The laws concerning gun ownership have probably never been discussed more than in the week following the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday, December 14, 2012. There are many complex issues related to gun ownership and gun control laws such as background checks, waiting periods, mental health, concealed weapons, and the sale of assault weapons.
According to a December 19, 2012, article by Adam Liptak, The New York Times, all 50 states and the District of Columbia require background checks on prospective buyers with each individual state being responsible for laws concerning gun ownership. According to the article, seven states and the District of Columbia prohibit the ownership of assault weapons; eleven states and the District of Columbia require waiting periods for some or all firearms; thirty states require reporting of buyers’ mental health; and forty-nine states and the District of Columbia allow concealed weapons.
In addition to current gun laws, there are many changes being proposed by lawmakers at the state and national level. Some proposed changes would ban certain types of weapons and ammunition; would require more information sharing between governmental agencies, and would expand background check requirements. In January, State legislatures around the country will be convening to discuss proposed legislation. In California, lawmakers may be seeking to regulate ammunition sales. In Washington, legislation may be proposed to improve information sharing between state agencies concerning mental illness, and in Colorado, they may make it more difficult for people with mental illness to buy handguns.
You can find links to existing national and state laws by clicking on the name of a specific state using our “Laws and Codes Resources” website. Available national links include “Search the U.S. Code” which provides searches of existing federal laws by keyword or phrase. You can also search “active legislation” on the United States Senate website. Some of the available state links include Arizona “statutes” by title number; Indiana “state codes” by title number or keyword; Oregon “bills and laws” by session; and Washington “Revised Code of Washington” arranged by topic. Many states also offer links to proposed legislation which can also be found on our website.
In the coming months, there will undoubtedly be a number of laws passed affecting gun ownership. You can access these and other public records such as land records, genealogy records, crime data, jail records, and more using our “Free Public Records Search Directory” by state or type of record.