouri Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period and no background check required to buy a gun in Missouri.

Prohibited Guns in Missouri

The following guns are illegal to possess in Missouri:

  • Machine gun
  • Short-barreled rifle or shotgun
  • Gas guns
  • Guns with exploding bullets
  • Explosive weapons

Montana Gun Control Laws

No background check, registration, license, or permit is required to own a gun in Montana. Children under 14 and those under the influence at the time of purchase can be denied gun ownership.

Prohibited Guns in Montana

The following guns are illegal to possess in Montana:

  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Machine guns, except those that are registered and on their own property
  • Silenced guns

Nebraska Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Nebraska, but background checks are required.

Prohibited Guns in Nebraska

The following guns are illegal to possess in Nebraska:

  • Machine guns
  • Short-barreled rifles or shotguns

Nevada Gun Control Laws

The waiting period is up to 120 days for a concealed weapons permit in Nevada.

Prohibited Guns in Nevada

The following guns are illegal to possess in Nevada:

  • Machine gun
  • Short-barreled rifle or shotgun
  • Silenced guns
  • Guns with armor-piercing ammunition

New Hampshire Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in New Hampshire. Minors and convicted felons cannot possess guns.

Prohibited Guns in New Hampshire

The following guns are illegal to possess in New Hampshire:

  • Short-barreled shotgun
  • Fully automatic weapons
  • Guns with armor-piercing ammunition

New Jersey Gun Control Laws

There is a 30-day waiting period for New Jersey residents to buy a gun. It is 45 days for non-residents.

Prohibited Guns in New Jersey

The following guns are illegal to possess in New Hampshire:

  • Machine gun
  • Assault firearms
  • Short-barreled rifle or shotgun
  • Silenced guns
  • Stun guns
  • Guns with armor-piercing ammunition

New Mexico Gun Control Laws

New Mexico is one of the more liberal states when it comes to gun laws. There is no waiting period to buy a gun in New Mexico. New Mexico also does not require permits or place limitations on high-capacity magazines. Those that have a permit are allowed to possess a machine gun.

New York Gun Control Laws

After Sandy Hook, New York enacted stronger gun control laws under the NY SAFE Act. But even before the Act, New York had some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country.

NY SAFE Act

There are many different provisions in the Act, but here are some of the more prominent:

  • All high-capacity magazine guns are banned
  • Ammunition dealers must perform background checks
  • An assault weapons registry was created
  • Stolen guns must be reported within 24 hours

North Carolina Gun Control Laws

There is a 30-day waiting period for a concealed handgun carry permit in North Carolina.

Prohibited Guns in North Carolina

The following guns are illegal to possess in North Carolina:

  • Machine guns
  • Automatic weapons
  • Sawed-off shotguns
  • Silenced guns
  • Teflon-coated bullets

North Dakota Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in North Dakota, but a background check is required.

Prohibited Guns in North Dakota

The following guns are illegal to possess in North Dakota:

  • Machine gun
  • Fully automatic rifle
  • Short-barreled rifle or shotgun

Ohio Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Ohio.

Prohibited Guns in Ohio

The following guns are illegal to possess in Ohio:

  • Sawed-off automatic firearm
  • Zip gun
  • Gun or ammunition designed for military purposes
  • Silenced guns

Oklahoma Gun Control Laws

Oklahoma is incredibly lax when it comes to gun control. There is no waiting period to buy a gun, and only minors, convicted felons, and people who are mentally ill are restricted.

Prohibited Guns in Oklahoma

The following guns are illegal to possess in Oklahoma:

  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun

Oregon Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Oregon, but there is an instant background check.

Prohibited Guns in Oregon

The following guns are illegal to possess in Oregon:

  • Machine gun
  • Short-barreled rifle or shotgun
  • Guns with armor-piercing ammunition

Pennsylvania Gun Control Laws

There is a two-day waiting period to buy a gun in Pennsylvania.

Prohibited Guns in Pennsylvania

The following guns are illegal to possess in Pennsylvania:

  • Machine gun
  • Short-barreled shotgun
  • Silenced guns

Rhode Island Gun Control Laws                                                             

There is a seven-day waiting period to buy a gun in Rhode Island, along with a background check.

Prohibited Guns in Rhode Island

The following guns are illegal to possess in Rhode Island:

  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Machine gun
  • Silenced gun
  • Armor-piercing bullets

South Carolina Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in South Carolina.

Prohibited Guns in South Carolina

The following guns are illegal to possess in South Carolina:

  • Machine gun
  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Military firearm
  • Tear-gas gun

South Dakota Gun Control Laws

South Dakota is very lax about gun control. The state’s 48-hour waiting period was repealed in 2009. You also do not need a permit to own or openly carry a pistol. You are allowed to keep it in your home, business, or property.

Prohibited Guns in South Dakota

The following guns are illegal to possess in South Dakota:

  • Silenced weapons
  • Machine gun
  • Short shotgun or rifle

Tennessee Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Tennessee.

Prohibited Guns in Tennessee

The following guns are illegal to possess in Tennessee:

  • Silenced weapons
  • Machine gun
  • Short shotgun or rifle
  • Explosive weapons

Texas Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Texas.

Prohibited Guns in Texas

The following guns are illegal to possess in Texas:

  • Silenced weapons
  • Machine gun
  • Short shotgun or rifle
  • Explosive weapons
  • Armor-piercing ammunition
  • Zip guns

Utah Gun Control Laws

Utah might be the least restrictive state in the country when it comes to gun control. There is no waiting period, and the only people restricted from buying guns are those convicted of a violent crime.

Prohibited Guns in Utah

The following guns are illegal to possess in Utah:

  • Defaced pistols or revolvers

Vermont Gun Control Laws

No permits, registrations, or licenses are required to own a gun in Vermont. There is also no waiting period.

Prohibited Guns in Vermont

The following guns are illegal to possess in Vermont:

  • Silenced guns
  • Zip guns
  • Bump stocks
  • Rifles with magazines over ten rounds
  • Handguns with magazines over 15 rounds

Virginia Gun Control Laws

State police have one day to look at your criminal record and make an inquiry by telephone before you can buy a gun in Virginia.

Prohibited Guns in Virginia

The following guns are illegal to possess in Virginia:

  • Sawed-off shotgun or rifle
  • Machine gun

Washington Gun Control Laws

Residents must wait ten days, and non-residents must wait 60 days after a background check is done to buy a gun in Washington.

Prohibited Guns in Washington

The following guns are illegal to possess in Washington:

  • Machine gun
  • Short-barreled rifle or shotgun
  • Defaced firearm

West Virginia Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in West Virginia.

Prohibited Guns in West Virginia

The following guns are illegal to possess in West Virginia:

  • Machine gun
  • Submachine gun
  • Fully automatic weapons
  • Silenced guns

Wisconsin Gun Control Laws

There is a 48-hour waiting period to buy a gun in Wisconsin.

Prohibited Guns in Wisconsin

The following guns are illegal to possess in Wisconsin:

  • Machine gun
  • Fully automatic weapons
  • Sawed-off rifle or shotgun
  • Silenced guns

Wyoming Gun Control Laws

There is no waiting period to buy a gun in Wyoming. No licenses, permits, or registration is necessary for firearms or concealed carry. There is also no restriction on assault weapons in Wyoming.

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