With ballot measures in many states focusing on gun rights and gun control this November, there is no better time to research how your state approaches firearm regulations. While some states ensure that the right is explicitly protected in their constitution, others don’t offer such a safeguard. It is important to remember that the power to enact change, whether through personal vote or elected representative, lies squarely in the hands of the citizens of each state. Freedoms can only be ensured if they are protected by the public’s voice. Here is our ranking of the five worst states when it comes to protecting the Second Amendment:
The state constitution ensures that, “the people have the right to keep and bear arms for the common defense,” so we’re off to a good start. But the permit and license system that Massachusetts has created for gun ownership is insanely complicated and ridiculous. Simply knowing what sort of licensing is required for a routine ammunition purchase can be a daunting task. While they have certainly begun to enforce stricter legislation, the fact that the state doesn’t require gun registration and has a somewhat sane approach to background checks prevents it from moving up this list.
While the right to bear arms is ensured in the state constitution, Hawaii has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Between the long waiting periods and the numerous hoops one has to jump through in order to acquire a firearm, it seems as though the laws were created to dissuade even law-abiding citizens from even making an attempt at firearm ownership. It is also currently the only state to require registration on all purchases (DC has similar laws but is not technically a state).
- New Jersey
Like Massachusetts, this state’s permit system is designed to dissuade citizens from exercising their second amendment right. Your ability to get a concealed carry license is entirely dependent upon the local police’s discretion. They are also one of the few states to have already passed a law requiring that, once smart-gun technology is available, you will have your gun adapted so that you are the only one who can fire it. So if the technology quits on you you’re left with a firearm that is unable to fire.
While there is at least a permit option available for open carry, Connecticut is surprisingly harsh towards gun rights. The state’s background system is inefficient and needlessly difficult. Not only does a citizen have to submit to an FBI background check, but they are also required to go through a separate Connecticut check. This even applies to private sales. And, clocking in at two weeks, the Connecticut waiting period after a purchase is a full four days longer than even the strictest state on our list. Which brings us to:
Oh, California. Every cause needs an antagonist and California seems dedicated to filling that role. Between universal background checks for every purchase, extended wait times, microstamping on all firearms, and the lack of any constitutional protection, California seems intent on setting an example for others looking to strip their citizens of their rights. I didn’t even mention the fact that you can’t make more than one firearm purchase per month.