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State Firearm Laws to Know to Stay Compliant

Written by Orchid


November 23, 2022


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Across the country, firearms are often regulated greater at the state or local level. However, for FFLs doing business in multiple states, keeping track of the ever-changing regulatory landscape can be a challenge, especially as newly elected officials attempt to undo or overrule previous legislation.

Whether firearm retailer, distributor or manufacturer, below are four areas of state-level restrictions you should know to stay compliant and keep your operations running violation-free.

State Firearm Restrictions

Magazine Capacity
Twelve states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws banning large capacity ammunition magazines: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Three of these states (DE, RI, WA) passed restrictive legislation just this year.

Though 10 rounds is the general consensus among restrictive states, Colorado (15 rounds), Delaware (17 rounds) and Vermont (15 rounds for handguns) are outliers. Some states ban all acts of manufacturing, distributing, selling, possession and transfer of “high capacity” magazines, while others only ban consumer possession or transfer. Hawaii is also the only state whose restriction is limited to handguns.

Assault Weapons
Like magazine capacity, nearly all the same states also restrict “assault weapons,” typically defined as semi-automatic rifles capable of accepting large capacity magazines and sporting additional features.

California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, as well as the District of Columbia, have laws that generally ban the sale, manufacture and transfer of assault weapons. Uniquely, Hawaii’s assault weapons ban only applies to semi-automatic handguns.

Minnesota, Virginia and Washington also regulate such weapons, though only go so far as to limit how old an individual must be to purchase or possess assault weapons, and/or where they can be legally carried. Specific counties or cities may also prohibit assault weapons, such as Cook County, Illinois and Boulder, Colorado ­– though the latter has recently gone back and forth in the courts.

Currently, it is legal to own and possess suppressors in 42 states, not including California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. Suppressors are also legal for hunting purposes in 41 states, prohibited in the previously mentioned states plus Connecticut, which is the only state where one can own, but not hunt with a suppressor.

Vermont is the most recent state to legalize suppressor hunting, with the American Suppressor Association and other industry lobbyists pushing legislation to expand gun owner rights to all 50 states and U.S. territories.

Minimum Age
While federal law prohibits licensed dealers from selling long guns to persons under 18 of age and handguns to persons under 21, some states have enacted laws to further restrict when an individual can purchase or possess firearms.

In California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, residents under 21 are prohibited from purchasing long guns, with those in Washington only prohibited from purchasing semi-automatic rifles. However, it’s worth noting the age to possess long guns is still often 18 in these states.

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State Restrictions Made Easy

With ATF inspections and license revocations on the rise, compliance has never been more critical. At Orchid, we not only understand the risk FFLs face, but have also developed software that is designed to help firearms business stay compliant.

Available as a cloud-based application or API-driven integration, Orchid eState™ is that tool. Feeding state firearm restriction data directly into your point of sale (POS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, or ecommerce website by ZIP code, firearm characteristic, or product UPC, eState offers automatic, on-demand and up-to-date state restrictions like those covered in this article.

Simply select the applicable location, product type, and related attributes to quickly view applicable restrictions before initiating a sale or processing an order. Stop managing compliance on your own and contact us today to learn how Orchid eState™ can better protect your FFL.

Orchid eState Protection