There are so many places to get your news it can be overwhelming. As a result, it’s challenging to stay informed about important gun news. That’s why we’ve created a single place where you can find the most important gun news at the national, state and local levels. Be sure to check back monthly to stay up to date with what’s going on with guns in America.
Background Checks Most Likely Measure to Reduce so-called ‘Gun Violence’
NPR spoke with Columbia University law professor Jeffrey Fagan on the effectiveness of gun laws. In his 2016 research, Fagan found “enhanced background checks” for firearms purchasers under the age of 21 were most likely to reduce gun deaths. He noted that background checks are “very important filters” to who can be a responsible gun owner.
Safer Gun Storage on the Rise
A research letter in JAMA Network Open claims nearly 4.6 million children are living in homes with loaded and unlocked firearms. The total number of children living in homes with firearms is 30 million, putting 15 percent of kids in armed homes in the riskiest settings. The researchers have seen a trend in safer storage from 2015 to 2021.
Biden Signs Gun Control into Law
On June 25, President Biden signed a bipartisan gun bill into law. The legislation aims to intensify background checks for purchasers under 21 and offers money to states for enacting “red flag” laws. The majority of the $13 billion, however, will go to strengthening mental health programs. This came only two days after the Supreme Court struck down New York’s restrictive gun laws.
California Takes Aim at Gun Owners
A new dashboard by the California Attorney General’s office put hundreds of thousands of permitted gun owners at risk with a massive leak of data. Data leaked include names, addresses, date of birth and type of permit issued, which can indicate whether a person is a law enforcement officer or judge. Information was leaked when the new system went live on Monday, June 27, and public access was not revoked until the following Tuesday afternoon. Attorney General Rob Bonta said he was “deeply disturbed and angered” by the failure, and permit holders who had their data leaked will be offered credit monitoring.
South Dakota Cancels Fees
Governor Kristi Noem (R) passed legislation, effective as of July 1, that removes concealed carry permit fees in South Dakota. “It will not cost you a penny to exercise your 2nd Amendment rights in South Dakota,” Noem said in a press release. Secretary of State Steve Barnett estimated the state could lose between $100,000 to $250,000 in revenue.
Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed legislation Tuesday, July 12, that will allow state and local governments as well as California citizens to sue gun makers. The law takes advantage of an exemption in the federal statute, Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which allows gun makers or sellers to be sued for violations of state laws. A company can now face lawsuits if its products are “abnormally dangerous” or end up with people prohibited from owning firearms. It is likely to face a court challenge.
On Tuesday, July 12, the Senate narrowly voted to approve former U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach as head of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Dettelbach’s previous position gained him the support of the National Sheriffs’ Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Sending It Back
Following its ruling on NYSRPA v Bruen, the Supreme Court sent four gun law cases back to lower courts. The cases in New Jersey and California address limits on magazines that hold 10 or more rounds. In Maryland, assault weapons are on trial. And Hawaii is facing a challenge to its open carry laws.
Gun Control Measures in Congress
The Senate announced Sunday, June 12 a bipartisan proposal in response to recent mass shootings. Though it does not go as far as many in the Democratic Party have advocated for, the framework does address so-called “red flag” laws as well as add boyfriends — current and ex — who have committed domestic violence acts to the list of federally prohibited persons.
Ten GOP senators, four of who are retiring and five who are not up for reelection until 2026, back the proposal. The legislation deal includes investment in children and family mental health services, funding for school safety resources and penalties for straw purchasing.
House lawmakers also voted recently on raising the minimum age to buy semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21. The bill is known as the Protecting Our Kids Act and passed on a party-line vote. It is expected to fail in the Senate.
Ohio Promotes Self-Defense Among Students
Ohio Reps. Tom Young (R-42) and Andrea White (R-41) have introduced House Bill 639 known as the Student Protection Act. The act requires public and non-public high schools to incorporate self-defense training into health class requirements. A school resource officer or other certified instructor would teach the classes.
Gov. DeWine Lowers Training Hours Required for Armed Teachers
On June 13, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed HB 99 into law. HB 99 would lower the required 700 hours of firearms training for teachers and staff to be armed to 24. The bill also leaves it up to local boards of education to decide whether to allow their teachers and staff to carry firearms.
“This is a local choice, not mandated by the legislature nor by the government,” Gov. DeWine stated. “Each school board will determine what is best for their students, their staff and their community.”
President Biden Calls for ‘Assault-Weapon’ Ban in Primetime Address
After multiple highly publicized mass shootings over the span of two weeks, President Biden addressed the nation and called on Congress to ban so-called “assault weapons” and limit high-capacity magazines. Along with citing a recent report from the CDC that pointed to guns as the leading cause of death among children, Biden claimed, “This is not about taking away anyone’s guns. It’s not about vilifying gun owners.”
Gov. Hochul Signs 10 Gun Bills Into Law
On June 6, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed a package of 10 bills into law, notably, S.9458, which restricts anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing a semi-automatic rifle.
“Gun violence is an epidemic that is tearing our country apart. Thoughts and prayers won’t fix this, but taking strong action will,” Gov. Hochul declared. “In New York, we’re taking bold steps to protect the people of our state.”
Man Planned to Assassinate SCOTUS Member
Police arrested a man armed with a gun, knife, burglary tools and pepper spray near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The man called the police on himself. The suspect admitted he was there to kill Kavanaugh when law enforcement detained him.
Florida Fights Back for Dual Permits
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried plans to sue the presidential administration over the federal rule prohibiting medical marijuana users from purchasing firearms. “Medical marijuana is legal. Guns are legal. This is all about people’s rights,” Fried said.
Acting ATF Director
President Biden will name Gary M. Restaino as acting director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) while waiting on the Senate to confirm a permanent director. Restaino serves as U.S. attorney for the district of Arizona and will replace current acting director Marvin Richardson. Richardson has been in the post since June 2021, and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 states a president can appoint officials on an acting basis “for no longer than 210 days beginning on the date the vacancy occurs.”
Biden Attempts to Rush ATF Nomination After Buffalo Tragedy
After the racially motivated attack in Buffalo, the Biden administration is trying to refocus attention on confirming Steve Dettelbach’s nomination to head the ATF.
Firearm Homicides at a Record Level, According to CDC
According to the CDC, 2020 marked the highest rate of homicides linked to firearms since 1994. The report noted that while all populations experienced an increase in firearms deaths, homicide rates were the highest among males, young adults and non-Hispanic people of color.
DOJ Sues Missouri Over Gun Rights
Less than a year after Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA), the Department of Justice is suing the state. The DOJ alleges that Missouri’s gun law hampers their activities and violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. After SAPA declared certain federal gun laws invalid, there was confusion about how local law enforcement would work with federal law enforcement. In one case, a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper released a federal fugitive.
Ohio Joins List of Constitutional Carry States
Taking effect June 13, some Ohioans have questions about the state’s constitutional carry law. An Allen County sheriff and chief assistant prosecutor addressed some of those questions at the Lima Rotary Club earlier this month.
Guns Stolen from Cars
From 2019 to 2020, at least 180 cities across America saw a rise in gun thefts from vehicles. Vehicle thefts now make up the largest source of stolen guns. In Virginia, Police Chief Mark Talbot noted that, when investigated, most of the crimes committed with guns utilized stolen guns. Here’s a refresher on how to safely store your gun in your vehicle.
Buffalo Residents Turn to Self-Defense
After the Tops Supermarket shooting, residents of the neighborhood are looking to protect each other. “If anybody does try to do that again in our community, they will be met with resistance,” Jarrold Anderson, who had visited the grocery just before the shooting, warned.
Illinois Bans ‘Ghost Guns’
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed House Bill 4383 this month, which bans firearms kits in the state. Illinois is the first state in the Midwest to enact such legislation. The new law follows similarly announced rules by the Biden administration that require kits be serialized and classified as firearms. It will go into effect on November 14, 2022. You can read Pritzker’s press release here.
California Injunction to Halt Sale of Firearms Kits
California Attorney General Rob Bonta and San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin filed a motion for preliminary injunction to halt the sale of firearms kits by retailers MDX, Glockstore and Blackhawk. The retailers are alleged to have refused to adhere to California law by selling the kits.
Former President Trump Headlining NRA Meetings
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-21), Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-2) and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) will also be speaking at the meetings. Notably, firearms will not be allowed in the venue while Trump is speaking, a prohibition which will be enforced by Secret Service.
Ghost Guns and a New ATF Nominee
On Monday, April 11, 2022, President Biden nominated former federal attorney Steve Dettelbach to serve as director of the ATF. Dettelbach unsuccessfully ran for Ohio attorney general in 2018, when he pushed to reinstate an assault weapons ban and universal background checks. The administration attempted to frame Dettelbach as noncontroversial by touting his law enforcement background.
At the same time, the Justice Department is pursuing regulations to target so-called “ghost guns.” The rules would require anyone purchasing a kit that can be made into a firearm, including 3-D printing kits, to submit a background check, as applies to gun sales through licensed dealers (FFLs).
Rise in Crime Leads to Rise in Permits
A new report shows applications for concealed carry permits in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, have increased by nearly 600 percent. The average number of license applications each year between 2017 and 2020 was 11,000. In 2021, almost 71,000 Philadelphians applied for their permits to carry a gun. The increase in applications comes at the same time as crime surges. By the end of 2021, Philadelphia recorded 562 homicide victims. That’s up from 356 in 2019.
California Sets Citizens Against Each Other
Though California already holds some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, a mass shooting in Sacramento on April 3, led to lawmakers considering more restrictions. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) proposal would allow citizens to file civil lawsuits against those who distribute “assault” weapons, parts that can be used to build weapons, .50 caliber rifles or firearms without serial numbers.
Federal News Network, California
Alabama Pushes Back on Federal Gun Laws
On April 7, the Alabama legislature gave final approval to Senate Bill (SB) 2, sponsored by Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa). The bill, which would attempt to nullify executive presidential orders on guns, now goes to Gov. Kay Ivey. With concerns about gun control growing amongst responsibly armed Americans, SB 2 would prohibit state employees from enforcing a presidential order that “limits or restricts the ownership, use or possession of firearms, ammunition or firearm accessories.”
Montgomery Advertiser, Alabama
Denver to Ban Concealed Carry in Public
The Denver city attorney’s office proposed a bill making it illegal for legal gun owners to carry concealed guns in public buildings and parks. The proposal is part of Mayor Michael Hancock’s (D) public safety plan introduced in February.
Florida Continues to Ban Gun Sales
After the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the Florida legislature rushed to pass a ban on the sale of rifles and other long guns to people under the age of 18 as part of a sweeping school safety law. The NRA challenged the constitutionality of the age restriction, but Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker upheld the law last year. The NRA has now asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reject Walker’s ruling.
How the Pandemic Affected Gun Sales
According to new survey data from NORC at the University of Chicago, the percentage of U.S. adults living in a household with a gun increased to 46 percent since the start of the pandemic. FBI data show the annual gun sales for 2020 and 2021 increased to 20 million from the average of 13 million sold each year between 2010 to 2019. One in 20 of those purchasers was a first-time gun buyer.
No REGISTRY Rights Act Protects Gun Owners
A bill sponsored by Reps. Tom Rice (SC-7) and Michael Cloud (TX-27), along with more than 40 Republican representatives, aims to have the ATF delete all existing firearm transaction records. Current law only permits federal firearm licensees to delete gun transaction records after 20 years.
Law Enforcement in Favor of Concealed Carry Permits
Ohio, Alabama and Indiana have joined the states allowing constitutional carry. However, law enforcement in several states still urge gun owners to get training and permits. Hamilton County, Ohio, sheriff Charmaine McGuffey said constitutional carry “is not very well thought out for very high populated counties.” She pointed out that having the permit to carry helps to inform officers the individual carrying has had training and a background check. The sheriff in Lincoln, Nebraska, testified against the state’s proposed bill, and the Alabama Sheriffs Association held a press conference detailing its opposition as well.
Regardless of permit requirements in your state, the USCCA encourages gun owners to find proper training.
Bipartisan Support for Firearms Safety in Tennessee
Following the success of a one-year sales tax exemption on gun locks, gun safes and other safety devices, Sen. Sara Kyle (D-30) introduced a bill to make the exemption permanent. The 2021 bill waiving the state’s 7% sales tax and 2.5% local option tax on firearms safety and storage items received bipartisan support. Other states offering tax breaks for safe storage purchases include Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Ohio Constitutional Carry Passes
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed legislation, March 14, allowing concealed carry without a permit. Constitutional carry will go into effect June 12, 2022. With Senate Bill 215 permitting anyone 21 or older to permitless carry, Ohio becomes the 23rd state to allow firearms to be carried in public without a license.
Congress renewed the Violence Against Women Act as part of a government funding package. The 1990s-era law, which lapsed three years ago, protects victims of domestic and sexual violence. Federal law restricts gun sales to individuals convicted of domestic abuse if they are or were married to, live with or have a child with their victim. Congress removed a provision to expand the restrictions to persons previously convicted of misdemeanor stalking.
Illinois Supreme Court Reviewing FOID Law
Law enforcement charged White County resident Vivian Claudine Brown with possession of a firearm without Illinois’ required Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card in March 2017. So the Illinois Supreme Court is being asked for a second time to decide whether the state law is unconstitutional. The court previously declined to answer.
Capitol News, Illinois
The Future Is Now
According to ATF Firearms & Ammunition Technology Chief Earl Griffith, 2022 has already seen an increase in 3D-printed firearms and parts by about 20 percent. It is legal to make such a gun if one is able to possess a gun and the firearm has a metal component in order to be detectable by a metal detector. A report from the Inspector General for the DOJ found the ATF doesn’t have a system in place for keeping tabs on homemade weapons seized from crime scenes.
Sad News for SAPA
The Missouri Supreme Court is hearing arguments to halt a 2021 gun law prohibiting enforcement of some federal firearms restrictions. Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA) in September of last year. The lawsuit argues SAPA hinders local law enforcement.
What Goes Up
In January of 2021, 2.2 million firearms were sold. The first month of this year saw that number drop by 42.6 percent, with less 1.3 million guns sold. This is still an increase over pre-pandemic years, however, according to Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting.
Remington Arms Co., LLC agreed to a $73 million settlement with the parents of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The families and one survivor of the shooting filed a liability claim stating the firearms manufacturer shouldn’t have sold the type of rifle used to kill 20 first-graders and six adults.
City Mandates Gun Storage Ordinance
On February 22, the Mountain View City Council approved an ordinance that addresses how guns must be stored when unattended in homes or vehicles. The ordinance requires all firearms in homes to be stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock. That is unless the gun is being carried by the individual or in close proximity. Firearm owners must store guns in a locked trunk or container while left unattended in vehicles. Violating the ordinance will be considered a misdemeanor when the law goes into effect.
Rising Cost of Gun Ownership
San Jose, California, Mayor Sam Liccardo estimated at a news conference on Monday, January 24, that residents incur approximately $442 million yearly in gun-related costs. The city council voted Tuesday to require gun owners to carry liability insurance, the first measure of this kind in the U.S.
It’s not news that gun sales were up in 2020 and 2021, but some may be surprised to learn where many firearms were sold. Seven U.S. states processed more than 1 million NICS checks during the past year, with Illinois leading the way. California and Washington D.C. were among others.
More Guns at TSA Checkpoints than Previous Years
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), close to 6,000 guns were found in carry-on luggage across the country in 2021. Atlanta, Georgia, topped the list with 507 firearms and a negligent discharge that caused chaos in November. Find a refresher on how to travel via plane with your guns here.
New ATF Rule Coming in February
Earlier this month, the Department of Justice announced a new rule governing secure storage requirements for federal firearms licensees (FFLs). The ATF also published an online best practices guide “designed to assist FFLs in complying with all required firearm laws and regulations […].”
Are Smart Guns Hitting the U.S. Market?
Two companies are testing the reliability of personalized smart guns they hope to have commercially available this year. LodeStar Works revealed a 9mm handgun for shareholders and investors in Idaho, while the Kansas company SmartGunz LLC has law enforcement agents beta testing a similar product.