States kicked off 2022 by introducing a slew of gun-related legislation. Fortunately, most bills are in favor of gun owners. Lawmakers in five states are pushing for constitutional carry. Below are some bills and proposed agendas that may impact you if you live in one of the mentioned states.
This is a list of proposed legislation. These bills have not been passed into law. We will keep you informed on any future updates.
Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that he planned to target the gun industry by allowing Californians to sue “anyone who manufactures, distributes or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts” for damages. “If [Texas] can ban abortion and endanger lives, [California] can ban deadly weapons of war and save lives,” he stated. Based on a New York law passes last year, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-19) and others recently introduced Assembly Bill 1594. The bill would permit government agencies and citizens to file civil lawsuits against those involved in the sale, production, distribution, import and marketing of firearms or failing to prevent illegal gun use and creating a public nuisance. In addition, AB 311 would prohibit a vendor at a gun show or event from possessing, displaying, offering to sell, selling or transferring any firearm precursor parts.
Rep. Shane Stringer (R-102) sponsored the “constitutional carry” bill (House Bill 6) that would authorize individuals to carry a pistol or other firearm concealed or in a vehicle without a permit. A permit is currently required in the state. “I am a firm believer that law-abiding citizens should not be punished and forced to get a permit to carry a firearm when the criminal element is not,” Rep. Stringer declared. Stringer and 37 other Republican lawmakers also sponsored HB 44. During Gov. Kay Ivey’s (R) state of the state address on January 11, she indicated that she intends to support constitutional carry in the state.
Rep. Rob Brooks (R-60) and other Republican lawmakers introduced AB 495, which would allow individuals with a concealed carry permit to have a gun in their vehicles while picking up or dropping off their kids at school. Currently, a person could face felony charges for being on school property with a gun. This bill is an effort to help people protect themselves and their family members in the event of a shooting on school grounds. “I think it’s very important to allow parents to protect themselves and their families as they go about their day,” co-sponsor Sen. André Jacque (R-1) stated. Two other bills to monitor are AB 498, which proposes to lower the minimum age to 18 years old for a person to be eligible to apply for a license to carry a concealed weapon, and Senate Bill 619, which maintains that citizens have the right to carry a weapon in the state. On January 20, the Assembly approved the bills and they will move on to the Senate for a vote.
Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-52) reintroduced his “lawful carry” gun bill or HB 1077 that would remove the need for law-abiding citizens to obtain a government-issued license to carry a handgun. “This law is about the law-abiding Hoosier. They shouldn’t have to go through a process to be fingerprinted. They shouldn’t have to wait 30, 60, 90 days to get a permit,” Rep. Smaltz indicated. “We should not bind lawful people to those sort of steps.” The House Public Policy Committee approved the bill on January 5, and it was passed by the Indiana House on January 11. It will next move on to the Senate for consideration. Also keep an eye on SB 14, which allows certain persons who are at least 21 years of age to possess or carry a handgun without a license.
On January 6, New Hampshire lawmakers in the Senate voted and passed HB 307, which protects New Hampshire gun owners by strengthening the state’s preemption law. The bill prohibits local government agencies from banning firearms, ammunition, knives, and firearms components and accessories. It will move on to the New Hampshire House for a vote.
Nebraska lawmakers are preparing to address expanding gun rights. On January 5, Sen. Tom Brewer (R-43) introduced Legislative Bill 773. This bill will remove the need for an individual to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon and prohibit regulation by cities, villages and counties.
Sen. Dave Lawson (R-C15) introduced SB 172 in an attempt to remove permit requirements for concealed carry.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has announced that he plans to loosen handguns restrictions in the state by endorsing constitutional carry. He announced his plans on January 5, at Adventure Outdoors in the city of Smyrna, accompanied by state lawmakers and members of the NRA, GA2A, and Georgia Hunting and Fishing Federation.
“In the face of rising crime across the country, law-abiding citizens should have their constitutional rights protected — not undermined,” Gov. Kemp declared in a press release. “As I said on the campaign trail in 2018, I believe the U.S. Constitution grants our citizens the right to carry a firearm without the approval of [the] government. For law-abiding Georgians, the 2nd Amendment is their carry permit, and I look forward to working with members of the General Assembly to get Constitutional Carry across the finish line this legislative session.”
While no legislation has been introduced yet, Gov. Kemp said he will support pro-gun legislation in 2022.
Here are others states to pay close attention to:
Florida: Sen. Tina Polsky (D-29) is attempting to pass a law that requires the safe storage of firearms. There are others gun-related measures and proposals also being pushed by Democrats this session. At the same time, Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-32) is proposing legislation (HB 103) to get rid of the state’s concealed weapons permit and allow firearms in more places.
Missouri (St. Louis): Sen. Steven Roberts (D-5) is proposing SB 1016 that requires gun owners to have a concealed carry requirement within St. Louis’ city limits. Missouri is currently an open carry state. On the contrary, Rep. Adam Schnelting (R-104) has sponsored HB 1462, which would allow concealed carrying of firearms on public transportation systems and transporting nonfunctional or unloaded firearms on public buses.
Washington: Rep. April Berg (D-44) has sponsored HB 1618 that prohibits weapons at election-related offices and facilities subject to limited exemptions for law enforcement officers and security personnel. Rep. Tana Senn (D-41) introduced HB 1630, which restrictions weapons in certain locations. Democrats are expected to propose other anti-gun measures during this session. (Note: SB 5568, SB 5217, SB 5407, SB 5690 and SB 5078 were also added.)
Virginia: Republican lawmakers have introduced four new bills to expand gun rights in the state. SB 75 would remove the prohibition from carrying firearms or explosive material within state buildings. HB 292 would remove the requirement that concealed handgun permit applicants demonstrate competence with a handgun by completing an in-person course and adds the option for applicants to demonstrate competence by completing an electronic, video or online course conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor. HB 204 would decrease from five business days to three business days the time provided for the Department of State Police to complete a background check before a firearm may be transferred. Lastly, HB 23 would repeal the prohibition on the carrying of dangerous weapons in a place of worship without good and sufficient reason while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place. You can read about the other proposed gun legislation here.
Arizona: A handful of gun-related bills have been introduced by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the Arizona State Legislature. For instance, SB 1123, introduced by Sen. Wendy Rodgers (R-6), would allow certain permit holders to carry guns on college campuses.
Tennessee: Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-75) introduced HB 1769 (“Kyle’s Law”), which requires the state to reimburse a criminal defendant for all reasonable costs incurred in defense if the defendant was charged with a criminal homicide offense and found not guilty due to the justification of self-defense. “[U]nder the law I’m proposing, if someone in TN is placed in the same situation as Kyle Rittenhouse in the future, he/she can at least be financially compensated,” Rep. Griffey stated. “My bill will help deter what happened to Kyle Rittenhouse from happening to someone in Tennessee and will help protect the right of Tennesseans to self-defense.” Also, Rep. Rusty Grills (R-77) has proposed HB 1898, which would amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 39-17-1351, by deleting the language “handgun” wherever it appears and substituting instead the language “firearm” and by deleting the language “handguns” wherever it appears and substituting instead the language “firearms.” It would allow permit holders to carry other firearms besides a handgun.
Iowa: Sen. Zach Nunn (R-15) has introduced Senate File 2002, which would prohibit state and local law enforcement officers from enforcing federal laws, regulations, executive orders and other rules infringing on the right to keep and bear arms. “We want to protect our law enforcement officers on the front line who are serving the community,” Sen. Nunn explained, “not deputize them as agents of a department or agency to go in and infringe upon Iowans’ Second Amendment constitutional rights.”