SEPTEMBER 15, 2022 – The right to bear arms is intrinsic to American culture, as well as being one of the most controversial topics of the current era.
As with many aspects of the law, this is one which individual states choose to control and manage in their own way. So while some states have very liberal rules on gun ownership and use, which ones are the most draconian?
The tight control of firearms in California has helped to bring down gun-related homicides to just 8.5 fatalities per 100,000 people annually.
One of the most recent innovations introduced to reduce gun crime is that of microstamping, a technique that makes handguns far more traceable and thus less practical to deploy in a criminal way. It’s still a state where military testing takes place, in spite of its tighter rules on firearm ownership.
Hawaii might have a modest population, but it takes gun control seriously and before buying a gun you must pass a background check, apply for a permit, and have a place to securely store your firearms on your property.
Furthermore, you can’t legally purchase a weapon if you’re aged under 21, which isn’t common in other parts of the country.
New Jersey adheres to the same rules for buying a gun as Hawaii, and so it ranks just behind it in terms of firearm-related deaths annually.
It’s also a state where gun ownership is very low, perhaps in part due to the number of hoops you have to jump through to legally acquire one.
What to do if you’re accused of a weapons offense, e.g. in New Jersey
Being faced with weapons charges is no joke, so you need to get in touch with a firearms attorney in NJ if you find yourself in this situation.
Bear in mind that states with stricter gun laws also often have greater punishments and penalties associated with breaching them. So you can’t afford to be complacent about an accusation or a charge of this kind, even if you’re innocent.
Working with a local lawyer is particularly sensible in this instance because of the aforementioned differences in gun laws from state to state. You don’t want to leave your case in the hands of an attorney who’s come from elsewhere and doesn’t have the knowledge of local laws to help them defend you against the accusations.
What about states that are more lenient regarding gun ownership?
It’s worth touching on the places in the US which don’t put as many checks and balances between the average citizen and owning a firearm.
Many are located in the south, with the likes of Texas, Mississippi and Kentucky all being a lot more liberal in this regard.
However, there are some more northerly, coastal states which break the mold with less strict gun laws, including Maine and New Hampshire.
Mississippi, Alabama and Missouri are the top 3 in terms of gun deaths per 100,000 members of the population, all breaching the 20 fatalities mark while the national average is 13.
It’s interesting to note that while California technically has the tightest controls over gun ownership, it’s not quite able to boast the lowest rate of gun-related deaths.
This suggests that there are more factors at play than simply whether or not gun control is tight. Statistics may also be swayed by population size, as well as by cultural norms, crime levels more generally and societal issues such as drug use.
Whether the stats will change with time will largely depend on whether other states follow suit in tightening gun laws.