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The 10 Least Gun-Friendly States in the U.S.

Stricter Laws and Tighter Regulations


While federal gun laws stay the same no matter where you live in the U.S., each state has its own set of laws that can vary greatly from place to place. If you are a serious gun collector or are passionate about your Second Amendment rights, check out this list of the 10 least gun-friendly states in the nation. These states tend to have the strictest laws and regulations regarding owning, carrying, and using firearms. On the flip side, you may also be interested in the 10 states that are the gun-friendliest.

Please understand that this information should not be considered legal advice. Laws can and do change. As such, always be sure that you have the most up-to-date legal requirements before buying, carrying, or using a gun in a state with which you are unfamiliar.

1. Washington D.C.

Although Washington D.C. isn’t technically a state, it has among the most restrictive gun laws in the country. All firearms must be registered with the police department and this registration requires the owner to complete a firearm training course. The District of Columbia does not issue carry permits and guns may only be kept in homes and businesses. Recreational use is permitted but the gun must be transported in a specified manner to such recreational events.

2. Illinois

The state of Illinois requires residents to obtain a Firearms Owner's Identification card before purchasing a gun or ammunition. Even then, there is still a 24-72 hour waiting period before buying a gun, depending upon the type of gun involved. Handgun carry permits are not issued in this state and it is illegal to carry a firearm any place other than one's home or in their place of business.

3. Hawaii

Residents of Hawaii are required to obtain a permit from their local police chief or sheriff before acquiring a gun. There will then be a 14 day minimum waiting period before the permit will be issued. Then, once the gun is purchased, it must be registered within 5 days. Handgun carry permits are issued rarely and only when the applicant has reason to fear for his or her personal safety.

4. Massachusetts

Folks in Massachusetts have to obtain a firearm identification card before they can purchase, carry, or even possess (even in their own home) a firearm. Handgun carry permits are issued on a may-issue basis and are more or less difficult to obtain depending upon the city and county in question. Furthermore, so-called "assault weapons" and magazines with an 11+ capacity are prohibited.

5. New Jersey

New Jersey residents must have a Permit to Purchase if they wish to buy a handgun or a Firearms Purchasers Identification Card if they wish to buy a long gun. Those who want to carry are generally out of luck as New Jersey is a may-issue state—but only if the applicant can prove the necessity for self-protection. The state also prohibits certain so-called "assault weapons."

6. California

California requires everyone to obtain a Handgun Safety Certificate before purchasing or otherwise acquiring a handgun. A state administered written test is taken in order to get the certificate. Furthermore, all handguns must be registered with the state. California is a may-issue state but some jurisdictions hand out carry permits freely while others issue them to practically nobody.

7. Connecticut

In Connecticut, no permit is required to purchase a long gun but there is a two week waiting period before delivery. A permit is required to purchase a handgun. Handgun carry permits are issued on a may-issue basis but are generally granted to qualified applicants. Carry permit holders are permitted to but discouraged from carrying openly. So-called "assault weapons" are banned in the state with the exception of guns that were owned prior to 1993.

8. Maryland

In Maryland, the state police must approve all handgun sales during a mandatory seven-day waiting period and all handgun sales are registered through the state. It is very difficult to obtain a handgun carry permit in Maryland because applicants must give a good reason for needing to carry a weapon in this may-issue state.

9. New York

It is important to note that gun laws vary greatly between New York State and New York City. As such, this information is valid only outside of NYC. In New York State, though, a permit is required to purchase a handgun but not a long gun. It is a may-issue state with some municipalities freely giving permits while others rarely, if ever, issue permits to civilians. So-called "assault weapons" are banned in New York unless they were legally possessed by January 15, 2013.

10. Rhode Island

To purchase a handgun in Rhode Island, you must receive a state-issued handgun safety card by taking a safety course or passing a safety test. To buy a long gun, you must pass a background check, even if buying the gun from a private individual. There is a seven day waiting period on all gun sales in the state. Carry permits are issued on a may-issue basis and may or may not be difficult to obtain, depending upon the jurisdiction.
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