Gun laws in the United States regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms andammunition. State laws vary, and are independent of existing federal firearms laws, although they are sometimes broader or more limited in scope than the federal laws.For instance, some US states have created assault weapon bans that are similar to the expired federal assault weapons ban. State level laws vary significantly in their form, content, and level of restriction. Forty-four states have a provision in their state constitutions similar to the Second Amendmentto the U.S. Constitution. The exceptions are California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York. In New York, however, the statutory civil rights laws contain a provision virtually identical to the Second Amendment. As well, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that the protections of the Second Amendment apply against state governments and their political subdivisions (see: McDonald v. Chicago).
Firearm owners are subject to the firearm laws of the state they are in, and not exclusively their state of residence. Reciprocity between states exists in certain situations, such as with regard to concealed carry permits. These are recognized on a state-by-state basis. For example, Idaho recognizes an Oregon permit, but Oregon does not recognize an Idaho permit. Florida issues a license to carry both concealed weapons and firearms, but others license only the concealed carry of firearms. Some states do not recognize out-of-state permits to carry a firearm at all, so it is important to understand the laws of each state when traveling with a handgun.
In many cases, state firearms laws can be considerably less restrictive than federal firearms laws. This does not confer any de jure immunity against prosecution for violations of the federal laws. However, state and local police departments are not legally obligated to enforce federal gun law.