Gun laws, regulations vary greatly throughout U.S.

Editor’s note: This is the second part of a multi-part installment on gun control in Idaho.

COEUR d’ALENE — A recent study suggests U.S. states with the most firearm-related legislation are also the states with the lowest rates of firearm deaths.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, states with the most firearm safety regulations had a 42-percent lower gun death rate than states with the least number of laws.

The lower death rate applied to both homicides and suicides.

The study also scored the strength of each state’s firearm legislation in those years.

A state’s score was based on how many of its gun laws fell into five safety categories of intended effect: curbing firearm trafficking; strengthening background checks; ensuring child safety; banning military style assault weapons; and restricting guns in public places. The study tied Idaho with Arizona for the third weakest firearm laws in the nation.

But how does the Gem state compare  to the rest of the country?

Well, in some states it’s considerably harder, and in others it’s even easier, to obtain and use firearms.

Here are a few laws in several states that go above, or below, Idaho’s level of regulation:

• Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey: Require permits to purchase firearms:

• Hawaii and Massachusetts: Allow the purchase of only one handgun per permit. Safety exam or training required to obtain a permit.

• Hawaii: Registration required for all firearms. Background checks required for transfer of firearms.

• New Jersey: Police record of all handgun transfers required.

• Vermont: Only state with no law prohibiting certain categories of people (i.e. felons, illegal residents) from possessing firearms. No permit required for concealed or open carry.

• California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island: Trigger locking devices required on some or all firearms

• California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York: Assault weapons ban.

• Connecticut: Requires firearms to be stored in a locked box or safe, if the owner knows they would be accessible to anyone under 16.  

• Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Texas: Impose criminal liability for allowing a child to gain access to the firearm

• California, Hawaii, Massachusetts: Impose criminal liability for negligent storage of unloaded firearms

• Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico, Virginia and Vermont: Only states that don’t have a Stand Your Ground or Castle Doctrine on their books (Virginia does have common law versions of both). The Castle Doctrine allows people to use deadly force in their homes against an intruder. Stand Your Ground allows deadly force to be used in self-defense in public places.

• Alaska: No permit required to carry firearms. No background check required for transfer of a firearm between private, unlicensed parties.

Several websites outline basic gun laws across the states: www.smartgunlaws.org, www.USAcarry.com, and www.homesecurity.org/blog/guns-in-america-how-to-buy-sell-shoot-in-every-state/

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