By Kyle Beck, Trending Writer
The legality of owning and maintaining various types of firearms in the United States is a variable, hotly contested environment, especially considering recent tragedies. Seemingly everyone has a strong stance on what gun laws should or should not be.
In the United States, gun laws vary wildly by state. The legislative variables include, but are not limited to, whether one needs a permit or license to purchase or maintain a firearm, how one obtains those qualifications, the process of registering a firearm, the types of weapons allowed, and whether guns of any kind can be carried or otherwise kept on your person.
New Jersey, for example, has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. The Brady Campaign project (named after James Brady, who was permanently disabled after the assassination attempt of Ronald Reagan) measures how heavily states regulate legal gun possession and how hard they crack down on illegal firearm possession or use. In the most recent available report, New Jersey scored as the fourth-toughest state in the country in terms of firearm restrictions. In New Jersey, per the NRA, state law requires a permit, a license, and a separate permit to carry. In addition, rifles must be registered and police logs keep record of all handgun transactions in the state.
On the other hand, Nevada, where the October shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas left 58 dead (the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history), and Florida, where this month’s Parkland high school shooting occurred, ranked among the ten states with the most relaxed gun laws, per the Brady Report. In Nevada, for example, neither a permit nor a registration is required to buy most firearms and there is no limit to the quantity of weapons a person can own. The Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, owned several dozen weapons, many of them assault rifles, and in Nevada, doing so is perfectly legal.
There is currently no conclusive evidence to suggest that lax firearm laws lead to more shooting deaths in a given state or area. In some places, this is the case, but in other places, like the Detroit and Chicago metro areas, strict gun laws have not lowered the high levels of local gun violence at all. Regardless of political bias or personal view, firearms legislation has become a hot topic in American politics and it is always best to be informed while discussing any legal issue. Guns are no different.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 27th print edition.
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