Maze of U.S. Gun Rules Undermine Controls In Places With Tough Laws


Somewhere in the U.S., there is a legal avenue to get military-style assault weapons, gangster-style Tommy guns, World War II-era bazookas, and sawed-off shotguns, reports the Associated Press, thanks to a maze of gun statutes and the lack of a minimum federal standard to raise the bar for gun control in states with weak laws. An AP analysis found 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 by the federal 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. The 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 of the California-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

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