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Automatic Weapons Legality by State [Updated May 2023]

Automatic Weapons Legality by State [Updated May 2023]

Are Automatic Weapons Legal?

Perhaps one of the most hotly debated topics in the United States is the legal right to carry weapons. While it is the federal right to carry firearms under the 2nd amendment, many issues have changed since the Constitution was drafted. Firstly, the right to bear arms was created to deter the government from acting tyrannically - the ultimate transgression that led to the rebellion of the American Colonies and the creation of the United States we now know. Since the passing of this legislature, weapons have undoubtedly changed throughout their time. While most citizens do not frequently debate weapons such as pistols, the rise in shooting in the public sector has given cause for concern over gun regulation.

Why are Automatic Weapons Dangerous?

The definition has yet to make itself clear, but automatic weapons refer to the use of semi-automatic, automatic, and long guns. Some refer to automatic weapons as "big guns" - meaning rifles or firearms that do not resemble a single-fired handgun that can be carried openly. From the point of view of "preventing tyranny,” automatic weapons can be extremely effective in their offensive and defensive use, turning regular citizens into an overnight militia to defend their rights and freedoms.

Those against automatic weapons argue that they are too easily accessible in certain states and should either be banned altogether or undergo an extremely rigorous process before being given out to civilians. Automatic weapons are banned in highly metropolitan states, especially in the North. This includes California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

In What States Are Automatic Weapons Legal?

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that completely ban the possession of automatic/assault firearms. These bans are in place in California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. The bans cover models, semiautomatic rifles, semiautomatic pistols, shotguns, and feature tests for most states and the District of Columbia. There is also a magazine capacity limit of ten. Hawaii only enforces this ban for semiautomatic pistols.

Additionally, seven of these states— California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island— ban the manufacture of automatic weapons within the state. Their sale is prohibited in all of these states as well, with the exception of New York.

In most states, the manufacture, sale, or possession of automatic weapons is only illegal when it is in violation of federal laws.

Is a Federal Ban on Automatic Weapons Likely?

It is extremely unlikely that the federal legislature would pass a law (or even create a bill with enough attention) to abolish the use of automatic weapons completely. It is a highly debated topic, and so far, it needs to be looked at on a state-to-state basis. The decision is usually split between three camps; complete abolition of firearms, the notion that everything should be kept the way it is, and finally, preserving the essence of the amendment while updating the controls and weapons available for civilian distribution.

Automatic Weapons Legality by State [Updated May 2023]

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Automatic Weapons Legality by State [Updated May 2023]