Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Alaska

Alaska imposes no design safety standards on handguns. However, according to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), Alaska’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate “junk guns,” as well as promulgate other firearm safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. The Alaska Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act, Alaska Stat. § 45.50.471 et seq. (regulations are authorized under Alaska Stat. § 45.50.491). For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in California

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

California law prohibits any person from manufacturing, importing into California for sale, offering for sale, giving or lending an “unsafe handgun.”1 In general, an unsafe handgun is any handgun that lacks an appropriate safety, that does not meet the state’s firing requirement, or that does not meet the state’s drop safety requirement.2 However, handguns sold through private or secondary sales are not required to comply with these requirements.3

California’s handgun firing requirement is a test in which the manufacturer provides three unmodified handguns, of the make and model for which certification is sought, to an independent testing laboratory certified by the Attorney General.4 The laboratory must fire 600 rounds of certain ammunition from each gun, stopping at specified intervals.5 A handgun model passes the test if each of the three test guns:

• Fires the first 20 rounds without a malfunction that is not due to ammunition that fails to detonate;6 and

• Fires the full 600 rounds with no more than six malfunctions that are not due to ammunition that fails to detonate, and without any crack or breakage of an operating part of the handgun that increases the risk of injury to the user.7

Following the handgun firing requirements, the same certified independent testing laboratory must subject the same three handguns to a series of six drop tests each, with a primed case (no powder or projectile) inserted into the chamber.8 The handgun model passes this test if each of the three test guns does not fire the primer.9

The California Department of Justice (“DOJ”) publishes and maintains a roster listing all handguns that have been tested by a certified testing laboratory, determined not to be unsafe handguns, and that may be sold in California.10

An “unsafe handgun” also includes:

• Any center-fire semiautomatic pistol that is not already listed on the roster as of January 1, 2006, and does not have either a chamber load indicator,11 or a magazine disconnect mechanism;12

• Any rimfire semiautomatic pistol that is not already listed on the roster as of January 1, 2006, and does not have a magazine disconnect mechanism, if it has a detachable magazine;13 and

• Any center-fire semiautomatic pistol that is not already listed on the roster as of January 1, 2007, and does not have both a chamber load indicator or, if it has a detachable magazine, a magazine disconnect mechanism.14

Due to a law that became effective January 1, 2010, new models of semiautomatic pistols sold in California are required to have microstamping technology integrated into the pistol design, or the handgun will be deemed an “unsafe handgun.”15 For more information on this groundbreaking technology, see our Microstamping/Ballistic Identification in California section.

Unfortunately, the firearm industry has functionally exploited the grandfathering clauses in much of California’s Unsafe Handgun Act by refusing to introduce new models in California markets that incorporate magazine disconnect mechanisms, chamber load indicators, and microstamping technology.

Notes
  1. Cal. Penal Code § 32000(a). This requirement does not apply to firearms listed as “curios or relics,” as defined in Section 478.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or to the sale or purchase of a handgun by certain peace officers and various state and federal agencies, including police departments, the Department of Justice, and military forces, for use in the discharge of their official duties. Cal. Penal Code § 32000(b). ⤴︎
  2. Cal. Penal Code § 31910. Pistols designed expressly for use in Olympic target shooting events that would normally fall within the definition of “unsafe handgun” under § 31910 are exempt from state handgun testing requirements. Cal. Penal Code § 32105(a)-(b). DOJ is required to maintain a program that exempts any qualifying new models of competitive handguns from state testing requirements and/or assault weapon regulation. Cal. Penal Code § 32105(c). USA Shooting, the national governing body for international shooting competition in the United States, or any other organization that DOJ deems relevant, may recommend handgun models for DOJ evaluation. Id. Furthermore, the state handgun testing requirements do not apply to the sale, loan, or transfer of any semiautomatic pistol that is to be used solely as a prop during the course of a motion picture, television, or video production by an authorized participant in such production while engaged in making that production or event, or by an authorized employee or agent of the entity producing that production or event. Cal. Penal Code § 32110(h). ⤴︎
  3. Cal. Penal Code §§ 27545, 32110(a). ⤴︎
  4. Cal. Penal Code § 31905. For detailed DOJ regulations regarding laboratory certification and handgun testing procedures, see Cal. Code Regs. tit. 11, §§ 4047-4075. ⤴︎
  5. The laboratory must stop after each series of 50 rounds has been fired for five to ten minutes to allow the weapon to cool, stopping after each series of 100 rounds has been fired to tighten any loose screws and clean the gun, and stopping as needed to refill the empty magazine or cylinder to capacity before continuing. Cal. Penal Code § 31905(b)(1). The ammunition used must be of the type recommended by the handgun manufacturer, or if none is recommended, any standard ammunition of the correct caliber in new condition that is commercially available. Cal. Penal Code § 31905(b)(1). ⤴︎
  6. “Malfunction” means a failure to properly feed, fire, or eject a round, or failure of a pistol to accept or reject a manufacturer-approved magazine, or failure of a pistol’s slide to remain open after a manufacturer-approved magazine has been expended. Cal. Penal Code § 31905(c)(1), (e). ⤴︎
  7. Cal. Penal Code § 31905(c)(2). ⤴︎
  8. Cal. Penal Code § 31900. ⤴︎
  9. Cal. Penal Code § 31900(d). ⤴︎
  10. Cal. Penal Code § 32015(a). DOJ may retest up to five percent of handgun models listed on the roster annually. Cal. Penal Code § 32020. Three samples of each handgun model chosen must be retested using ammunition recommended by the manufacturer that is commercially available and in new condition. Cal. Penal Code § 32020(b). The Attorney General must remove from the roster any model that fails retesting. Cal. Penal Code § 32020(d). DOJ also maintains a list of handguns removed from the state roster. ⤴︎
  11. Cal. Penal Code § 31910(b)(4). A “chamber load indicator” is a device that plainly indicates that a cartridge is in the firing chamber. Cal. Penal Code § 16380. A device satisfies this definition if it “is readily visible, has incorporated or adjacent explanatory text or graphics, or both, and is designed and intended to indicate to a reasonably foreseeable adult user of the pistol, without requiring the user to refer to a user’s manual or any other resource other than the pistol itself, whether a cartridge is in the firing chamber.” Id. ⤴︎
  12. A “magazine disconnect mechanism” is a mechanism that prevents a semiautomatic pistol that has a detachable magazine from operating to strike the primer of ammunition in the firing chamber when a detachable magazine is not inserted in the semiautomatic pistol. Cal. Penal Code § 16900. ⤴︎
  13. Cal. Penal Code § 31910(b)(6). ⤴︎
  14. Cal. Penal Code § 31910(b)(5). Pursuant to Cal. Penal Code § 32010, any pistols which do not possess the required chamber load indicator and magazine disconnect mechanism cannot be submitted for testing to be added to DOJ’s roster of handguns available for sale in California. ⤴︎
  15. Cal. Penal Code § 31910(b)(7). ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Florida

Florida imposes no design safety standards on handguns. According to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), Florida’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate “junk guns,” as well as promulgate other firearm safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Fla. Stat. § 501.201 et seq. For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Hawaii

Hawaii prohibits any person, including a licensed manufacturer, licensed importer, or licensed dealer, from possessing, selling, or delivering any handgun if the frame or receiver “is a die casting of zinc alloy which has a melting temperature of less than 800 degrees Fahrenheit.”1 This section does not apply to any handgun registered prior to July 1, 1975, or to any antique handgun.2

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-15(a). ⤴︎
  2. Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 134-15(b). ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Idaho

Idaho does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. However, according to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), Idaho’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate junk guns, as well as promulgate other firearm safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. See the Idaho Consumer Protection Act, Idaho Code Ann. § 48-601 et seq. For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), available at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Illinois

Illinois prohibits any federally licensed firearms dealer, manufacturer, importer, or pawnbroker from manufacturing, selling or delivering to any unlicensed person a handgun having a barrel, slide, frame or receiver which is a die casting of zinc alloy or any other non-homogeneous metal that will melt or deform at a temperature of less than 800 degrees Fahrenheit.1 This prohibition does not apply to private/secondary sales (i.e., transfers by non-firearms dealers).2

In addition to the aforementioned statute regulating junk guns, the Illinois Attorney General may have the authority to regulate junk guns, as well as promulgate other firearms safety standards, pursuant to the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, 815 Ill. Comp. Stat. 505/1 et seq. For further details, view the report “The Illinois Attorney General’s Authority to Promulgate Handgun Safety Regulations Under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act,” prepared by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly “Legal Community Against Violence,” and the Firearms Law Center, in collaboration with Illinois Lawyers of Legal Community Against Violence, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. and the MacArthur Justice Center in 2003.3

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/24-3(A)(h). ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. For general information about the authority of state attorneys general to impose design safety standards on handguns, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Iowa

Iowa does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. However, according to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), Iowa’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate junk guns, as well as promulgate other firearm safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. See the Iowa Consumer Frauds statute, Iowa Code § 714.16. For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), available at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Louisiana

Louisiana does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. However, according to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), Louisiana’s Attorney General may have authority to regulate “junk guns,” as well as promulgate other firearm safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. La. Rev. Stat. § 51:1405. For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Maine

Maine does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. However, according to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), Maine’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate “junk guns,” as well as promulgate other firearm safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act, Me. Stat., 5 §§ 205-A through 214. For details, view the Center’s report, “Targeting Safety.” For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Maryland

Maryland has established a handgun roster that, subject to limited exceptions, lists the only handguns that dealers or any private sellers are allowed to sell in the state.1 A handgun manufactured after January 1, 1985 that is not included on the handgun roster may not be sold or offered for sale.2

The handgun roster is compiled by the Handgun Roster Board (“Board”), an entity of the Maryland Department of State Police (“DSP”) made up of 11 members (the Secretary of the DSP and ten appointees of the Governor who are knowledgeable in the field) who hold terms of four years.3 The Board must consider the following characteristics of a handgun in determining whether it should be placed on the roster: concealability, ballistic accuracy, weight, quality of materials, quality of manufacture, reliability as to safety, caliber, detectability (vis-à-vis airport and courthouse security equipment standards), and utility for legitimate sporting activities, self- protection, or law enforcement uses.4 The Board must “consider carefully” each characteristic, and must not place “undue weight on any one characteristic.”5

The Secretary of the DSP may seek an order from a circuit court to permanently or temporarily enjoin the willful and continuous manufacture, sale, or offer for sale of a handgun that is not included on the handgun roster.6

There is evidence that legislation banning the sale of junk guns directly affects the number of firearm homicides. A 2002 study of Maryland’s junk gun ban found that the ban resulted in an 8.6% decrease in firearm homicides in the state – an average of 40 lives saved per year – between 1990 and 1998.7

Maryland’s Attorney General may also have authority to regulate junk guns and promulgate other firearms safety standards.8

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety §§ 5-404 – 5-406. ⤴︎
  2. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-406(a)(2). ⤴︎
  3. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-404. ⤴︎
  4. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-405. ⤴︎
  5. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-405(b). ⤴︎
  6. Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 5-406(b). ⤴︎
  7. Daniel W. Webster et al., Effects of Maryland’s Law Banning “Saturday Night Special” Handguns on Homicides, 155 Am. J. Epidemiology 406, 409-411 (Mar. 2002). Another study on Maryland’s ban showed that the law reduced the use of prohibited junk guns by criminals in Baltimore, finding that a junk gun prohibited in Maryland was more than twice as likely to be the subject of a law enforcement crime gun trace request in 15 other major U.S. cities combined than in Baltimore. Jon S. Vernick et al., Effects of Maryland’s Law Banning Saturday Night Special Handguns on Crime Guns, 5 Inj. Prevention 259, 261-263 (Dec. 1999). ⤴︎
  8. See the Maryland Consumer Protection Act, Md. Code Ann., Com. Law § 13-201 et seq. For additional details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), available at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Massachusetts

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Massachusetts generally prohibits licensed firearms dealers from transferring any handgun that does not meet detailed safety standards.1 Dealers may sell at retail only “approved firearms” – handguns with a make and model approved for sale by the Secretary of Public Safety (“Secretary”).2 These handguns meet or exceed the testing criteria outlined in Massachusetts law, as determined by independent firearm testing laboratories approved by the Secretary.3 Approved firearms are added to the Massachusetts Approved Firearms Roster (“Roster”). In addition, handguns sold in Massachusetts must meet the design safety standards established by the Attorney General, which are discussed below at the end of the section.

An approved testing laboratory must determine whether a handgun:

  • Has “a frame, barrel, cylinder, slide or breechblock that is composed of: 1) any metal having a melting point of less than 900 degrees Fahrenheit; 2) any metal having an ultimate tensile strength of less than 55,000 pounds per square inch; or 3) any powdered metal having a density of less than 7.5 grams per cubic centimeter.” This requirement does not apply to any make and model of handgun that passes, in new condition, specific firing tests;4
  • Is prone to accidental discharge as measured by drop testing;5
  • Is prone to: 1) firing more than once per pull of the trigger; or 2) exploding during firing;6 and
  • Has a barrel less than three inches in length; however, this restriction does not apply if the dealer discloses to the prospective purchaser in writing, prior to the transaction, the limitations of the accuracy of the particular make and model. To this end, the dealer must disclose the make and model’s average group diameter test result (meaning the average of three tests using three sample firearms, with each firearm firing five rounds at a target from a set distance and measuring and recording the largest spread in inches between the centers of any of the holes made in the test targets) at seven yards, 14 yards and 21 yards.7

These requirements do not apply to: 1) any handgun lawfully owned or possessed under a license issued under Chapter 140 on or before October 21, 1998; or 2) any handgun designated by the Secretary with the advice of the Gun Control Advisory Board as a handgun solely designed and sold for formal target or Olympic shooting competition, with the advice of the state gun control advisory board.8

Any person may petition the Secretary to place a handgun on or remove a handgun from the Roster, but must do so within 90 days of the Secretary’s original decision denying or approving the gun for inclusion on the Roster.9

Massachusetts, through the initiative of its Attorney General, was the first state to utilize statutory powers under the state’s consumer protection laws to implement gun safety regulations. Current gun safety regulations prohibit the sale of handguns made from inferior materials or without certain safety features, require the sale of a handgun to be accompanied with certain safety warnings, and govern the placement of serial numbers on handguns.10 For more information about the Massachusetts regulation governing the placement of serial numbers, see the Trafficking section below.

Notes
  1. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 123 (clauses Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twentieth and Twenty-first). ⤴︎
  2. 501 Mass. Code Regs. 7.02. ⤴︎
  3. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 123 (Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-First); 501 Mass. Code Regs. 7.02. ⤴︎
  4. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 123 (Eighteenth). ⤴︎
  5. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 123 (Nineteenth). ⤴︎
  6. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 123 (Twentieth). ⤴︎
  7. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 123 (Twenty-First). ⤴︎
  8. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 140, § 123. ⤴︎
  9. 501 Mass. Code Regs. 7.06(1). ⤴︎
  10. 940 Mass. Code Regs. 16.03-16.07. For details on the authority of the Massachusetts Attorney General to regulate junk guns, as well as promulgate other firearms safety standards, see the report “Targeting Safety,” by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence). ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Minnesota

Minnesota prohibits federally licensed firearms dealers from selling a “Saturday Night Special Pistol,” and no person may manufacture or assemble a “Saturday Night Special Pistol.”1 The state defines a “Saturday Night Special Pistol” as a handgun “other than an antique firearm or a pistol for which the propelling force is carbon dioxide, air or other vapor, or children’s pop guns or toys, having a frame, barrel, cylinder, slide or breechblock:

• Of any material having a melting point of less than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit;

• Of any material having an ultimate tensile strength of less than 55,000 pounds per square inch; or

• Of any powdered metal having a density of less than 7.5 grams per cubic centimeter.”2

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. Minn. Stat. § 624.716. ⤴︎
  2. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 4. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Missouri

Missouri does not specifically regulate junk guns or otherwise impose design safety standards for handguns. According to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), Missouri’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate “junk guns,” as well as promulgate other firearm safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, Missouri Revised Statutes § 407.010 et seq. For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), available at http://www.bradycampaign.org/sites/default/files/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Montana

Montana does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. However, according to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence), Montana’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate junk guns, as well as promulgate other firearms safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Mont. Code Ann. § 30-14-104(2). For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), available at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Nebraska

Nebraska does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. According to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), Nebraska’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate “junk guns,” as well as promulgate other firearm safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. See Nebraska’s Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 87-303.03(1). For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in New Jersey

New Jersey does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. However, according to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), New Jersey’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate junk guns, as well as promulgate other firearm safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. See the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 56:8-2, 56:8-4.  For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), available at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in New Mexico

New Mexico does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. According to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), New Mexico’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate junk guns, as well as promulgate other firearms safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 57-12-13. For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), available at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in New York

In New York, the Superintendent of State Police (Superintendent) is authorized to issue rules and regulations reasonably necessary to prevent the manufacture and assembly of unsafe handguns, short-barreled shotguns or rifles, and assault weapons.1 Pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Superintendent, a person who is engaged in the business of manufacturing or assembling handguns must obtain a certificate of compliance for each specific handgun model he or she wishes to manufacture or assemble in New York.2  Certificates of compliance are granted subject to a prototype of the handgun passing a series of tests. If the handgun does not perform satisfactorily during the tests, the certificate will be revoked or suspended to allow the manufacturer to remedy the deficiency.3 The prototype must meet requirements based on materials and parts, and safe functioning.4

Material and parts requirements include:

• Basic structural component specifications including melting point and tensile strength;
• An absence of cracks, bulges or splits in or on the barrel, chambers of the cylinder, slide, cylinder-frame and/or receiver after firing;
• The existence of safety devices to prevent firing;
• A specified amount of space between the barrel and cylinder in a revolver after firing; and
• A specified chamber diameter.5

Safe functioning tests include:

• A proof test which includes visual examination of a cartridge after firing to ensure there are no splits or other defects;
• An endurance test consisting of firing 1,000 rounds of ammunition and a test of the safety device after all firing is completed; and
• A drop test, performed a total of five times after the endurance test is complete, to determine whether the safety device will withstand the impact of a weight equal to that of a firearm dropping from a distance of 36 inches.6

In addition, members of the state police must be permitted on any business day, during business hours, to inspect a manufacturer’s premises and records pertaining to the firearms manufactured or assembled within the premises.7 The purpose of such inspections is to ensure that the manufacture and assembly of firearms are being conducted in accordance with the certificate of compliance.8

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.Y. Penal Law § 400.00(12-a). ⤴︎
  2. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, § 482.2. ⤴︎
  3. See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, § 482.3. ⤴︎
  4. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, §§ 482.5 and 482.6. ⤴︎
  5. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, § 482.5. ⤴︎
  6. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, § 482.6. ⤴︎
  7. N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, § 482.4. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Ohio

Ohio has no law imposing design safety standards on handguns.

According to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), Ohio’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate “junk guns,” as well as promulgate other firearm safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, Ohio Rev. Code § 1345.05. For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Oregon

Oregon does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. However, according to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), Oregon’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate junk guns, as well as promulgate other firearms safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. The Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act, Oregon Revised Statutes § 646.608(1)(u), (4). For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. According to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), however, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate junk guns, as well as promulgate other firearms safety standards, pursuant to the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.1 For details, view the Center’s report, Targeting Safety.

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. 73 Pa. Stat. Ann. §§ 201-3, 201-3.1. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Rhode Island

Rhode Island does not specifically regulate junk guns or unsafe firearms. According to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), however, Rhode Island’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate junk guns, as well as promulgate other firearms safety standards.1

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. R.I. Gen. Laws § 6-13.1-1 et seq. For details, view the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence’s report, Targeting Safety. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia has established the District Roster of Handguns Determined Not to Be Unsafe (“District Roster”). The District Roster constitutes those handguns that may be manufactured, sold, given, loaned, exposed for sale, transferred or imported into the District and that may be owned or possessed within the District.1 The District Roster must include any handgun:

  • That is on the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale (“California Roster,” currently the strongest and most detailed of design safety and testing rosters in the nation) as of January 1, 2009, unless the gun is an unregisterable firearm under District law effective March 31, 2009;
  • That was listed on the California Roster prior to January 1, 2009, which was, or is subsequently, removed from the California Roster for any reason not related to the gun’s safety;
  • Listed on the January 1, 2009, Maryland Department of State Police Official Handgun Roster, unless such handgun is an unregisterable firearm under District law effective March 31, 2009; or
  • Listed on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Approved Firearms Roster, as of April 2, 2009, unless such handgun is an unregisterable firearm under District law effective March 31, 2009.2

A handgun will be deemed to be included on the District Roster if another handgun type made by the same manufacturer is already listed and the unlisted handgun differs from the listed type only in one or more of the following features:

  • Finish, including, but not limited to, bluing, chrome-plating, oiling, or engraving;
  • The material from which the grips are made;
  • The shape or texture of the grips, so long as the difference in grip shape or texture does not in any way alter the dimensions, material, linkage, or functioning of the magazine well, the barrel, the chamber, or any of the components of the firing mechanism of the handgun; or
  • Any other purely cosmetic feature that does not in any way alter the dimensions, material, linkage, or functioning of the magazine well, the barrel, the chamber, or any of the components of the firing mechanism of the handgun.3

By statute, the District has codified standards for handguns based on the California Roster that may be lawfully sold or owned in the District. In terms somewhat redundant of the District Roster, a pistol that is not on the California Roster as of January 1, 2009,4 may not be manufactured, sold, given, loaned, exposed for sale, transferred or imported into the District.5

A handgun that is not on the California Roster may not be owned or possessed within the District unless that handgun was lawfully owned and registered prior to January 1, 2009.6 A District resident who owns a handgun lawfully registered prior to January 1, 2009 that is not on the California Roster and who wishes to sell or transfer that gun after January 1, 2009, may do so only by selling or transferring ownership of the handgun to a licensed firearms dealer.7

The District Chief of Police has authority to review any additions to or deletions from the California Roster, and is authorized to revise the District’s roster of handguns determined not to be unsafe and prescribe the guns that are permissible under the exemptions listed pursuant to D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.04(e).8

A licensed firearm dealer who retains in his or her inventory, or who otherwise lawfully acquires, any handgun not on the California Roster may sell, loan, give, trade, or otherwise transfer the firearm only to another licensed gun dealer.9

There are limited exceptions to these rules, including:

  • Pistols designed expressly for use in Olympic target shooting events;
  • Certain single-action revolvers;
  • Transfers of firearms for use solely as a prop during the course of a motion picture, television, or video production by an authorized participant in the course of making that production or event;
  • The temporary transfer of a lawfully-owned and registered firearm for the purposes of cleaning, repair, or servicing of the firearm by a licensed firearm dealer; or
  • The possession of a firearm by a non-resident of the District of Columbia while temporarily traveling through the District.10

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2323.1. ⤴︎
  2. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2323.2. ⤴︎
  3. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 24, § 2323.3. ⤴︎
  4. See Cal. Penal Code §§ 12125-12133. ⤴︎
  5. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.04(a). ⤴︎
  6. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.04(b). ⤴︎
  7. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.04(c). ⤴︎
  8. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.04(f). ⤴︎
  9. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.04(d). ⤴︎
  10. D.C. Code Ann. § 7-2505.04(e). ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Vermont

Vermont has no law imposing design safety standards on handguns.

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

According to research conducted by the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence (now Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence), Vermont’s Attorney General may have the authority to regulate junk guns, as well as to promulgate other firearms safety standards.1

Notes
  1. The Vermont Consumer Fraud Act, Vermont Statutes Annotated title 9, § 2453. For details, see Legal Action Project, Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, Targeting Safety (2001), at http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/targetingsafety.pdf. ⤴︎

Design Safety Standards for Handguns in Virginia

Virginia prohibits the manufacture, importation, sale, transfer or possession of any firearm containing less than 3.7 ounces of electromagnetically detectable metal in the barrel, slide, cylinder, frame or receiver and which, when subjected to inspection by X-ray machines commonly used at airports, does not generate an image that accurately depicts its shape.1

Virginia does not otherwise regulate firearms commonly known as “junk guns” or “Saturday night specials.”

See our Design Safety Standards for Handguns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308.5. ⤴︎