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A Gun Extremist on SCOTUS Puts Nearly Every Gun Safety Law at Risk

10.7.2020

With Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the court now open, the NRA and its allies see a chance to stack the court with a pivotal additional vote against the overwhelmingly popular, evidence-based gun safety laws that the gun lobby has failed to stop in legislatures across the county. A new Supreme Court majority could conceivably change the standard of review in Second Amendment cases, a development that could put nearly every gun law at risk. This extreme approach could call into question newer gun laws like prohibitions on the possession of firearms by domestic abusers and Extreme Risk laws, also known as red flag laws. The standard advocated for by the gun lobby also would make it significantly easier to attack wide swaths of popular and effective gun laws, including laws requiring background checks on all gun sales and permits for concealed carry.

Not only are bedrock federal gun laws at risk, but so are the core gun laws that have been passed by nearly every state in the country. The below chart shows the states with four critical types of gun laws:  (1) background checks on all handgun sales, (2) Extreme Risk, or red flag, laws, (3) laws that disarm domestic abusers, and (4) laws requiring a person to obtain a permit to carry a concealed, loaded handgun in public. More information on state gun laws can be found at the Gun Law Navigator, which is the largest historical database of modern U.S. gun laws, drawing on a survey of state gun laws dating back to 1991.

 Background checks
for all handgun sales
Extreme Risk
(or red flag) laws
Disarms domestic
abusers*
Require a permit
for concealed carry
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
DC
Totals22 +DC19 +DC35 +DC35 +DC

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