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10 states with the most lenient gun laws

Published: Monday, April 8 2013 9:37 a.m. MDT

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Brady Campaign score: 2

Kentucky law states that it is lawful to possess, purchase, or sell a machine gun that is legally registered and possessed in compliance with all federal laws and regulations.

State Constitutional Provision: “All men are by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned: ... 7) the right to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state, subject to the power of the general assembly to enact laws to prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons.”
Article 1, Section 1, Paragraph 7.
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eastcoastcoug
Danbury, CT

I just find the gun culture in Utah and the US (e.g. "we want no limits") so distressing on so many levels. Giving everyone, including kids and adults with a wide spectrum of disorders, wide access to firearms, will increasingly lead to more and more violence perpetrated on the rest of us who are not "armed to the teeth". The only argument the gun lobby gives us is that all of us need to be armed and trained on how to defend ourselves. An arms race.

I have been a lifelong Republican but am so turned off by the no-limits gun promoters. Many of you would be appalled at the same argument of "no limits" on marriage, sex and violence in entertainment, or a host of other areas.

LVIS
Salt Lake City, UT

eastcoastcoug--

I am sorry you are distressed.

mightyd
Hurricane, UT

@eastcoastcoug
Giving everyone, including kids and adults with a wide spectrum of disorders, wide access to firearms, will increasingly lead to more and more violence perpetrated on the rest of us who are not "armed to the teeth"

First, so taking the rights away from LAW-ABIDING Americans will then lead to the unstable inability to get guns?
second, then shouldnt we be focusing on the people with disorders, not punishing the LAW-ABIDING americans.
we have ALREADY had all the bans on guns we ever had, and guess what, IT DIDNT STOP MASS KILLINGS, or killing with guns PERIOD, in fact, gun crime went UP.
wake up, qite drinking the kool-aide, lets focus on the real problems, not someones agenda!!!

azreader1
tucson, AZ

One of the reasons I'm grateful to live in Arizona.

eastcoastcoug
Danbury, CT

Will someone explain to me how registering and qualifying gun owners will "take away rights from law-abiding citizens"?

Why do some of you people assume everyone is out to take away your guns with the first hint of some rules about who owns one?

Whoa Nellie
American Fork, UT

Another ranking Utah can be proud of. Seriously. Considering the source of the rankings (Brady whatever campaign) this is a good.

JapanCougar
Apo, AP

Fully agree with eastcoastcoug!

Screening potential gun owners and regulating the sales and ownership of guns does nothing but further protect the law-abiding citizens of our country.

This is similar on many levels to security checkpoints in airports and public buildings. The fact that I am a law-abiding citizen and have no intention to ever commit an act of terrorism doesn't mean I shouldn't have to go through the metal detectors. Walking through a metal detector, like obtaining a gun permit after a background check, doesn't make one a criminal. I, however, certainly feel safer boarding a plane with the knowledge that everyone around me submitted to these checks. Foolproof, no! Sensible, absolutely!

Utah would be wise to regulate its gun ownership.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

Given that we (Utah) people have to have a permit to legally carry concealed, and Arizona residents don't, I understand how we ranked higher than them, but I'm glad to see we rank high.

I and others like me are not the problem when it comes to gun violence. Excuse us if we refuse to give up our gun rights even though those poor children died back east. Taking away my gun rights will not help your cause (all of our cause), even though you have convinced yourself that it will. Not taking away my gun rights does not mean we don't remember those children, it is merely an acknowledgement that law abiding people are not the problem and diminishing their rights will not fix the problem.

JSB
Sugar City, ID

eastcoastcoug: Trying to equate gun ownership with marriage and sex is quite a stretch.

DN Subscriber 2
SLC, UT

Once again we see the media lapping up the press releases from an advocacy group that has a single agenda, and ignores all facts.

The Brady Bunch score ostensibly is "...on the basis of laws that can reduce gun violence..." but fails to consider that their desired laws actually produce no improvement to the level of gun violence. Don't just take my word for it, but the Center for Disease Control (hoping to provide justification for more gun laws) did a study a few years ago and found there was ZERO evidence that any of the numerous gun control schemes so loved by the Brady Bunch actually reduced gun violence.

In fact, some states scoring high for Brady "solutions" are among the most violent in the country.

Utah is one of the safest states in the nation, and the relatively low level of infringement on gun rights here is part of the reason for our safety. Also, many other demographic factors appear to strongly correlate with extremely high levels of violence (not just with guns) in some major metropolitan areas and states.

Ignore the Brady propaganda, it's meaningless.

What in Tucket?
Provo, UT

Homicide rates are half what they were 30 years ago yet we have more guns. There is no evidence strict gun control reduces homicides and a lot of evidence it increases it.

Duckhunter
Highland, UT

@eastcoastcoug

Stay back east then, we like it the way we've got it out here.

Flashback
Kearns, UT

Happy to be #1 in this case. eastcoastcoug, once you figure out a way to put into place a background check database that can be accessed that doesn't invade anyone's privacy and guarantees that it will not be used by the government to confiscate anyone's guns, except criminals and crazy people, then your statement about not violating anyone's rights might work. By the way, you need to remember that the Soviet Union died because of an arms race. So "peace through strength" is a tried tested maxim. You don't have to flaunt the strength, you just have to have it.

I'd rather have a bad guy think I'm armed and not cause me any harm,than to not be armed and be preyed on by one.

The Skeptical Chymist
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

We do need to restrict the right to keep and bear arms so that those who are convicted felons, psychiatrically distressed, or demonstrated hotheads have this right revoked.

As an example, when a domestic abuser is given a restraining order to keep him away from his wife or girlfriend, his right to keep and bear arms should be revoked. Too many women have died because he retained access to guns. In this situation, his guns should be confiscated and he should go on a list that prevents him from getting new ones, from any source - gun shows included.

When a person brandishes a gun recklessly or otherwise demonstrates a lack of sufficient respect for the weapon, he should also lose the right to own it. These things are not toys, even though some seem to think they are.

These rights are not absolute, and should be revokable in cases in which the individual displays reckless behavior.

bw00ds
Tucson, AZ

Thanks, Brady Campaign for letting me know which states in which to live! These will be the states with less crime on all levels.

county mom
Monroe, UT

The Skepitcal Chymist, Utah already has these laws. No one can own a gun if they have a domestic abuse, stalking, or restraining order against them in the state of Utah. If you have been convicted of any felony, or had violent crime charges. You can not just brandish your weapon in any kind of threatening manner without provocation and you must announce you have a concealed weapon if you are threatened. You also can't just shoot up your neighborhood if someone enters your property or is stealing from you. You can only use your weapon for protection of yourself or others in immediate danger or obvious threat. Those are our rules! As far as a rifle only during hunting season or practice well away from homes, businesses and private property, unless designated. They must be unloaded and safety on to transport. See I took hunters safety and concealed carry classes.

The Skeptical Chymist
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@country mom

BRAVO! Thanks for letting me know that these are the laws in Utah. As a person who does not own guns, it is good to know that there are some common-sense laws in Utah.

You've made clear that no one can own a gun if they have been convicted of a felony, been charged with a violent crime, have a restraining order, etc. But what about the other things I mentioned?

Does a person lose their right to own a gun when a gun is brandished with provocation? Do you lose your right to own a gun if you use it on a hunting trip while you're under the influence?

As a person who doesn't know the gun laws in Utah, I've had the impression that it is pretty difficult to lose your right to own a gun in this state. Can you lose the right to own a gun if you leave it within access of young children? I would like to know that people who have shown themselves to be irresponsible do not retain this right.

On the other hand
Riverdale, MD

@DN Subscriber 2, speaking of the CDC, there's an enlightening piece in Salon called "The NRA's war on gun science." Turns out that Republicans, at the behest of NRA lobbyists with deep pockets, have crafted the law in such a way that the CDC's hands are tied when it comes to gun violence research. The current law stipulates that "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control." In other words, if the CDC were to find that the kind of laws the Brady Campaign advocates are working, they'd be legally prohibited from saying so. That kind of prohibition makes any CDC research on this topic completely worthless.

It's no secret that Republicans in recent decades have had an uneasy relationship with science, but rarely have they gone so far as to forbid specific scientific findings. Such enforced dogmatism is un-American, unconscionable, and immoral, particularly given the vital need for clarity on this topic.

Duckhunter
Highland, UT

@on the other hand

I have never read a bigger batch of nonsense in my life.

LOL!

On the other hand
Riverdale, MD

@Duckhunter, any specific claims you'd like to refute? LOL is hardly a scientific argument.

estudiante
GRAND RAPIDS, MI

The reason you don't need permission to defend yourself is because you own yourself. You are not owned by government. You are created by God. You shouldn't have to go to the government to plead "I don't want to be killed if I am attacked." The government has no standing. It's not their place to allow you to live. That's what the Founders understood, but modern America has forgotten.

louie
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Way to go Utah, a real family values State...right? Among other things we have more gun deaths than traffic fatalities.

md
Cache, UT

@eastcoastcoug re: "Why do some of you people assume everyone is out to take away your guns with the first hint of some rules about who owns one?"

It is none of the government's business if I own one or a thousand guns. It is my constitutional right. We assume everyone is out to take our guns because the ruling party in this country IS out to take away our guns. Duh.

md
Cache, UT

@skeptical chymist re: "Does a person lose their right to own a gun when a gun is brandished with provocation? Do you lose your right to own a gun if you use it on a hunting trip while you're under the influence?"

Do people permanently lose their right to car ownership if they drive it while under the influence? NO.

Gun ownership, once again, is a constitutional right. They should only be taken away if we use them to commit a crime.

How about treating mental illness, rather than taking the tool people use for a crime. What's next, knives? Forks? Sharp sticks?

DN Subscriber 2
SLC, UT

@on the other hand

The congressional appropriations limitations on CDC funding of gun research were put in place AFTER their first study when it became obvious they wanted a "re-do" to fiddle with the numbers until they could come up with a different answer.

Regardless, the evidence is clear, gun control laws do not result in less crime, and more legally owned (and carried) guns do not result in more crime. Indeed, Prof. John Lott's studies and others prove convincingly that "more guns less crime" is a valid assessment. Some have argued with Lott's conclusions, but none have been able to show that his methodology or data are flawed in any serious way, so therefore his conclusions must stand.

Ignore the Brady bunch.

Fibonacci
Centerville, UT

EVERYONE (lawful gun owner as well as the anti-gun supporter) wants the illegal shootings to end. In many gun owner's minds they own a personal weapon because they don't believe the government will always be able to protect them or their families from violent mentally ill criminals. The problem as I see it is that instead of dealing with the mental illness issue that has been THE common thread of most, if not all, of the mass shootings that have occurred lately - the anti gun movement is trying desperately to convince everyone that if we make guns less accessible then the mentally ill wont use the gun as their weapon of choice. Instead of focussing on the gun, I say lets focus on mental health. Let's adjust the rules of patient/doctor confidentiality to mandate that health car professionals must report "at risk" patients to law enforcement and then lets give law enforcement some procedures for follow-up like home visits, interviews, safety reviews , including mental hospital referrals. IF YOU WANT TO LIMIT SOMEONE'S RIGHTS, MAYBE WE SHOULD START WITH THE MENTALLY ILL.

Beaver Native
Garland, UT

Look up Gun violence in the United States on Wikipedia and sort the table by Gun Murders per 100,000. You will find that Utah is 7th lowest in gun violence in the Nation, Alaska is in the middle of the pack and Arizona is 12th highest. The chart also lists the Brady score for each state. Looking at the chart as a whole, you will find high Brady scores do not equal low gun murder rates. In fact, there are a few more states with high Brady scores among the states with higher gun murder rates than there are among states with lower gun murder rates. One thing is clear: High Brady scores do not equal low gun murder rates; neither do low Brady scores conclusively equal low gun murder rates. Restrictive gun laws do not appear to correlate to lower gun murder rates.

If we are going to reduce gun murders, our efforts are better put to use by addressing the root of the crime, rather than a tool used in the crime.

Ifel Of'a-sofa
Alpine, Utah

I would be interested in seeing a list that shows states ranked by the least amount of gun violence. I am assuming that many of the same states would also be included.

Beaver Native
Garland, UT

60% of all gun deaths are suicides. There are 64% more deaths by suicide than murder. Comparing suicide rates across the world with gun ownership rate, there appears to be little or no difference. Violent criminals are more likely to die by gun than the normal citizen.

If you take the right to own guns from the mentally ill, those prone to violence would be less likely to get the help they need for fear of being labeled. Mass murders would go up. The deeply mentally disturbed will use homemade bombs to commit mass murders and the suicidal will find other means to take their lives. The answer to reducing gun violence among the mentally disturbed is in ensuring proper treatment.

For the rest of us, the roots of gun violence largely lie the culture in which we live. Changing the culture in the Nation begins with changing the culture in our homes. It begins with what we teach our children and the example we set in being kind and patient with our children, spouses and our fellowmen. It begins with pure love and adherence to correct principles.

jayhawker
kearns, UT

eastcoastcoug. Here is some proposed legistration from Washington state
Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat hailed early Washington overtures toward increased gun control in the state as "common sense," but 14 days later began singing a different tune thanks to a bill that "went too far."

The bill Westneat took issue with was SB 5737, an assault weapons ban introduced by three Seattle Democrats. The bill would ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons that use detachable ammunition magazines and would make clips that contain more than 10 rounds illegal.

However, the bill also included this paragraph: "In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person possessing shall . . . safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection."

"In other words, come into homes without a warrant to poke around. Failure to comply could get you up to a year in jail," Westneat translated. "I have been blasting the NRA for its paranoia in the gun-control debate. But . . . you can't fully blame them, when a cop going door-to-door shows up in legislation."

Westneat spoke with two of the sponsors, Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, and Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle., about the provision. Kline said hadn't read the bill closely before signing on, and didn't know that provision was in there, and Murray said the provision is probably unconstitutional. A Senate Democratic spokesman later said a new bill would be introduced.

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

One more reason why Utah is a national joke.

eastcoastcoug
Danbury, CT

@MD

It is ABSOLUTELY the government's business if you own 1,000 guns. Mine too. I don't want you in my neighborhood. If you are so paranoid that you worry about people (or gov't) taking your guns, you probably should not own one!!

maggiemanifred
portland, OR

for the years 1994-1995, nearly 70,000 Americans were killed by firearms; more than the total of US soldiers killed in the Vietnam War. The 2nd Amendment does not prohibit the regulation of guns.

100%TruePAtriot
cincinnati, OH

The Skeptical Chymist
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

We do need to restrict the right to keep and bear arms so that those who are convicted felons, psychiatrically distressed, or demonstrated hotheads have this right revoked.

As an example, when a domestic abuser is given a restraining order to keep him away from his wife or girlfriend, his right to keep and bear arms should be revoked.

All you have written is in direct opposition to the 2nd amendment.
If there were to be restrictions, they would have been written in at the time of ratification.

Everyone not in jail or mental hospital (adjudicated) has the inalienable god given right to all guns, without checks, permits, etc and carry them where ever they wish, loaded, concealed or not, even in your own vehicle.

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
― Thomas Jefferson, Complete Jefferson

100%TruePAtriot
cincinnati, OH

The current law stipulates that "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control."

Maybe because gun violence is NOT a disease??

You all harp on felons, domestic 'abusers', and mentally ill people.
Here are the facts:
1) felons ARE allowed guns under the 2nd amendment but not the gun control act of 1968 (illegal act too).
2) Domestic abusers have the right to guns because it is an inalienable right.
3) Mentally ill people not in a hospital (adjudicated) ARE allowed guns for self protection just like you are.
4) No court order can abolish an inalienable right.
5) Your rights can be suspended IF you are locked up in jail or hospital (13th amendment), be NEVER revoked. Meaning once out you automatically have your inalienable rights back.

Those that give up freedom for safety deserve neither freedom nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin

100%TruePAtriot
cincinnati, OH

Only those who are uneducated falsely believe that a wide spectrum of disorders will result in more gun violence. There is no direct relationship between mental issues and gun violence.
An indirect relationship exists between *some* people with issues.
The problem is that the dangerous one's aren't kept away from society.

If someone is so bad they shouldn't have their gun rights, then why are they loose upon society? If they are that dangerous, we need to keep them locked up.

If there were any limits on gun ownership, our founding forefathers would have written them in the constitution when it was ratified.

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not.
― Thomas Jefferson, Complete Jefferson

Guns are also there to ensure against tyranny.

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