Lawmakers often try to make their mark to “make a difference” by creating increasingly restrictive gun laws, which can leave sportsmen and sportswomen, hunters, recreational shooters, firearms collectors, competition shooters, and hobbyists scrambling to keep up.
To try to shed some light on some of the new federal and state firearms laws for this year, we’ve provided the following list of new proposed and enacted firearms laws for 2021-2022. Let’s dive in.
Please note: Neither the author nor Liberty Safe assumes any liability regarding the accuracy of the information below. We have made a reasonable effort to provide accurate information regarding various proposed and implemented gun laws at the time of publication. However, this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be an exhaustive or comprehensive list, nor should it be considered legal advice. Consult your local laws and/or a licensed attorney in your state.
Changes to federal gun laws for 2022
2022 will prove to be a banner year for changes to US gun laws, thanks to new federal regulations and a landmark Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling regarding the carrying of firearms in public. There has also been a new “Assault Weapons Ban” proposed. Let’s look at these issues in greater detail.
H.B. 1808 Assault Weapons Ban of 2021
On late July 20, 2022, the US House Judiciary Committee passed HB 1808, which if signed into law, would ban what the bill sponsors term “semiautomatic assault weapons” (SAW) and “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” (LCAFD).
The bill, passing the Committee with a party-line 25-18 vote, would ban all semi-automatic rifles that have a detachable magazine and which have a military feature such as a pistol grip, a detachable stock, or threaded barrel, among other features. The bill also bans any “semiautomatic rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, except for an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.”
There is a long and confusing list of firearms that would be specifically banned by name, similar to the previous “Assault Weapons Ban” of 1994.
The bill also bans what it terms large capacity ammunition feeding devices, such as magazines, strips, and drums that are capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
The bill does include a “grandfather” clause to allow current owners of these firearms and feeding devices to keep their property.
The bill permits continued possession, sale, or transfer of a grandfathered SAW, which must be securely stored (by law). A licensed firearm dealer would be required to conduct a background check prior to the sale or transfer of a grandfathered SAW, even in states where firearms sales between private parties are legal.
The bill permits continued possession of but prohibit sale or transfer of, a grandfathered LCAFD. Newly manufactured LCAFDs must include serial numbers. Newly manufactured SAWs and LCAFDs must include and display the date of manufacture.
HB1808 has a (slim but credible) chance of passing the evenly divided Senate, where it would need to reach a 60-vote threshold to pass.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022 (Federal Gun Bill)
On June 25, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was passed by the 117th US Congress. This is the first major federal “gun control bill” passed since the 1994 “Assault Weapons Ban.”
The bill has more to do with mental health, school safety, and funding for related programs than it does with banning or restricting specific types of firearms, which is likely why it received enough Republican support to pass the House and Senate.
Title I of the act provides for Medicare to support states in creating mental health services programs, particularly in schools. It provides assistance to state governments by expanding the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic demonstration program, and it requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to instruct states on how to provide telehealth services under Medicare and the Children's Health Insurance Program. The bill also requires CMS to provide resources and guidance to state governments and schools in order to provide mental health services in school settings.
Title II of the act is the section specifically dealing with “new gun safety laws.”
- Section 12001 expands background checks for gun purchasers under the age of 21. It prohibits the purchase of a firearm if the purchaser has committed a disqualifying crime while under the age of 18 and requires a NICS background check to include the records of state governments and local law enforcement. It also states that during this process, mental health records under the age of 16 are not considered for disqualifying potential purchasers, that no waiting periods are applied, and that an annual audit take place to ensure that only applicable criminal records are considered. These provisions expire on September 30, 2032, except for the restrictions on juvenile criminal records and the protection of mental health records under the age of 16.
- Section 12002 clarifies definitions of gun sellers and requires routine gun sellers to register with a Federal Firearms License. The bill states that someone who sells firearms “predominantly to earn a profit” must register as an FFL. “The term to predominantly earn a profit means that the intention underlying the sale or disposition of firearms is predominantly one of obtaining a pecuniary gain, as opposed to other intents, such as improving or liquidating a personal firearms collection.”
- Section 12003 permits states to use grant funds from the Byrne JAG program to implement crisis intervention programs. These may include red flag laws, but the bill requires strict protections for due process, including the right to fair hearings and legal counsel and a high burden of proof. States are permitted to choose what type of crisis intervention program to implement using this funding, if any, and are required to provide an annual report on any programs funded through this program.
- Section 12004 makes it a federal crime to traffic illegal firearms into the United States. It also makes it a crime to make a straw purchase by purchasing a firearm on behalf of someone who is not permitted to purchase a firearm. (We feel this is a bit strange, as of course, these actions were already illegal. However, the punishments have been increased.) Violators of these statutes are subject to up to 15 years in prison, and the penalty increases to 25 years if the firearm is used in a terrorist attack or drug trafficking. It also expands criminal statutes to criminalize smuggling firearms outside of the United States, grants all Federal Firearms License holders access to the NICS background check system, funds an ATF education program on straw purchases, funds coordination programs between federal and local law enforcement, and forbids Operation Fast and Furious type programs.
- Section 12005 closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” It changes restrictions on firearm purchases by those convicted of domestic assault. Previously, the law only regulated firearms purchases following the domestic assault of a spouse or cohabitant, or if the perpetrator had a child with the victim. The new bill expands this restriction to disqualify anyone found guilty of a domestic violence charge in a romantic relationship, regardless of marital status. The restrictions apply for five years, after which the right to own a firearm is restored if no additional violent crimes take place. The provision only applies to domestic violence charges after the law takes effect with no retroactive penalties.
There are a lot more details, regulations on how schools and state governments can use funds, and of course hundreds of millions of dollars in appropriations to pay for all of these government programs, but these are the primary points relating to firearms laws and regulations.
NYSRPA v Bruen Supreme Court ruling removing the “proper cause” requirement
Prior to this groundbreaking ruling, New York (as well as many other states) required citizens who wished to carry firearms for self-defense to demonstrate “proper cause” or a specific need for a CCW permit, and the validity or merit of that need was evaluated by the state. Effectively this meant that these states would rarely issue CCW permits to ordinary citizens.
On June 23, 2022, in a 6-3 vote, SCOTUS issued the following final ruling in NYSRPA v Bruen:
“New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms. We, therefore, reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. It is so ordered.”
In addition to striking down the “proper cause” requirement for carrying a firearm, the ruling appears to provide the standard under which all current and future second amendment cases are to be evaluated.
“In sum, the Courts of Appeals’ second step is inconsistent with Heller’s historical approach and its rejection of means-end scrutiny. We reiterate that the standard for applying the Second Amendment is as follows: When the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct. The government must then justify its regulation by demonstrating that it is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. Only then may a court conclude that the individual’s conduct falls outside the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command.’ Konigsberg, 366 U. S., at 50, n. 10.”
With this ruling, SCOTUS sent down all pending rulings relating to second amendment issues to the lower courts (including Duncan v Bonta, ANJRPC v Grewal, Bianchi v Frosh, and Young v Hawaii) and instructed them to reevaluate the lower courts’ decisions based on the new NYSRPA v Bruen ruling. This may result in significant changes to many states’ laws regarding firearm carry and restrictions.
It is likely that this ruling will impact the pending 9th Circuit En Banc ruling in the case Duncan v. Becerra dealing with California’s magazine capacity limits. There is already a new challenge to the California handgun roster case Renna v Bonta and AB 2847 (Microstamping).
However, New York has already enacted new laws to effectively nullify the new SCOTUS ruling by restricting concealed carry on private property (without public notification by the property owner), in Times Square, on public transportation, bars, churches, parks, and many other locations. Additionally, the state now will require a long list of prerequisites for anyone wishing to apply for a CCW permit, including; 16 hours of training with 2 hours of live fire; a list of your last 3 years of current/previous social media accounts (so that government officials can verify their “character and conduct”; 4 references; interviews; and they will be subject to periodic background checks and will have to turn over contact information for adults living in their household.
It remains to be seen whether New York and similar states’ requirements to pay large fees and get expensive training in order to exercise a constitutional right (one that has been specifically ruled on by SCOTUS) will be challenged, but we feel these restrictive new state laws will be the subject of multiple lawsuits, and the SCOTUS has been quite clear about the recent ruling being the basis on which all current and future firearms laws should be evaluated.
Alabama – House Bill 6
AL HB6 was introduced to the house on January 11, 2022, and intends to remove the requirement of a permit in order for a person to carry a firearm concealed or in a vehicle, as well as remove the current part of the law that states that possession of a firearm by a person who commits a crime of violence is prima facie evidence of the intent to commit the crime. Per the bill’s language:
“Under existing law, with exceptions, a person may not conceal a firearm on his or her person, or carry a pistol in his or her vehicle, without a permit. Also under existing law, when a person commits a crime of violence, the possession of a pistol without a permit is prima facie evidence of the intent to commit the crime. This bill would authorize individuals to carry a pistol or other firearm concealed or in a vehicle without a permit and would delete the presumption of intent to commit a crime of violence solely for not possessing a permit.This bill would also revise the process by which a pistol seized in connection with a violation of Sections 13A-11-71 to 13A-11-73, Code of Alabama 1975, is disposed of or returned to its owner.”
As of the time of publication of this article, Alabama House Bill 6 has not passed the House or Senate of the state of Alabama.
California – Senate Bill 1327
On March 3, 2022, Democrats introduced California SB1327 to the state Senate, which basically would, by statute, allow private citizens to sue gunmakers of so-called “assault weapons,” .50 BMG caliber rifles, and “unserialized firearms.” The bill is based on the Texas ban on abortion after 6 weeks gestation, which was left in place after review by the Supreme Court in December 2021.
Per CA SB1327, “It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this chapter to further restrict in this state the manufacture, distribution, transportation, importation, and sale of assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, and unserialized firearms by creating new civil law prohibitions and a civil enforcement mechanism, independent of existing law. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit in any way the enforceability of existing law concerning firearms, including, but not limited to, Part 6 (commencing with 16000) of the Penal Code.”
This bill was amended in mid-June 2022, and passed in the California Assembly and Senate. It creates a private “right of action” for any person against any person who sells or manufactures the above types of firearms. The way the bill is worded implies that it could be removed based on the theoretical repeal of the Texas abortion law.
Delaware – Senate Bill 172
Delaware SB172 basically removes the state’s licensing requirement for carrying a concealed weapon by law-abiding citizens over the age of 21.
Per the bill’s language, “As of the beginning of 2021, there were 18 states where no permits were required to carry a concealed firearm, 25 states that were considered ‘shall issue’ permit states, and 9 states that were considered ‘may issue’ permit states.
This Act brings Delaware law concerning the carrying of concealed deadly weapons into conformity with Section 20 of Article I of the Delaware Constitution by allowing a person who is 21 years of age or older and not a prohibited person under either Delaware law or the laws of the United States to carry a deadly weapon concealed on or about their person for the purpose of defending self, family, home, and State.
In addition, this Act makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual and conforming amendments in other provisions of the Delaware Code to account for the removal of the requirement to obtain a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon.”
The bill was introduced to the Senate on June 8, 2021, but has not passed the legislature as of the date of publication.
Florida – House Bill 103
Florida HB103 2022 was read into the House on January 11, 2022, and is intended to remove the requirement of a license to carry a concealed firearm by non-prohibited persons. Additionally, the bill would limit the areas in which concealed carrying of a firearm is prohibited, revise related criminal penalties, revise provisions relating to carrying of concealed weapons or firearms by non-Florida residents, provide for the issuance of concealed carry licenses for reciprocity purposes (where one state recognizes the concealed carry permit from another state and vice versa), and specifically states that a person not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm or other weapon may own, possess, and lawfully use firearms and other weapons, ammunition, and supplies for lawful purposes.
As of 3/14/22, HB103 “Died in Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee.”
Georgia – House Bill 962 and House Bill 971
Georgia HB962 for 2022 intends to establish a misdemeanor penalty for failing to report a lost or stolen firearm to Georgia law enforcement. Per the bill’s language (introduced to the House on 1/26/2022), Failure to report a lost or stolen firearm shall be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $25.00 and a second or subsequent violation of this Code section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00.”
Dealers are exempt from this requirement.
Georgia HB971 2022 was also introduced to the House on January 26, and intends to:
- Provide for the offenses of failure to store a firearm in a secure manner (misdemeanor; see the bill’s text for exceptions)
- Require that retailers provide a gun lock to the buyer for all firearms sales (again, see the bill for exceptions for antique, replica antique firearms, curio, and relics, etc.)
- Provide for reporting of convictions on misdemeanors above
- Provide for the posting of information relating to certain firearm-related offenses on the Department of Public Safety website
- Authorize an education campaign relating to firearm safety and the safe storage of firearms.
This is not an inclusive list of provisions of HB971 so please refer to the bill’s text for all aspects of the proposed law.
As of the time of publication, both Georgia HB962 and HB971 are dead in committee.
Indiana – House Bill 1077
Indiana HB1077 for 2022 intended to:
- Repeal the law that requires a person to obtain a license to carry a handgun in Indiana
- Specify that certain persons who are not otherwise prohibited from carrying or possessing a handgun are not required to obtain or possess a license or permit from the state to carry a handgun in Indiana
- Prohibit certain individuals from knowingly or intentionally carrying a handgun (illegal aliens, people convicted of violent crimes, etc.--see the text of HB1077 for the full wording; it’s too much to include here)
- Create the crime of "unlawful carrying of a handgun" and specify the penalties for committing this crime
- Allow particular individuals who do not meet the requirements to receive a handgun license and are not otherwise prohibited to carry a handgun in limited places
- Allow a resident of Indiana to obtain in certain circumstances a license to carry a handgun in Indiana
- Make theft of a firearm a Level 5 felony.
There are other non-firearm-law-related provisions of the bill relating to the training of law enforcement officers, town marshalls, deputies, and so forth, so if you’re interested, please refer to the text of the bill.
HB 1077 in its original form is now dead because it was reassigned to the Senate rules committee, and therefore didn’t make the committee deadline to advance to the Senate floor.
However, a revised bill, Indiana House Bill 1296, passed the state House and Senate and was signed into law. As of 7/1/2022, the State of Indiana will no longer require a handgun permit to legally carry, conceal or transport a handgun within the state. This law DOES NOT allow everyone to carry a handgun as Indiana law contains certain criteria which must be met for a person to legally carry within the state. A person MUST NOT be a PROHIBITED PERSON as defined by IC 35-47-2-1.5. Details here.
New Hampshire – House Bill 307
NH HB307 2022 is known as the “New Hampshire Second Amendment State Preemption Act” and is likely to pass the Senate, having passed the house on 4/17/2021. The Senate made some amendments and the bill is at 50% progression in Senate committee, as of 5/23/22, but it “ought to pass.”
Basically, HB307 removes all state regulations on firearms, ammunition, ammunition components, knives, firearms components, firearms accessories, and firearms supplies, and prohibits private or government organizations or local jurisdictions from ordinances or related restrictions contrary to state law.
Specifically, the bill states: “It is the intent of this subdivision to provide uniform firearms laws in the state; to declare all ordinances and regulations null and void which have been enacted by any jurisdictions other than state and federal jurisdictions, which regulate firearms; ammunition; ammunition components; knives; firearms components; firearms accessories; and firearms supplies; to prohibit the enactment of any future ordinances or regulations relating to firearms; ammunition; ammunition components; knives; firearms components; firearms accessories; and firearms supplies unless specifically authorized by this subdivision or general law; and to require local jurisdictions to enforce state firearms laws. Except as otherwise specifically provided by statute, no ordinance or regulation of a political subdivision, including, without limitation, any school district or school administrative unit, shall regulate the sale, purchase, ownership, possession, transportation, licensing, permitting, taxation, or other matter pertaining to firearms; ammunition; ammunition components; knives; firearms components; firearms accessories; and firearms supplies in this state.
It is further the intent of this subdivision to deter and prevent the violation of this subdivision and the violation of rights protected under the constitution and laws of this state related to firearms; ammunition; ammunition components; knives; firearms components; firearms accessories; and firearms supplies by the abuse of official authority that occurs when enactments are passed in violation of state law or under color of local or state authority.”
Strong words from the “Live Free or Die” state.
Nebraska – Legislative Bill 773
Nebraska Legislative Bill 773 2002 is a sweeping bill with a lot of nuances unrelated to firearms, but the relevant portion of the bill as it relates to gun law is essentialy that it will provide for carrying of a concealed handgun without a permit (by non-prohibited persons) and prohibit regulation of such carrying by cities, villages, and counties in Nebraska.
As of 4/20/2022, the bill has been “indefinitely postponed” and “died in chamber.”
Wisconsin – Assembly Bill 495
Under current Wisconsin law, a person is generally prohibited from possessing a firearm on the grounds of a school. A person who violates this law is guilty of a Class I felony. Under Assembly Bill 495, a person who has a license to carry a concealed weapon may possess a firearm in a vehicle on the grounds of a school.
This bill was introduced in the House on 8/4/2021, passed the House on 1/20/2022, but failed to pass the Senate on 5/17/2022, “notwithstanding the objections of the Governor.”
New 2022 gun laws in other states and cities
Oregon Measure 114
Oregon Measure 114, the "Changes to Firearm Ownership and Purchase Requirements Initiative," was placed on the ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute on November 8, 2022. The ballot measure was approved by a vote of 50.9% yes to 49.1% no. The measure goes into effect at 12:00 a.m. on Dec. 8, 2022.
The new measure requires Oregonians to obtain a permit to buy a gun (up to $65 to apply, and up to $50 to renew every 5 years) after completing a firearms safety course (at the applicant's expense) and bans the sale or transfer of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. There is an exception for current owners or inheritors of these magazines. Violation is a Class A misdemeanor.
It also requires state police to obtain fingerprints and perform full background checks on buyers with permits before any gun sale or transfer. Under current federal law, firearms dealers can sell guns without a completed background check if the check takes longer than three business days. Issuing authorities have up to 30 days to issue permits to qualified applicants. The Department of State Police is able to deny a permit to an applicant believed to be a danger to oneself or others or if an applicant is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Washington state ban on high-capacity magazines: On March 5, 2022, the Washington state legislature passed a law restricting the manufacture, purchase, transfer, distribution, and sale of “high capacity” magazines within the state. Senate Bill 5078 prohibits the sale, attempted sale, manufacture, and distribution of “high-capacity” magazines (their definition is any magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition). Washington’s law does not prohibit the possession of high-capacity magazines, instead of focusing on their manufacture/supply and sale. However, depending on the definition of “distribution,” the bill apparently explicitly outlaws giving, lending, or selling “high capacity” magazines between private individuals in Washington “with or without consideration.” The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2022.
There are three exceptions to the Washington ban noted in the bill language: standard-capacity magazines that have been permanently altered to prevent the loading of more than 10 rounds; .22 caliber tube feeding devices; and tubular magazines that are contained within a lever-action firearm.
San Jose, California: San Jose's city council recently passed an ordinance requiring most of the city's gun owners to carry liability insurance for accidental shootings.
The San Jose city website states: “The City of San José will require gun-owning residents to obtain an official document evincing payment of an annual fee, and attestation of insurance coverage for accidental firearm-related death, injury, or property damage.
The document must be kept wherever guns are stored or transported (car, home, etc.). A written waiver will be permitted for all low-income individuals who qualify for exemption under Cal. Govt. Code §68632.
A non-profit foundation will collect and distribute all fee revenue to evidence-based, local gun violence-reduction programs, such as domestic violence and suicide prevention, mental health, addiction treatment, and gun-safety training. Programs will prioritize but not exclusively serve clients living in gun-owning households.”
This is the first ordinance of its kind in the US, and since many progressives adhere to the adage, “As goes California, so goes the nation,” it may spur other non-gun-friendly cities and states to enact similar laws.
Since restrictions, laws, and local ordinances can change frequently, it’s important to check all local laws whenever you move to a different city or plan to visit.
Protect your guns with a liberty safe
Despite the strong feelings on both sides of the gun-rights issue, one recommendation that nearly everyone can agree on is the need to keep firearms secure from unauthorized access. Whether you’re looking for a small gun safe, a large gun safe, a vault door, or a handgun safe, a USA-made gun safe from Liberty is an excellent choice.