The right to own firearms may be written right into the United States Constitution, but not every state in the union is fired up about guns.
Recent polls show that most Americans value gun rights, but several states still go out of their way to make owning and purchasing a firearm as difficult as possible.
Within their borders, lengthy regulations, red-tape hurdles, and crackdowns on certain firearm types are pushed by legislators with public safety as their questionable justification. If you ask gun right advocates, these “common sense” laws are naive at best, and at worst, have an ulterior motive to disarm citizens. Outside these places, there’s not much they can do, except avoid living there.
So if you value your freedom to own a gun for hunting, defense, or simply because you have the right, here’s 10 states you’ll want to steer clear of.
Led by the virulent anti-gun governor Andrew Cuomo, New York erodes gun rights whenever they have a chance. Most modern sporting rifles such as AK-47s and AR-15s are prohibited, and it’s insanely difficult to gain a concealed carry license. There’s even a weapons seizure law, allowing police to confiscate guns with little justification needed.
Cuomo and his cronies rushed a sweeping gun control law through in 2013, which included limited magazine capacities, considered by many a backdoor ban on most handguns. It later was adjusted to allow 10-count magazines, but only seven can be loaded in them, an exercise in gun control naivety. New York gun control groups claim these laws foster safety, but so far the most significant result has been gun manufacturers fleeing the state in droves, taking their tax dollars with them.
New Jersey also loves making its residents wade through piles of paperwork before getting a gun. Gun purchasers must get an identification card and a permit if they want a handgun, plus permit holders have to prove they have a “justifiable need” to carry a handgun, and can only have one pistol each. Residents even need a permit to buy ammo.
Concealed carry licenses are also severely limited, and the state is a leader in the continued crusade against so-called “assault rifles.” Governor Christ Christie may be a Republican darling, but he says he has no intention to relax any of these laws anytime soon.
One would think a state with a frontier spirit would be more gun-friendly, but Colorado is a bit of an odd duck in the American West, driven largely by politics in Denver. Spurred on by fear in the aftermath of a theater shooting, Colorado has cracked down hard on firearms like the AR-15 that was used in the tragedy, including implementing a restriction on magazine capacities.
The new laws have been deemed unenforceable by most law enforcement agencies in Colorado, considering most residents can simply travel to a neighboring state to purchase a high capacity magazine. The laws haven’t seen any clear effect on safety, but has led to some of the largest manufacturers, like Magpul, packing up and taking off for greener pastures.
Massachusetts is another state which should probably look into its own history for the reasoning behind the Second Amendment. Regardless, the birthplace of the revolution despises the modern musket.
A state license is required to buy guns or even ammunition. There’s also a ban on any non-grandfathered “assault weapon” or 10-round magazine. Massachusetts is also a “may issue” state for concealed carry licenses, although good luck getting one if you live near a major city. The restrictions have resulted in few gun owners, equaling just over 12 percent of the state.
They may have started as rebels, but it seems the Commonwealth has finally been brought to heel – this time from within.
No surprises here, the left-leaning state continues to despise gun ownership, making them the hero of anti-gun groups like the Brady Campaign. The state maintains a list of “approved” handguns, which have magazine capacities severely limited. Concealed carry licenses are also notoriously difficult to obtain.
Dianne Feinstein, a popular California senator, is known for her admission that she’d eliminate all guns if given the choice, all while having little knowledge on firearms herself. California is an economic crisis, and the exodus of gun manufacturers in response to their laws can’t be helping. The laws also don’t seem to be preventing California cities from being some of the most murderous places in the country.
It may be paradise for tourists, but not for gun owners. Several types of handguns are prohibited and there are limitation on types of rifles and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Hawaiians must also procure a permit from the chief of police before acquiring a firearm. A new bill has also recommended that guns be taken away if your family has certain mental disorder, you refuse a breath or blood test, or if you fail to pay child support. Law enforcement would be exempt from all of these restrictions.
Seems like a good place for Hawaii Five-O, but even the beauty of the islands isn’t worth it for the average law-abiding gun owner.
Once a haven for some of America’s greatest gunmakers, Connecticut’s increasingly draconian laws have chased firearms manufacturers away. Connecticut requires its residents to gain an eligibility certificate just to purchase a handgun. Semi-automatic sporting rifles can be owned, but the owner has to receive a certificate of possession through the police. Law enforcement can also seize a weapon if they believe you’re a danger to yourself or others, and they can keep the gun for up to a year. The Sandy Hook shooting has only heated up the state campaign on gun control, even though no one has explained how laws would’ve prevented the tragedy to begin with.
Okay, it’s not technically a state, but it deserves mentions for the irony that a nation with firearm ownership written right into its Constitution doesn’t extend that same protection to residents of its capital.
Only recently were residents even allowed to own guns, when a Supreme Court decision overturned a long-time ban. However, semi-automatic rifles and magazines with greater than 10 rounds continue to be forbidden, and a permit for purchase is required for the rest. The city is a hotbed for crime, but with no concealed carry or Castle Doctrine Law, D.C. residents are essentially helpless both on the streets and in their own homes. Meanwhile, the politicians that disarmed them sit safely behind armed guards.
Illinois is famed for two things which might not be entirely unrelated: its fervent stance on gun control, and for having one of the most violent cities in America – Chicago. Until recently, citizens of Illinois weren’t even allowed to apply for a concealed carry permit, and while it’s now allowed, gun control advocates fought it tooth and nail every step of the way and still hope to overturn it.
The state still requires an identification card when purchasing guns or ammunition, and there is a waiting period on all new firearm purchases. The Chicago area has also banned the possession of the usual gun control bugaboo, the “assault weapon.” The city saw a sharp drop in murders after it passed the concealed carry law, hinting that a new population of armed law-abiding Illinoians is what could actually be resulting in a safer place to live.
Governor Martin O’Malley has led the charge against the Second Amendment, resulting in Beretta USA, a supplier for military and law enforcement, announcing it would relocate to Tennessee. Beretta’s reasons were financial, but gun rights supporters could see what other harm the state’s laws might have.
There is a ban on selling all 10-round magazines, with certain handguns, labeled as “assault pistols,” being forbidden. Police will only issue a concealed carry permit after a lengthy investigation determining why you need one, a process that was recently declared unconstitutional in court (although that was later overturned). Police in Maryland have been found to target out-of-state travelers with concealed carry permits, even with no discernible proof they may have brought their firearms with them.
While gun-control groups trumpet these states’ laws, they’re left without ammo in justifying their effect. These restrictions seem to be doing little to temper gun violence, and since most of these states still face overwhelming violence, they in fact seem to be having the opposite effect. Gun rights proponents would say these state’s laws only serve to leave law-abiding citizens defenseless, while allowing gun-toting criminals to run rampant. And on top if it, they encourage firearm manufacturers to pack their bags, bleeding states of jobs and revenue. According to Second Amendment advocates, it’s all the price of shooting up the Constitution.
These states offer a lot in term of things to see, and most would make for a decent vacation spot. But it’s not the states themselves that are the issue as much as it is their states of mind. If you couldn’t live without a gun for purposes of personal safety or constitutional freedom, think twice before setting down roots in any of these 10 places.
If you do, it likely won’t be long before you’ll be in the state government’s crosshairs.