Here's What You Need to Know About the Gun Laws In All 50 States

They were murdered doing the most mundane of activities: shopping at Walmart, going to work, grabbing a drink at a bar, watching a movie, attending a concert, going to class. And these are just lives lost in the most high profile of cases—the mass shootings that have become the new norm in America. But every day in our country, 100 people die because of gun violence, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Another 100,000 more are shot and injured each year, and between 2014 and 2017 gun violence deaths rose 16%. And yet, lawmakers have repeatedly failed to pass meaningful gun reform measures.

Again and again, legislation on the state and federal level that would introduce "red-flag laws" that allow police or family members to temporarily take firearms from those deemed a danger to themselves or others, background checks, waiting periods, and a ban on assault rifles is stymied by pro-gun politicians. While some states have more stringent restrictions than others, the rules vary so much from state to state that the patchwork of regulations make it difficult for states with stricter laws to keep guns off their turf.

Because knowledge is power, Refinery29 and the Giffords Law Center joined forces to outline the key laws in every U.S. state and D.C. so that you can educate yourself about the gun laws in your own backyard. We include a breakdown on concealed carry laws, which cover whether gun owners are allowed to carry obscured weapons on their person, and open carry laws, which allow them carry firearms in plain sight. Some states have laws outlining when those who potentially pose a threat get added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System ("NICS") database, which the FBI uses to conduct background checks before gun sales, and others have rules about how law enforcement does (or does not) keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. And more. We will continue to update this story as regulations change.

Click on a state to learn more:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
They were murdered doing the most mundane of activities: shopping at Walmart, going to work, grabbing a drink at a bar, watching a movie, attending a concert, going to class. And these are just lives lost in the most high profile of cases—the mass shootings that have become the new norm in America. But every day in our country, 100 people die because of gun violence, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Another 100,000 more are shot and injured each year, and between 2014 and 2017 gun violence deaths rose 16%. And yet, lawmakers have repeatedly failed to pass meaningful gun reform measures.
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Again and again, legislation on the state and federal level that would introduce "red-flag laws" that allow police or family members to temporarily take firearms from those deemed a danger to themselves or others, background checks, waiting periods, and a ban on assault rifles is stymied by pro-gun politicians. While some states have more stringent restrictions than others, the rules vary so much from state to state that the patchwork of regulations make it difficult for states with stricter laws to keep guns off their turf.
Because knowledge is power, Refinery29 and the Giffords Law Center joined forces to outline the key laws in every U.S. state and D.C. so that you can educate yourself about the gun laws in your own backyard. We include a breakdown on concealed carry laws, which cover whether gun owners are allowed to carry obscured weapons on their person, and open carry laws, which allow them carry firearms in plain sight. Some states have laws outlining when those who potentially pose a threat get added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System ("NICS") database, which the FBI uses to conduct background checks before gun sales, and others have rules about how law enforcement does (or does not) keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. And more. We will continue to update this story as regulations change.
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