These States Have the Most Restrictive Gun Laws in America

Gun violence in the United States is rampant. On any given day of the year, an average of at least one mass shooting occurs. This epidemic of gun violence is particularly unique to the United States, and the facts are difficult to ignore. Simply stated, the more guns a state has, the more gun-related deaths occur. With more gun control comes less firearm violence.

While the Brady Law requires every state to conduct a background check on any individual purchasing a firearm, more than a few gun-buying loopholes allow consumers to sidestep control regulations. However, a handful of states have enacted laws to prevent guns from ending up in the wrong hands. While states like Idaho and Montana have some of the loosest gun control laws, these states have the most restrictive in America.

1. California

Gun shop
A gun shop in San Gabriel, California. | Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The Golden State has experienced its fair share of firearm violence in recent years. Luckily, the state took action. Enforcing some of the most restrictive gun laws in the U.S. has set California apart from the rest of the country.

The state has banned assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and prohibits high-risk individuals and domestic violence offenders from purchasing weapons. It also requires universal background checks.

Next: A tragedy led this state to make some changes. 

2. Connecticut

Sandy Hook Shooting
Connecticut strengthened its gun laws following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

Even though the state has a licensed open carry law, Connecticut has enacted the same gun control laws as California.

The state sprung into action in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy that took place in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012. After that event, Connecticut banned the purchase and possession of an assault weapon.

Next: This unexpected state understands the importance of gun control.

3. Colorado

There have been several mass shootings in Colorado, including the one at Columbine High School in 1999. | Wellesenterprises/Getty Images

From the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 to the Planned Parenthood shooting in 2015, Colorado has every reason to pursue restrictive gun laws. Even though lawmakers and many Coloradans are split on the how gun control law should unfold, the only restriction the state hasn’t passed is an assault weapon ban.

Next: Keeping the public safe is the number one priority.

4. District of Columbia

Washington DC, USA skyline
Gun laws are strict in D.C.| Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

Yes, it is not a state, but it is worth nothing that the District of Columbia takes gun laws seriously. In addition to the same restrictions as California, the District enforces stringent regulations on ammunition purchases, registrations of firearms, and the transportation of guns. If a weapon isn’t specifically registered, ammunition simply cannot be purchased.

Next: An already strict state is becoming ironclad

5. Maryland

a salesman in a blue shirt shows off a bump stock on a rifle
Lawmakers in Maryland hope to ban bump stocks, like the one installed on the AR-15 rifle above. | Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Maryland has plans to take its gun control laws to the next level. The state’s lawmakers have already adopted some of the strictest firearm laws in the country.

Now, it’s looking to make them even more ironclad. In 2018, two new measures have been introduced to the ballot — banning bump stocks and a repeal of the state’s Handgun Permit Review Board.

Next: This state has witnessed the benefits of its gun laws.

6. Massachusetts

Harvard university
Massachusetts had the lowest gun-death rate in the nation in 2015.  | Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock

It appears that Massachusetts’ gun control laws are serving the state well, considering it had the lowest gun-death rate of any state in 2015. Even though the state’s lawmakers have created some of the strictest firearms laws in the country, citizens who follow the law aren’t running into any issues while purchasing guns.

Next: The goal of becoming the most progressive state for gun-regulation may be achieved.

7. New Jersey

boat in water
New Jersey wants to make its gun laws even tougher. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Phil Murphy, the governor of New Jersey, recognizes that the state has some of the most progressive laws concerning gun safety in the United States. Still, he’s looking to bolster them even more.

Currently, the state has regulated magazines to 15 rounds. Lawmakers are looking to reduce that even further to 10 rounds per magazine.

Next: A state whose residents are backing them up.

8. New York

The New York City skyline.
Background checks in New York are rigorous. | fietstouring/iStock/Getty Images

New York also takes its gun laws seriously. In the Empire State, assault weapons are illegal to purchase or possess. As for semi-automatics, they are legal but magazines cannot exceed 10 rounds.

When it comes to background checks, it’s no cakewalk. The state prides itself in conducting some of the most rigorous checks in the country.

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