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Compare State Gun Laws

Pick any two states to see how they compare head-to-head on all 50 policies. You can also click on any state or policy for more detail.

Rank for gun law strength

#3

#4

Gun Law Strength

Composite score

Gun Law Strength: 78
Gun Law Strength: 77

Gun Violence Rate

Gun deaths per 100,000 residents

Gun Violence Rate: 5.3
Gun Violence Rate: 3.7
Foundational laws

Background Check and/or Purchase Permit

Requires Background checks for handgun purchases at point of sale and/or for permit to purchase

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
Does the law cover only handgun purchases, or also rifle and shotgun purchases?
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
All firearms (handguns, rifles, and shotguns)
When is the background check performed?
Permit to purchase (for handguns and semiautomatic rifles) and point-of-sale (for all guns)
Permit to purchase

Concealed Carry Permit Required

Requires any person who carries a concealed firearm in public to first obtain a permit

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
If so, does the state require training?
Yes
Yes
Does state training include firing an actual gun?
Yes
No

Extreme Risk Law

Allows law enforcement (and often family members) to petition for a court order to temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing guns.

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
Who may petition for an order?
Law enforcement, district attorneys, family/household members, school administrators, health care providers who have treated the person in the past 6 months
Family/household members and gun licensing authorities

No Shoot First Law

Does not have a dangerous Shoot First law in place

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

Secure Storage Required

Requires that firearms be stored locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition in certain circumstances

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
When does the law apply?
When child may or is likely to access
Any time not in owner's immediate control
How does the state define child?
Under 16
Under 18
Does the state law require storage to prevent access by other prohibited people?
Yes
No
Gun industry and product safety

Assault Weapons Prohibited

Bars purchase of certain assault-style weapons originally designed for military use

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

Consumer Safety

Requires new handgun models sold in the state to have childproofing features

New York: no
Massachusetts: yes

Ghost Guns Regulated

Regulates ghost gun parts, ensuring they cannot be sold without serial numbers and a background check

New York: yes
Massachusetts: no
What does the state law require?
Serial numbers and background checks for component parts, all ghost guns must be reported to officials, no plastic undetectable guns.
No plastic undetectable guns

High Capacity Magazines Prohibited

Bars purchase of gun magazines larger than a prescribed size

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

Microstamping for New Handguns

Requires new handgun models sold in the state to include microstamping technology

New York: yes
Massachusetts: no

No Special Immunity for Gun Industry

Does not have a dangerous legal immunity law in place

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
Does the law proactively give gun violence survivors access to justice?
Yes
No
Guns in public

Authority to Deny Public Carry for Public Safety

Allows officials to bar concealed carry by people who pose a danger

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
Does the state law permit denial for "good cause"?
Yes
No

Crime Gun Tracing

Requires officials to trace all guns recovered at crime scenes, using the federal tracing system

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

No Carry After Violent Offense

Bars concealed carry by people with assault or other violent misdemeanor convictions

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
How long is a person disqualified?
Indefinitely or 5 years (depending on offense)
Indefinitely

No Guns Mandate on College Campuses

Does not force colleges and universities to allow concealed carry

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

No Guns at State Capitols and/or Demonstrations

Blocks the public carry of guns on state capitol grounds and/or political protests

New York: yes
Massachusetts: no

No Guns in Bars

Blocks the concealed carry of guns in bars

New York: yes
Massachusetts: no

No Guns in K-12 Schools

Does not have a law allowing carry in K–12 schools by staff or other permit holders

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

Open Carry Regulated

Regulates how guns may be carried visibly in public, either requiring a permit or else barring open carry altogether

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
How is open carry regulated?
Prohibited for handguns; open carry not regulated for rifles and shotguns.
Permit required for all firearms.
Keeping guns out of the wrong hands

Emergency Restraining Order Prohibitor

Bars domestic abusers from having guns while subject to short-term emergency orders

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

Felony Prohibitor

Bars gun possession by people with felony convictions

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
How long is a person prohibited by the state law?
Indefinitely
Indefinitely

Fugitive from Justice Prohibitor

Bars gun possession by fugitives

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
Does the state prohibitor cover any people with outstanding warrants?
Yes
Yes

Gun Removal Program

Requires officials to identify and seek removal of illegal guns

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

Hate Crime Prohibitor

Bars people from having guns after a hate crime conviction

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

Mental Health Prohibitor

Bars gun possession by people who have been involuntarily committed or found to be a danger to self or others

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
How long is a person prohibited by the state law?
Indefinitely
Indefinitely

Minimum Age to Purchase

Requires handgun buyers to be 21+ and rifle and shotgun buyers to be 18+

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
What is the minimum age for gun buyers?
21 for handguns; 18 for rifles and shotguns
21 for handguns; 18 for rifles and shotguns

No Gun Purchases After Violent Offense

Bars gun purchases by people with assault or other violent misdemeanor convictions

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
Does the prohibitor cover assault and battery crimes?
No
Yes
How long is a person prohibited?
Indefinitely
Indefinitely

Prohibition for Convicted Domestic Abusers

Bars domestic abusers from having guns after a misdemeanor conviction

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
Does the law close the boyfriend loophole by covering abusive dating partners?
Yes
Yes

Prohibition for Domestic Abusers Under Restraining Orders

Bars domestic abusers from having guns while subject to restraining orders

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
Does the law close the boyfriend loophole by covering abusive dating partners?
Yes
Yes

Relinquishment for Convicted Domestic Abusers

Requires domestic abusers to turn in guns after a misdemeanor conviction

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
Does the state bar the surrender of firearms to third parties?
Yes
Yes

Relinquishment for Domestic Abusers Under Restraining Orders

Requires domestic abusers to turn in guns when a restraining order is placed

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
Does the state bar the surrender of firearms to third parties?
Yes
Yes

School Threat Assessment Teams

Requires threat assessment programs to identify students at risk of violence

New York: no
Massachusetts: no

Stalker Prohibitor

Bars gun possession by convicted stalkers

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
How long is a person prohibited by the state law?
Indefinitely
Indefinitely
Policing and civil rights

Funding for Services for Victims of Gun Violence

Issues targeted solicitations to use federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funds to assist victims of gun violence or for gun violence intervention

New York: no
Massachusetts: no

Local Gun Laws Allowed

Does not preempt towns and cities from making their own gun safety policy

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

No Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights

Does not impede efforts to hold police accountable for excessive force and other misconduct

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

Office of Violence Intervention

Has a dedicated office for gun violence prevention

New York: yes
Massachusetts: no

Police Use of Deadly Force Standard

Bars deadly force unless necessary to prevent serious bodily injury, does not make exception for felony suspects fleeing arrest

New York: no
Massachusetts: no

Police Use of Force Incident Data Collection and Reporting

Requires law enforcement agencies to collect and report data on use of force incidents

New York: yes
Massachusetts: no

Qualified Immunity Limited

Limits qualified immunity, a legal shield for police officers accused of civil and constitutional violations

New York: no
Massachusetts: no

Violence Intervention Program Funding

State budget includes funding for community violence intervention programming

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
Sales and permitting

Authority to Deny Gun Purchase for Public Safety

Allows officials to deny sales if buyer poses a danger

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

Charleston Loophole Closed or Limited

Ensures gun sales can’t proceed while a background check is still ongoing

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
What does the state law require?
Extends time for background check to 30 days.
Authorities have 40 days to issue or deny permits to purchase firearms.

Dealer License Required

Requires all gun dealers to obtain a state license

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

Lost and Stolen Reporting

Requires gun owners to notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

Mental Health Record Reporting

Requires or allows officials to report prohibiting records into the background check system

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes
Are officials required to report, or merely allowed to do so?
Required
Required

Notification of Failed Background Checks

Requires notice to law enforcement when a prohibited person tries to buy a gun

New York: no
Massachusetts: no

Sales Records Sent to Law Enforcement

Requires all handgun sale information be recorded by officials

New York: yes
Massachusetts: yes

Training Required to Purchase Guns

Requires certain gun buyers to take a training course before their purchase

New York: no
Massachusetts: yes

Waiting Periods

Requires gun buyers to wait a prescribed time before completing a purchase

New York: no
Massachusetts: no