An alphabetical speed-load of state-by-state gun facts

  • Mike Shipley of the Phoenix Pink Pistols during the group's monthly gathering for target practice at Shooter's World. The group's slogan: Armed Gays Don't Get Bashed

  • Ferruginous hawk chicks on a nest at Idaho's Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. When the BLM tried to reduce the area of the reserve open to rifles and pistols last winter, a congressman and Idaho Gov. Butch Otter stepped in

  • National marksmanship champion Beverly Spungin works with the group Wyoming State Shooting Association to lobby the Legislature for gunowners' rights


(Note: This article is a sidebar to the feature Guns R Us)


Generally, by state law, you're not allowed to carry a gun into a nuclear plant or hydroelectric dam area, or into a polling place on Election Day, or into any other "public establishment" where the host specifically bans guns, or into any establishment that serves booze. That last prohibition drew the ire of the 2005 Legislature, which passed a bill to allow people to "carry" in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, but Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed it, with the support of the tavern owners. Other than that, Arizona is pretty loose with its gun regulations. If your town wants to pass tougher regs than the state has adopted, generally the state won't allow it. More than 89,000 Arizonans have permits to carry concealed guns (one in every 45 people age 21 or older). The Pink Pistols, a national group with the slogan "Armed Gays Don't Get Bashed," has a Phoenix chapter whose members include a lesbian gunsmith and a gay retired cop. "We're not here to get into gun battles with straight people," says the chapter's founder, Mike Shipley, who was attacked by two guys with baseball bats while walking at night a few years ago. Besides, he says, self-defense is only part of the appeal of guns. "It's a sport," says Shipley, who designs Web sites for a living, "and there's a political angle. Gay people are traditionally on the left, the gun-control side. I'm active in liberal causes, and (many gays and liberals) look at me like I'm crazy when I mention I'm doing this. But I want to get people on the left and on the right to think. We actually get a friendlier reaction from gun people. If you have a gun and you know how to use it, they're cool with you."


In 1993, an angry client carried two rapid-fire Tec-DC9 assault pistols into a San Francisco law firm and opened fire, killing nine people and himself. That massacre inspired local lawyers to form a national gun-control group, Legal Community Against Violence. The LCAV helped push Congress to ban assault weapons in 1994 (but Congress let the ban expire in 2004). The group also favors suing gun-makers as liable for shootings (although Congress squashed that with an immunity law in 2005), and it has pushed California to be among the toughest gun-regulators in all 50 states. The state has closed the unlicensed-seller loophole almost completely, requiring that most guns sales be done through licensed dealers who do background checks. Assault weapons are banned, you can't openly carry any kind of gun, and you have to go through a 10-day waiting period to buy a gun. All the regulations slow sales. "It takes 20 or 30 minutes just to do the paperwork," says Chuck Michel, the state's leading gun-rights lawyer. It's more difficult to get a concealed-weapons permit in California than in most other states, but even so, amid terrorist anxiety, there's been a surge in applications; today, more than 40,000 Californians have permits. County sheriffs decide who can get the permits, and rural sheriffs tend to be particularly pro-gun. In Modoc County, in the state's far northeast corner, one in 29 residents had a concealed-gun permit in 2004, according to the Los Angeles Times.

That was tops in the state for per capita concealed guns, and possibly tops nationwide. In the gun-control bastion of San Francisco, 58 percent of the voters approved a 2005 ballot measure banning all gun sales and requiring people to surrender handguns. Gun-rights advocates subsequently persuaded the state Supreme Court that the law violated the state Constitution.


After the 15 deaths in the 1999 Columbine High School shootings, voters approved a 2000 ballot measure requiring background checks on customers at gun shows. (One of the killers had bought a gun at such a show.) But unlicensed sellers who work through classified ads and other methods still don't have to do background checks. Beginning in 2003, the Legislature passed laws strengthening gun rights, making it easier to carry guns into many public buildings and get permits for concealed weapons, and harder for lawmen to get the records of gun purchases. The Lege has also limited the power of local governments. The city of Denver wanted to be tougher on guns in some ways than the state, so it sued; the state Supreme Court deadlocked in 2006, allowing some of Denver's stricter regs to stand. About 33,000 Coloradans have permits to carry concealed guns (about one of every 100 people age 21 or older). Most Colorado universities ban guns, but Colorado State University in Fort Collins allows people with permits to carry concealed guns in classrooms and on much of the rest of the campus. Mostly the state is pro-gun, says Dave Kopel, a lawyer at a prominent gun-rights libertarian think tank, the Independence Institute, which is based in a Denver suburb. For instance, Kopel points out, "In Colorado, you can carry a loaded handgun in your car, say, in your glove compartment, for lawful protection, without having to get a permit. In Utah, you would need a permit."


State law specifically warns that if you're out hunting, and you accidentally shoot someone, and then you flee, you can lose your hunting license. Other than that, Idaho is about as loose as it gets, guns-wise. Not only are local governments prevented from having tougher regs than the state has, one tiny town west of Boise, Greenleaf, passed a 2006 ordinance recommending that every household in town have a gun and ammo — unless the household has religious objections. About 12,800 people have permits to carry concealed guns in Idaho, and they can be as young as 18. This spring, the federal Bureau of Land Management tried to declare additional turf in the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area off-limits to public shooters, because some are not only endangering the birds, they're also hitting cattle and the Idaho National Guard tanks that use the area for practice maneuvers. But Idaho's new congressman, Bill Sali, and Gov. Butch Otter weighed in for gun rights, and the BLM backed off, leaving the status quo. (That is: You can still shoot on 86 percent of the conservation area's 490,000 acres.)


Generally, guns are banned in government buildings, banks and railroad trains. Other than that, Montana is among the gun-friendliest of all 50 states. You can get a permit to carry a concealed gun at age 18, and more than 14,600 Montanans have done so (one of every 50 people above age 18). In fact, you don't even need a permit to have a hidden weapon if you're outside town limits or at your place of business. State law generally prevents local governments from having tougher regs, and state law is anything but tough. (For instance, "lead, copper, or brass deposits directly resulting from shooting activities at a shooting range" are not subject to local anti-littering ordinances.) Montana State University is a gun-control gray area: It bans handguns, while allowing hunting rifles to be (1) kept in locked storage rooms in some dorms and (2) kept anywhere in on-campus family and graduate-student housing. In this year's Legislature, the House passed a bill allowing anyone in Montana to manufacture guns without a federal gun-manufacturing license, seeking to test federal authority. (The Senate declined to follow suit.) Gary Marbut, head of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, estimates that at least 90 percent of Montana homes have guns and the average gun household has 27. "We tend to accumulate guns in families in Montana" over generations, Marbut says. (Liberal gun owners sampled for comment think Marbut exaggerates the per-household average but is probably accurate on the percentage of households that own a gun.)

Aug 07, 2007 11:08 AM

"rapid-fire Tec-DC9 assault pistols"?

 The Tec-DC9 is NOT an assault pistol because there is no such thing as an assault pistol.  The name is simply an invented term intended to convey special powers to a firearm that simply do not exist.  The gun fires no more rapidly than any other semi-automatic pistol.  Like EVERY other semi-sutomatic pistol the Tec-DC9 fires ONLY one bullet for each pull of the trigger, and it fires the same 9mm ammunition as police and civilian pistols, only not as accurately or reliably as a quality pistol.

While the Tec-DC9 may look scary it is functionally a standard, semi-automatic 9mm pistol with no special powers and no capabilities beyond that of a more conventional looking pistol.

Aug 07, 2007 02:18 PM

Hey there, Anonymous---assault me with one of those and I'll call it whatever I damned well please!

Aug 08, 2007 11:51 AM

Hey rjlaybourn -- Wow, now there's an intelligent comment.  I think what you were trying to say was, "People on my side of the issue don't actually have to know what they are talking about."  And while it is true that you can call it whatever you please, it just ends up making you look ignorant.

Also, as violent and threatening as anonymous' comment was, I don't think that he was directing any of that rage toward you.  I could be wrong, but I don't think he actually plans on assaulting you.

Aug 08, 2007 04:24 PM

Reacting to the comment that says the Tec DC9 pistol is no more dangerous than any other semi-auto gun: I think one of the main differences is, how many bullets can be packed and fired from a single clip or magazine? The marketplace offers clips of up to 50 bullets for the DC9, so the shooter can get off that many shots before having to pause and switch clips or reload. That makes the DC9 more dangerous than the average pistol or rifle, and qualifies it as an "assault" weapon in many people's thinking. -- Ray Ring

Aug 10, 2007 10:48 AM

Ray, many pistols, including your average Glock, can accept magazines that can hold up to (or more than) 50 rounds.  As with the Tec-9, you can put as long a magazine as you can find (or manufacture) into them.

Regardless, most recent shootings have involved situations where the shooter reloaded multiple times.  The number of rounds in a magazine doesn't really matter in the end, as anyone with training can change out a magazine in a very very short time.  6 rounds, 10 rounds, or 50 rounds, pistols all can do the same amount of damage in pretty much the same amount of time as all publicly available pistols are still one pull of the trigger = one round down range.  Heck, the speed shooting record with a handgun is held by a gentleman who did it with a 5-shot revolver - not even a semi-auto pistol.

Ultimately, the Tec-9 pistol is no more or less dangerous than any other firearm on the market.  It just looks more scary. Banning one pistol over another just because it looks more scary really doesn't make any sense - we may as well ban yellow assault-sportscars that have spoilers because their color and wing obviously makes them faster and they're made to be driven more recklessly than "regular" colored cars without spoilers.


- Garry - Texas 

Aug 10, 2007 10:49 AM

I have yet to see a Tech-9 that would fire a full magazine without jamming, & wow the company has been out of business for over 10 years

Aug 10, 2007 10:59 AM


LIBs...  U GOTTA LOVE 'EM.  MOST CREATIVE PEOPLE ALIVE. They can scare themselves!!

Aug 10, 2007 11:00 AM


Regarding magazine capaity and lethality:  A magazine swap takes less than a second.  Reaching for a backup gun takes less than that.  A shorter, lighter magazine makes a handgun faster to point and manipulate.  For most assaults against unarmed or disarmed victims, magazine capacity confers no particular advantage for an assailant.  In fact large extended capacity magazines are prone to malfunctions because of spring tension and cartridge allignment variations along the cartridge stack.  Infantry commonly don't top off M16 magazines for that reason.  The only reliable large capacity magazine is for a belt fed design.

For comparison a pump shotgun with a 5 round tubular maagazine can easily be topped off between shots and conveys much more muzzle energy and terminal lethality.  The San Ysidro McDonald's mass murderer didn't kill a single person with a 9mm Uzi carbine or 9mm handgun, but those shot with his 12 gauge didn't survivie.  I'd much rather a crazy idiot be armed with a piece of crap,wimpy, unergonomic 9mm Tec-9 than a formidable and common shotgun.

The skill and intent of the shooter matter much more than the choice of tool.  Most significantly, any delay in an immediate armed response is what leads to large body counts.  A skilled Marine sniper in the Texas Tower incident resulted in fewer deaths than Cho's fish-in-a-barrel VTech rampage, largely because civilians and cops engaged immediately.  The current policy of disarmament and containment only protects the clean up crew.  

Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.
Aug 10, 2007 11:05 AM

the dc-9 is a POS that may malfunction when needed most. Assault pistol ?  or scrap metal?

Aug 10, 2007 11:08 AM

The Tec DC9 pistol does not use "clips". It uses a magazine. A magazine holds cartridges not "bullets". A bullet is one of four components of a cartridge. A cartridge consists of a case, primer, powder, and a bullet.  Clips are used to reload a magazine(see M14). When journalists use incorrect firearms terminology it just makes them look ignorant of their subject.

Aug 10, 2007 02:27 PM

how pathetic. a LIEberal attempt to appear "pro gun". well, it completely failed. i don't think ray ring could write a non biased story that is not so obviously anti gun slated if he wanted to. again, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn. mission failed...

Aug 13, 2007 11:40 AM

for Anonymous

The M1 Garand is loaded with clips; the M14 takes magazines.  If you're going to criticize, at least proofread your comments before you make an incorrect (or misleading, since I understand about stripper cliips) statement.  The libs will excoriate you for your (perceived) factual errors, while ignoring the actual point you were trying to make.

Keep up the good work, brother!

Aug 13, 2007 11:59 AM

I'm still scratching my head a bit here on this writer's slant, but I think I have figured it out. If you look at the sources, you will find the answers.  Mr. Ring's article just echoes views of groups all battling each other, and contains no actual hands on experience. We gun enthusiasts have to remember that it's our responsibility to educate non-gunners. Mr Ring appears to be paying attention and responding to the comments here, so let's all pitch in intelligently without coming off like nuts. I challenge both the readers and writer to "bring it on". 

Aug 14, 2007 01:22 PM

Thanks, this discussion of clips/magazines has many interesting details. -- Ray Ring

Aug 22, 2007 06:49 PM

A fine article.  But in many of these cases, we see examples of guns being blamed for things that people did, and the laws are reflections of these misperceptions. 

A disgruntled client in CA shoots up a law firm -- don't blame the disgruntled client, blame the TEC-9.  Next step?  Ban all "assault weapons", a made-up term for "guns that look military and scary".  The result of that ban was absolutely zero.  No crime was prevented whatsoever.

We've all heard Columbine's story a hundred different ways -- but the end result is always the same.  The poor, poor boys...and those evil, evil guns.  The guns made them do it -- make tougher gun laws! If laws made places safe from evil people with weapons, we would live in a utopia...but we do not.

The first cry after Virginia Tech was the same: tougher gun laws.  For the most part, it was ignored, but not entirely.  A lot of people still blame the guns, not the man.  Now we have a law pending approval that some call gun control, others do not, that may rob thousands of Americans of their rights, and may be misused to rob thousands more of theirs -- worst case scenario: get prescribed Prozac, no guns for you!

Once again, we see the essential dichotomy:  the willingness of some to be responsible for their actions, and the unwillingness of others to admit that while a weapon may be formidable, it is the wielder that may or may not be dangerous

Put simply, weapons are not dangerous.  To be dangerous, something must cause or threaten harm.  Weapons do not do either -- they are instruments by which a human being causes or threatens harm.   But weapons are perceived as powerful, and can instill fear.  Hence, they are intrinsically formidable.  But the danger lies solely in the mind and heart of the human who wields it, and nowhere else.

There are those who simply refuse to acknowledge that it is by the will of evil persons that evil acts are performed, and that their tools are fundamentally irrelevant, that the responsibility must lie solely upon the persons who committed the act.  Instead, they seek to project their own failings upon the mindless tools, to absolve themselves of any wrongdoing, past or potential, and blame the weapon.  They vilify the tool so thoroughly that it becomes difficult to justify its use for good deeds.

NO tool is intrinsically evil.  No poison, no drug, no weapon, is of itself vile and beyond proper use.  It is only the hearts of men that suffer from this particular dichotomy -- that they must choose.

Gwen Patton

Pink Pistols

International Media Spokesperson


guns don't kill people ? yes they do!
Guns Kill People as well as people kill people
Guns Kill People as well as people kill people
May 18, 2009 06:31 AM
This constant refrain "it's the person who kills, not the gun, don't blame the gun" is pure delusion. The easy availability of a weapon capable of killing people from 100 meters away with no risk to the user is a temptation too strong for someone upset and sad who feels life has little to offer.The gun is the tool of choice of the coward. I means you can kill with no risk to yourself without looking in the persons eyes. Also the huge numbers of average people owning guns means they will always be available to the criminal community, by theft or by loss. If the ownership of a gun is so safe and the blame for this weeks killings are the fault of the owner, then why not issue everyone nerve gas or nuclear weapons? It's part of the second ammendment yes ? The right to bear arms? Well I want sarin nerve gas as a personal defense tool. In case I am attacked by 100,000 people I need the tools to defend myself. It's my right as written on a bit of paper hundreds of years ago about something completely different. Everyone should be given sarin nerve gas on their 18th birthday, but wait why so old? Give them nerve gas bombs at 12 years old. It's not the gas thats evil it's the person lol. retards.
RE: Guns don't kill people?
L Williams
L Williams
May 20, 2009 02:03 PM
     You say that a gun can "Kill from 100 meters without risk to the user"? I regret to shatter your illusion, but if you are killing someone at 100 meters you have a pretty decent rifle and a steady hand. This equipment is rarely the choice of someone who is going to be out shooting the place up. It stands to reason that you are quite unaware of a guns limitations. You fit the bill of a gun-ban activist who thinks that guns are just going to run around killing people if the government doesn't step in and save us from these heinous metal monsters.
     A person could also kill someone by throwing a knife. With practice this is effective to about the same range that most people could use a pistol. Next move ban knives? What about rocks and a slingshot? This simple weapon reportedly killed a giant in one shot. Maybe cars as well? Lots of people also fall off of cliffs... maybe rock climbing could be banned. It is only for our good. And then lets move on to all of the other ways that people can hurt themselves. Soon we will be in a padded cage. (This paragraph is on about the same level of intelligence as your sarin gas argument)
     The reason we don't distribute sarin gas is because of it's mass killing abilities. A person with a gun is limited to a maximum of one kill per shot barring any freak double shots. This is assuming that the man is either very close to his targets, an amazing shot, or both. If a person goes about shooting in a public place where there are at least a few people concealing weapons, he gets about the time that it takes to shoot one person or maybe two before he is himself shot. This is in stark contrast to 32 people dead and more wounded if there are no guns allowed. Or in your ridiculously off topic mention of nerve gas, thousands dead.
     So far we have seen that most of the killings were done with guns that were illegally acquired, so we know that someone is going to be able to get a gun if they plan on doing some killing. Banning guns altogether won't work either. Don't try to trick yourself into thinking that contraband won't get in. I bet that with your ideology you have a weed dealer... how does that get to you? It is illegal you know! And since they can get guns, we have seen what percentage of the population is likely to start shooting up the place. The rest of us are not particularly keen on shooting up the place just because of some cry-baby emo shit like depression. We perfectly happy just knowing that if someone starts shooting, we can return the favor. It is also comforting to know that if you are a victim of assault you can do a little better than induced vomiting. This is what the city of Chicago recommends for fending off rapists!! I will keep my guns thank you very much. I would prefer the role of criminal to the role of victim. I would be much happier not to take either side though.
     When you say about the Constitution of the United States of America "It's my right as written on a bit of paper hundreds of years ago about something completely different." you forfeit all credibility as a person who should be allowed to even speak about the laws of the Republic in which we are living (note to all you cheese dicks out there with professors who told them they were living in a democracy: We Aren't!!). This comment is offensive on many levels. The first of which is that your precious freedom of speech is cited just before our right to bear arms. If I didn't respect that right to the extent that I do I would be all for seeing you hanged for sedition. The second being (and follow me closely here because you are in for a shocker) there were guns during the revolution and that is exactly what was being written about. Not only that but in the constitutions words "the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED" (infringe: to encroach or trespass). This being according to the ultimate law of the Republic, it should be pretty clear to everyone still claiming residency in the United States of America that laws restricting the owning and carrying of firearms are Un-Constitutional.
Sep 17, 2007 11:48 AM

"OR Pretty tough on guns. State law bans guns from many public buildings, allows local governments to restrict open carrying of guns, and specifically says you can’t carry a loaded gun on a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle."----------------------------State law DOES NOT prohibit handguns in public buildings if the owner has a concealed handgun license.