Gun Safety: Laws, Licenses and Background Checks
Red Flag Laws: 17 states have enacted a Red Flag Law. This law allows a temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to themselves or others. A judge makes the determination at a court hearing, and refusal to comply is a criminal offense. Another court hearing is usually required to extend the gun removal. This law has strong support, including from the NRA, as long as due process is involved. Senator Marco Rubio (R — FL) has introduced a national bill.
A License for Gun Owners: State licensing laws for firearms fall into four categories: (1) 10 states have enacted laws issuing a permit or license to buy at least some firearms; (2) MA, IL and NY require a license to own firearms; (3) CA requires firearm safety certificates indicating that safety training has been completed, and WA requires safety training for semi-automatic weapons; and (4) Washington D.C. has a registration law that also functions as a license requirement.
HI, IL and MA require a permit to buy a gun that is issued after a background check. NJ requires that firearm buyers obtain a permit to purchase a firearm and conduct the purchase through a federally licensed firearms dealer. Four more states (IA, MI, NE, and NC) require a permit and background check to buy a handgun, but not long guns. IL also requires a point of sale background check for all gun sales at gun shows.
National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS): Current federal law requires background checks (through NICS) only for guns sold through licensed federal dealers and not through gun shows or private dealers.
Background Check Laws by State: Twelve states (CA, CO, CT, DE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA) and D.C. require universal background checks at the point for the sales and transfers of all classes of firearms, whether they are purchased from a licensed dealer or an unlicensed seller. MD and PA require a universal background check only for the purchase of a handgun.
Concealed Carry or carrying a concealed weapon (CCW), is the practice of carrying a weapon in public out of sight. As of 2018 there have been 17.25 million concealed weapon permits issued in the United States. There is no federal statutory law concerning CCW. All 50 states have passed laws allowing qualified individuals to carry certain concealed firearms in public, either without a permit or after obtaining a permit at the state and/or local level; however there are still many states with CCW that don’t issue permits or make it extremely difficult to obtain one.
While we lack a strong federal gun safety law, many states have passed a variety of laws. These laws are being researched for effectiveness (complete listing here).
If you have an opinion about these issues, make sure you vote for those who agree with you. We also encourage you to speak with the elected officials in your state.