Skip to main content

5 State Gun Laws That Could Go National

5 State Gun Laws That Could Go National
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

The system of government devised by our founding fathers is pure genius. Rather than a single set of laws to govern the entire nation, each state has its own legislative authority. The result is 50 “laboratories of democracy” where citizens of a state and their elected representatives can choose their own path. This, of course, means that gun laws vary wildly from state to state. A firearm that is completely legal in Philadelphia can make you a felon if you cross the bridge into New Jersey.

State legislatures have been aptly described as the “farm team” for the U.S. Congress. A great number of the elected individuals who make up Senate and House of Representatives have previously served in a state legislature. Politicians from places such as California and New York do their best to spread their states’ gun control laws on the entire nation while those from more conservative and pro-gun states fight to prevent this from happening.

If the current polling is even remotely accurate, it is very likely that Democrats will win the trifecta of government in November: the Presidency, the House majority and the Senate majority. If that happens, there will be very little standing in the way of a flurry of gun control bills in the Congress. Some of those bills will undoubtedly be lifted from states’ own statues, making the entire nation emulate laws from places such as California and New York. We have identified five state gun laws that are likely to be the law of the land if Democrats take control of the Legislative and Executive branches of government.

1. One Gun a Month

In 1993, when Democrats controlled the state assembly and gun control was all the rage, Virginia imposed a law that restricted individuals from purchasing more than one handgun a month. The law’s justification was to reduce the number of guns purchased in Virginia that were being sold (illegally) in other states. This law was repealed in 2012 but re-enacted in 2020 with a clause that exempts those who hold a valid Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit. Similar laws exist in California, Maryland and New Jersey. Imposing such restrictions on the federal level will likely be a priority for gun control groups in the future.


2. Bans on “Assault Weapons”

California has one of the nation’s most-restrictive laws when it comes to so-called “assault weapons.” These firearms, which are broadly defined in the statute, are only legal if they were owned and registered prior to a certain date. These firearms cannot be distributed, transported, imported, kept for sale, offered for sale, given or lent. Various other states, most of them in the Northeast, have similar laws. The Biden campaign’s website endorses a ban very similar to California’s that would require America’s most-popular firearms to be registered with the government in the same manner as a machine gun or flamethrower.


3. Ammunition Restrictions

Seven U.S. states and the District of Columbia impose restrictions, over and above those found in federal law, on the purchase of ammunition. New York and California have specific point-of-sale background checks for ammo buyers and also keep detailed records of all ammunition purchases in state-run databases. Online or mail-order sales of ammunition are effectively banned in these states. Though a federal judge ruled in April that California’s law was unconstitutional, the fight continues. Joe Biden’s website lists a ban on online ammunition sales as a priority of his administration, meaning that California’s draconian rules may be coming for all of us.

4. Microstamping

On October 13, 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger signed the Crime Gun Identification Act, which requires all new models of semiautomatic pistols manufactured or sold in California be designed and equipped with microstamping technology. The idea behind microstamping is that each firearm will have an identifiable stamp (basically a serial number) that is transferred to the cartridge case when the gun is fired. Law enforcement officials could, theoretically, examine spent cases and know which handgun they were fired from. The problem with this technology is that it is both unproven and costly. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) “peer-reviewed studies about microstamping…establish it is an unreliable, patented, sole-sourced concept and one that can be easily defeated by criminals in mere seconds using common household items like a emery board, coarse sandpaper or a file.  It would cost manufacturers millions to implement microstamping and raise the price of firearms by at least $200 per gun.” A $200-per-gun tax under the guise of “gun safety”? Congressional Democrats will line-up to vote for it.

5. Universal Background Checks

For years, we have heard the call to “close the gun show loophole” through the imposition of Universal Background Checks (UBCs). Sixteen states have some iteration of a UBC law on its books, and it has been proposed in Congress on countless occasions. These UBCs have broad support among the general public, especially when few details are offered. The fact is, UBCs for licensed gun dealers have been the law of the land for many years and the system works reasonably well. The problem is that some of the state laws extend the UBC concept to extremes in the name of reigning-in unregulated sales among individuals. Because of the wording used, merely handing a gun to a friend at the range or lending a relative a hunting rifle could be seen as criminal acts in some states. Even some Republicans, including Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, have endorsed UBCs at the federal level.

Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Trijicon

Trijicon's New Specialized Reflex Optics (SRO)

The Trijicon SRO is specifically designed for pistol use. The wide field of view and clean, crisp dot makes it easy for users to find and track the dot in both target and competitive shooting applications.

Air Gun Reviews: Why Shoot Airsoft?

Air Gun Reviews: Why Shoot Airsoft?

In this Guns & Ammo TV segment, Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr discuss the benefits of airsoft training for uniformed professionals and armed citizens alike.

Guns & Ammo TV: Cameras Don

Guns & Ammo TV: Cameras Don't Lie: 9mm vs .45 ACP

The age-old question, 9mm vs .45 ACP. For some, this has been asked and answered already. For others, the debate goes on. In this segment of “Cameras Don't Lie,” competitive shooters Patrick Sweeney and Jim Tarr head to the range to put the vaunted loads on record, and then consider the footage.

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

At the heart of the rifle is the Model 2020 action which wish designed and built with very tight tolerances thanks to Springfield's technology-driven manufacturing capabilities The stainless steel action features an integral recoil lug, and pairs with a fluted bolt employing dual cocking cams and an enhanced extractor for high pressure loads. The blueprinted and precisely machined action allows Springfield to offer the Model 2020 with .75" MOA accuracy guarantee. Despite being a production rifle, the Model 2020 should rival more expensive custom builds.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Trijicon has dominated the Carry Optic landscape on hard-use handguns for years. With the new RMRcc, they plan on dominating the concealed carry market as well.Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight Review – Perfect for Concealed Carry Optics

Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight Review – Perfect for Concealed Carry

Jeremy Stafford - October 01, 2020

Trijicon has dominated the Carry Optic landscape on hard-use handguns for years. With the new...

The Taurus TX22 rimfire shoots like no other.Taurus TX22 Rimfire Review Reviews

Taurus TX22 Rimfire Review

Eric Poole - May 23, 2019

The Taurus TX22 rimfire shoots like no other.

The Savage MSR 15 Competition is an out-of-the-box racehorse ready to help you win 3-Gun matches. Here's why.Savage MSR 15 Competition Review Reviews

Savage MSR 15 Competition Review

James Tarr - May 21, 2019

The Savage MSR 15 Competition is an out-of-the-box racehorse ready to help you win 3-Gun...

Whether you're going hunting or to the range, hitting your target is more fun when you have a zeroed rifle scope. Here's how to sight in your rifle scope setup in five quick-and-easy steps.How to Sight In a Rifle Scope in 5 Steps How-To

How to Sight In a Rifle Scope in 5 Steps

Craig Boddington - June 04, 2018

Whether you're going hunting or to the range, hitting your target is more fun when you have a...

See More Trending Articles

More Politics

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, President Obama issued a list of Executive Orders.CDC Gun Research Backfires on Obama Politics

CDC Gun Research Backfires on Obama

Kyle Wintersteen - August 27, 2013

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, President Obama issued a list of Executive Orders.

It's no secret to anyone who is paying attention that gun rights are in the crosshairs of theTop 20 Politicians for Gun Owners 2016 Politics

Top 20 Politicians for Gun Owners 2016

Keith Wood - November 02, 2016

It's no secret to anyone who is paying attention that gun rights are in the crosshairs of the

The U.S. Senate is the only part of America's legislative process that can prevent the passage of the gun-control proposals that are sure to follow a Biden victoryWhat a Senate Democratic Majority Would Have Meant for Gun Owners Politics

What a Senate Democratic Majority Would Have Meant for Gun Owners

Guns & Ammo Staff - November 05, 2020

The U.S. Senate is the only part of America's legislative process that can prevent the passage...

On Sept. 16, 2013, a civilian contractor with some history of mental illness used a valid securityG&A Perspectives: When is a Shooting a 'National Tragedy'? Politics

G&A Perspectives: When is a Shooting a 'National Tragedy'?

Kyle Wintersteen - October 28, 2013

On Sept. 16, 2013, a civilian contractor with some history of mental illness used a valid...

See More Politics

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now