Note: As the United States passes its 350th mass shooting this year, more and more people are discussing gun control. While many seem to believe that registering all guns, requiring background checks for all purchases, and preventing identifiably dangerous people from purchasing guns are all good ideas, just as many seem to be afraid that any gun control law will mean the loss of all civilian guns. Organizations like the NRA play on these fears, telling people that guns are already too regulated and any further action will mean the loss of the much cherished 2nd Amendment (which is more for well-regulated militia than civilians, but that’s an argument for another day).
So I wanted to see what exactly the gun laws are in each state. Are guns too regulated? Do states with tight gun laws have more gun violence or less? What does it even take to get a gun nowadays? With these questions in mind, I’ll be starting a new weekly series – Gun Laws, State by State. I will try to document the most up-to-date gun laws in each state as well as provide facts on gun deaths in each state. Hopefully, by the time I get to the last state, we will all be better educated on gun control and gun deaths. If you have any additional information on the state in question, add it in the comments.
Previous post: Kentucky
Much like Kentucky, firearms in Ohio (long guns and handguns) are very laxly regulated.
- You don’t need a permit to purchase or possess any firearm.
- You don’t need to register your firearms or complete a certification course.
- You are allowed to purchase a machine gun or armor-piercing ammunition.
- Criminals convicted of violent crimes are allowed to purchase and possess firearms.
- Private sellers do not have to perform background checks before selling.
Ohio’s only improvement on Kentucky is that it requires people to report the loss or theft of a firearm to police. So at least there’s that.
Ohio’s gun-related death rates are similar to Kentucky’s.
- 71% of all homicides involve a firearm (67% in Kentucky).
- It ranks 29th in gun-related deaths (11 per 100,000). This is about 1275 deaths per year (17th in Kentucky/13.7 per 100,000).
- 1% of domestic violence homicides are committed by firearms (70.8% in Kentucky).
Both Kentucky and Ohio have lax gun laws that don’t require registration or permits to possess or purchase a firearm. They also allow people to circumvent the federal mandate saying licensed dealers must perform a background check by allowing private sellers to sell without any type of check, registration, or license. They have similar death rates with 71% of all Ohio homicides involving a firearm (67% in Kentucky) and 11 gun-related homicides per 100,000 people (13. 7 per 100,000 in Kentucky).
However, Ohio does rank significantly lower in crime gun exports (29th to Kentucky’s 3rd.). Why might that be? Does Kentucky have more gun shows? Are there stricter laws regulating the transfer of weapons across state lines in Ohio? And, while Ohio may rank lower in gun-related deaths than Kentucky (29th to Kentucky’s 17th), it still does have twice as many gun-related deaths (in a population that is almost three times as large), so does that account for a true correlation?
[Thought: could the law requiring people to report lost or stolen firearms to police compel people to keep their guns instead of transporting them across state lines? Interesting.]
I’m not sure. We simply don’t possess enough facts. But I can tell you that I’m starting to get very nervous about violent criminals’ and abusers’ access to machine guns, armor-piercing rounds, and as many guns as they want. That just doesn’t seem right.