In 2013, state legislators across the country responded to the Newtown tragedy by introducing legislation to strengthen firearms laws. In the first two months of the year, the total number of bills to strengthen firearms restrictions went up 231% compared to the same two-month period in 2012. In contrast, introduction of gun lobby bills increased by only 67% during this time period. The momentum led to crucial changes in the way the states regulate firearms.

Eight states made major changes that strengthened firearms laws. An additional thirteen states enacted laws that strengthened firearms laws in a more minor, but still significant manner.  Overall, 52 new laws were enacted in 21 states to strengthen firearms laws.

Four states strengthened existing assault weapon bans, five added or strengthened existing bans on large capacity ammunition magazines, and five states have added new laws requiring background checks for private sales of firearms. Four states added a requirement that owners report lost or stolen firearms to police, and three enacted laws imposing record-keeping and/or background check requirements for ammunition sales.

The gun lobby successes, though similar in number, were much less substantial. Fifty new laws were enacted in twenty states to weaken firearms laws. Of these, only three made major changes. The majority of the laws expanded areas where guns may be carried in public. Illinois now allows individuals to carry concealed weapons in public with a permit. Seven states enacted laws allowing employees and, in some cases, average citizens, to carry firearms in K–12 schools. Other states made it easier to carry a firearm on a university or college campus, in bars, and in houses of worship. In addition, one state became a “shoot first/stand your ground” state and in another, voters will be asked to decide whether to amend the state constitution to require courts to use strict scrutiny to evaluate firearms laws.

In addition, 22 laws were enacted in 17 states that will have a minimal impact on gun violence. Included in this category are bills that would have a neutral or minimal impact on gun violence prevention if they were enacted. For example, bills declaring that federal firearms laws do not apply to guns manufactured and kept in the state are included in this category because they are unconstitutional and unenforceable. Other bills, such as bills that make concealed carry permit records confidential, are included because they would not significantly impact gun violence prevention if enacted.

Overall, states made great strides toward stronger regulation of firearms. The progress made in 2013 will greatly impact public safety in the states where new laws were enacted and will undoubtedly contribute to the momentum that continues to grow across the country for smart gun laws.

New 2013 Laws that Strengthen Gun Violence Prevention

AL S 133 Strengthens requirements regarding sending mental health records to NICS and requires petition for relief of disability due to mental health issue to be directed to circuit court rather than probate.
CA S 140 Provides funding to the Department of Justice to address the backlog in the Armed Prohibited Persons System.
CA A  48 Bans “conversion kits” that create large capacity ammunition magazines
CA A 170 Prevents corporations, partnerships, and other organizational “persons” from receiving a permit to own an assault weapon.
CA A 231 Expands child access prevention law to cover anytime a weapon is left in a place where a child may gain access to it.
CA A 500 Requires safe storage of firearms for people living with prohibited persons.  Allows DOJ to obtain an additional 30 days to conduct a background check when the ordinary 10 day period is insufficient.
CA A 539 Allows prohibited people to transfer their firearms to a firearms dealer to hold for them until they become eligible to possess a firearm again.
CA A 1131 Extends the prohibition on owning a firearm for persons who have made specific credible threats to a psychotherapist from six months to five years.  Makes reporting of such threats to DOJ electronic.
CA S 363 Holds firearm owners liable for leaving guns where a prohibited person is likely to gain access if such a person does gain access and takes the gun into a public place or harms someone with it.
CA S 683 Requires all gun purchasers to obtain a firearm safety certificate (previously handguns only).
CA S 127 Requires electronic reporting of credible threats against specific people to DOJ.
CO H 1224 Bans sale, transfer and possession of LCAM’s.
CO H 1229 Requires background checks for private sales and mental health reporting to NICS.
CO S 195 Prohibits online training for CCW permit applicants.
CO S 197 Provides mechanisms to help disarm domestic violence perpetrators.
CT H 6702 Strengthens law requiring subjects of restraining orders to surrender firearms.
CT S 1160 Strengthens assault weapon ban, bans LCAMs, creates gun offender registry, requires permit for long guns and ammunition purchase (note CT S 1094 provides amendments).
DC B 888 Expands prohibition on certain types of ammunition.
DE H 35 Requires background checks for private sales of firearms.
DE S 16 Requires any owner of a firearm to report the loss or theft of the firearm within 7 days after the discovery of the loss or theft to either local law enforcement or the state police.
FL H 1355 Expands mental health prohibitions and reporting of records.
HI S 69 Requires all gun registration applicants to be fingerprinted.
IL H 183 Prohibits firearm possession by the subject of an ex parte order of protection (prior law only prohibited possession for an order of protection issued after a hearing).
IL H 1189 Requires private firearms sellers to use the State Police’s dial-up system to verify that the buyer is the holder of a valid FOID card before making a transfer; requires owners of firearms to report loss or theft of firearms.
LA H 717/S135 Strengthens laws requiring reporting of certain prohibited persons to state supreme court and NICS and provides process for relief from disabilities.
MD S 281 Strengthens assault weapon ban, bans LCAMs, provides a mechanism to remove firearms from unstable individuals, regulates ammunition possession, requires a handgun license, requires registration for new residents, and requires lost or stolen firearm reporting
MN S 671 Requires submission of records regarding prohibited persons to NICS.
MS S 2647 Facilitates the reporting of certain information to the FBI solely for the purpose of inclusion in the NICS database and allow prohibited individuals to petition for relief from mental health disability.
ND H 1327 Requires a NICS check to be completed on CCW permit applicants.
NJ A 3687 Disqualifies any person named on the federal Terrorist Watchlist from purchasing a firearm.
NJ A 3717 Requires submission of certain mental health records to NICS.
NY S 2230 Imposes numerous provisions to: strengthen the assault weapons and LCAM bans; provide a mechanism to remove firearms from unstable individuals, close private sale loophole, require lost and stolen reporting, require safe storage and regulate ammunition sales.
RI H 5286/
RI S 455
Makes it unlawful for any person to receive, transport or possess any firearm which has had any maker, model, manufacturer’s number or other mark of identification removed, altered, or obliterated,
RI H 5992/
RI S 862
Creates a Behavioral Health and Firearms Safety Task Force to review, and make recommendations for, statutes relating to firearms and behavioral health issues.
SC H 3560 Strengthens prohibitions on firearm possession by dangerously mentally ill, requires submission of records to NICS and cross-checking of mental health adjudications with CCW permittees for purposes of disarming prohibited persons.
TN S 789 Requires courts to submit mental health adjudication information to NICS.
TX S 1189 Provides that a police officer taking a person into custody because he or she is mentally ill and poses a serious risk of harm to self or others may immediately seize a firearm in the person’s possession. Provides a procedure for return or other disposition of the firearm.
TX H 48 Authorizes an investigation of a CCW license holder to determine his or her continued eligibility for a license and repeals the requirement that a CCW license holder complete a course in continuing education prior to renewing a license.
UT H 50 Allows a court to prohibit the subject of a dating relationship protective order from possessing firearms.
UT H 121 Authorizes a cohabitant who owns a firearm to voluntarily commit the firearm to law enforcement for 60 days if the cohabitant believes another cohabitant is an immediate threat.
WA H 1612 Creates a gun offender registry.
WA S 5282 Creates a statewide database of mental health information, and require the submission of mental health commitment records to the state.


New 2013 Laws that Weaken Gun Violence Prevention

AK H 24 Removes the duty to retreat in any place a person has a right to be.
AL H 8 Proposes an amendment to the right to bear arms provision in the state constitution requiring that any firearms law be subject to strict scrutiny.
AL H 404 Authorizes the formation of volunteer emergency security forces at public schools in the county consisting of current and retired school employees and local citizens.

AL S 286
Removes discretion from CCW permit issuing authorities making AL a “shall issue” state. Clarifies preemption language and allow lawsuits against local governments, amends CCW permit eligibility requirements, expands where CCW permit holders may carry, requires state and local entities to allow storage of firearms on public property, prohibits an employer from inquiring about firearms in vehicles, prohibits a property owner from restricting firearms in parking areas, and repeals the prohibition against the possession of a firearm at a public demonstration.
AL S 383 Authorizes each local board of education to allow persons employed as school security personnel or school resource officers to carry firearms while on duty.
AR S 71 Allows guns in houses of worship if permitted by the head of the house of worship.
AR S 170 Allows a pregnant woman to use deadly force to protect her unborn child, with no duty to retreat unless the pregnant woman knows she can avoid the necessity of using deadly physical force and simultaneously ensure the complete safety of her unborn child.
AR S 858 Provides automatic reciprocity with all other state CCW permits.
AR S 896 Allows guns in K–12 schools run by a house of worship.
AR H 1243 Allows staff and faculty to carry on university, college, or community college campuses.
AR H 1700 Allows guns in bars and other areas.
AR H 2025 Allows CCW permit holders who are employed in a liquor store to possess a firearm in the store.
AZ H 2455 Prohibits destruction of firearm by a government entity as part of a buyback.
ID H 183 Clarifies that local governments may not regulate the carrying of concealed weapons.
IL H 183 Allows carrying concealed handguns in public with a permit.
IN H 1006 Adds knowing and intentional element to crime of an unlicensed person selling a handgun, crimes involving machine guns, and possessing a firearm while boarding an aircraft or while on the grounds of a school or on a school bus.
IN S 1 Allows firearms to be carried at K–12 schools by a person who has been authorized to do so by the school board.
KS H 2052 Allows K–12 schools, universities and community colleges to authorize employees to carry firearms in school buildings; makes CCW records confidential, allows CCW permit holders to carry in any building that does not provide adequate notice, as specified, that firearms are prohibited.
KS H 2162 Prohibits any state government money from being used to publicize “gun control” issues or to fund a grant recipient or contractor for activities related to lobbying on the issue of gun control.
KS S 21 Provides automatic CCW permit reciprocity with all other states.
MI S 60 Exempts all FFL’s (instead of only class 01 FFL’s) from handgun purchase permit requirement.
MO H 533 Prohibits the state from restricting a state employee from having a firearm in the employee’s vehicle on the state’s property provided and imposes restrictions on local gun buyback programs.
MO S 75 Requires that all records regarding firearms possession, ownership or carrying be kept confidential. Requires sheriffs to issue CCW permits (instead of a certificate of qualification for a CCW permit), extends the duration of CCW permits, and requires background checks prior to issuance of CCW permits
MO S 252 Prohibits any state agency or department from constructing, providing or sharing records, maintaining, participating in or developing, or cooperating with the federal government in developing a database or record of the number or type of firearms, ammunition, or firearms accessories that an individual possesses.
MS H 2 Allows carrying a loaded or unloaded weapon in public without a permit if carried upon the person in a sheath, belt holster or shoulder holster that is wholly or partially visible, or carried upon the person in a scabbard or case for carrying the weapon that is wholly or partially visible.
MT H 459 Prohibits medical providers from conditioning provision of medical care on requirement that patients answer questions about gun ownership.
NC H 937 Allows firearms in bars, assemblies, vehicles in state government parking areas and vehicles on educational property (including K–12 and university and college campuses); allows employee who resides on grounds of an institution of higher education to possess a firearm in residence; further restricts local authority to regulate firearms, strengthens law against permitting children to use firearms; requires submission of mental health records to NICS.
ND H 1241 Repeals the prohibition against carrying a firearm in a gaming site (except those primarily used for bingo) and would allow firearms in areas of restaurants that are not restricted by age.
ND H 1283 Allows CCW permit holder to carry in house of worship with permission.
ND H 1327 Expands preemption of local law.
OK H 1243 Amends the CCW permit eligibility requirements so that the preclusive period for certain violations is shortened.
OK H 1622 Allows the carrying of a concealed or unconcealed handgun in a private school or on a private school bus, provided that the school has adopted a policy to allow it and allows firearms at government meetings.
OK S 173 Provides immunity from liability for any person, business, or employer who does not prohibit the carrying of firearms on their property, for any harm resulting from failing to prohibit firearms there and provides for a temporary CCW permit for a victim listed in a domestic violence protection order.
OK S 977 Provides automatic reciprocity for all out-of-state open carry permits.
SD H 1087 Provides that any school board may allow the arming of school employees, hired security personnel, or volunteers, after obtaining the consent of the law enforcement officer who has jurisdiction over the school.
SD S 166 Provides that a concealed carry permit is valid for 5 years, instead of 4 years as under current law.
TN H 6 Allows K–12 school personnel to possess a firearm on school property if the person has a CCW permit and is authorized by the school superintendent.

TN S 142
Allows person with a valid handgun carry permit to transport and store a firearm or firearm ammunition in the permit holder’s privately-owned motor vehicle in any public or private parking area.
TN S 714 Limits the 10-year period that a person must wait between exiting a drug or alcohol program or hospital before being eligible for a handgun carry permit to three years if the applicant entered rehab voluntarily.
TX H 798 Eliminates certain misdemeanors as disqualifying factors for a CCW permit.
TX H 3142 Removes the requirement that CCW permit applicants obtain safety training with the same type of handgun he or she intends to carry.
TX S 864 Weakens handgun safety training requirements for applicants for first-time and renewal CCW permits.
TX S 987 Authorizes the attorney general to bring an action to obtain a temporary or permanent injunction against a local government that adopts a firearms or ammunition regulation.
TX S 1400 Preempts local regulation of air guns.
TX S 1907 Prohibits an institution of higher education from prohibiting a student who is a CCW permit holder from transporting or storing a handgun or ammunition in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle on a street, driveway or parking area located on the campus.
 UT H 28 Specifies that the carrying or possession of a firearm on the campus of a state institution of higher education does not warrant an order to leave the property.
UT H 317 Prohibits the state or a political subdivision from compelling a CCW permit holder to divulge whether he or she has a CCW permit or is carrying a concealed firearm.
WV H 2431 Makes CCW permit holders exempt from background checks, clarifies mental health requirements and makes other changes to CCW permit law.
WV S 369 Provides automatic reciprocity with CCW permits from all other states.
WY H 216 Allows a judge to carry a weapon in his or her courtroom or determine that someone else may carry a weapon in his or her courtroom.


New 2013 Minimal Impact Laws

AK H 69 Amends existing law that seeks to nullify the application of federal firearms law in the state.
AR S 131 Prohibits the release of records related to CCW holders and applicants to the public.
AZ H 2326 Expands prohibition against keeping records of gun possession and purchase.
KS S 81 Makes CCW permit information confidential.
KS S 102 Seeks to nullify federal law.
KY S 150 Removes the six-month residency requirement for CCW permit applicants.
LA H 8 Makes CCW permit records confidential.
LA H 98 Authorizes the sheriff of a parish to issue a concealed handgun permit. The permit would only be valid within the boundaries of the parish, unless the sheriff has entered into a reciprocity agreement with a sheriff of a different parish. Would prohibit the dissemination of personal information of applicants.
LA H 265 Provides for the issuance of a lifetime concealed handgun permit.
LA H 277 Repeals state machine gun regulations and refers instead to federal law regulating machine guns.
ME H 250 Makes CCW permit records confidential.
MN H 5 Provides that the state health benefit exchange may not collect information that indicates whether or not an individual owns a gun or has a firearm in the individual’s home.
MS H 485 Makes CCW permit records confidential.
MT S 145 Makes information about CCW permit holders confidential.
NJ A 3788 Makes CCW permit records confidential.
NV S 76 Removes the distinction currently made on CCW permits between revolvers and semi-automatics and instead provides that a CCW permit applies to all handguns.
SD S 227 Allows firearms to be carried on a snowmobile by any CCW permit holder on his or her own land.
TN H 9 Makes CCW permit records confidential.
TX H 2407 Provides that a person whose guardianship has been terminated may petition for restoration of his or her firearm rights.
TX H 1349 Provides that a CCW permit applicant may not be required to provide his/her social security number as part of an application.
UT S 80 Provides a system to allow individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms for mental health reasons to petition for relief from the disability.
VA S 1335 Makes CCW permit records confidential.