Nations Gun Laws Vary Widely from State to State

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON Military-style assault weapons, gangster-style Tommy guns, World War II-era bazookas and even sawed-off shotguns somewhere in the U.S., there is a legal avenue to get each of those firearms and more.

This is thanks to the maze of gun statutes around the country and relatively few federal standards to raise the bar for gun control in states with fewer laws.

An Associated Press analysis found that there are thousands of laws, rules and regulations at the local, county, state and federal levels. The laws and rules vary by state, and even within states, according to a 2011 compilation of state gun laws by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

These laws and regulations govern who can carry a firearm, what kind of firearm is legal, the size of ammunition magazines and more. In some places, a person can buy as many guns as desired.

Critics say this maze of laws undermines gun-control efforts in communities with tougher gun laws and pushes advocates of tighter controls to seek a federal standard. Gun rights proponents say enforcing all existing laws makes more sense than passing new ones.

If you regulate something on the local or state level, you are still a victim to guns coming into other localities or states, said Laura Cutilletta, a senior staff attorney at the California-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. …