How Much Do You Know About Gun Laws in the United States?


By: Annette

5 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Gun laws in the United States of America are one of the most controversial and poorly-understood parts of the legal system. There are Federal rules, state rules, and then there's the much-misquoted Second Amendment. Some states allow concealed carry permits, while others do not. Some permit the ownership of high capacity magazines and automatic or semi-automatic weapons, while others do not. 

Ronald Reagan laid the groundwork for the 1994 assault weapons ban which since expired, with a proliferation of such weapons has resulted, with a gridlocked Congress seemingly unable to figure out what it wants to do next.

America's guns are owned by about a quarter to a third of its population, with 3% of Americans owning 50% of the guns. Most of these gun owners agree with non-gun owners that sensible regulation of the type commented on in the Second Amendment - which Justice Antonin Scalia would regularly note, frames gun rights in the context of "a well-regulated militia" - is probably a good idea. 

But in order for any consensus to be reached about what the rules should be, it's first important for people in the conversation to be pretty darn sure what the rules currently are! Let's find out how you fare on that complex subject.

Pistols are _____

Pistols are semi-automatic handguns. They're the most manufactured gun in America.


True or False: State gun laws are all the same.

State laws govern the use and sale of firearms. These laws can vary greatly from state to state.


Firearm owners are subject to the laws of _____.

Firearm owners are subject to the laws of the state that they're physically in. That means that the laws may be different when they cross state lines with their firearm.


Which is more restrictive?

In most cases, state laws are far less restrictive than federal laws. State and local police departments are not legally obligated to enforce federal laws - although they are free to report you to the feds.


What is castle doctrine?

The castle doctrine has to do with a person's right to use force to defend their home. Such laws vary from state to state.


Washington, D.C. has its own ____

Washington, D.C., has its very own set of gun laws. The various U.S. territories have their own laws as well.


True or False: Gun laws apply to ammunition.

Many gun laws in the U.S. involve ammunition. These laws govern the sale, possession and use of these things.


True or False: Magazines are legislated.

In many states, magazines receive additional restrictions. These restrictions apply to how many bullets the magazine holds.


True or False: All states recognize other states' concealed carry permits.

Not all states will recognize other states' concealed carry permits. For instance, Maryland does not recognize a permit from Idaho.


How often do state gun laws legally contradict federal firearms laws?

States create their own gun laws. However, if state laws contradict existing federal firearms laws, they will most likely be challenged in court.


Semi-automatic firearms are considered to be _____.

Semi-automatic firearms are considered assault weapons. Some states place additional restrictions on these.


True or False: Gun laws can change.

Gun laws, like other laws, are subject to change. Major changes to gun laws require mobilization at the state level. Always know and obey the laws in your area!


How often is a woman shot by her romantic partner?

Statistics show that a woman is shot by her romantic partner once every 16 hours. This was discovered by an analysis of the Associated Press.


____ states have provisions in their constitutions similar to the Second Amendment​.

44 states have provisions in their constitutions similar to the Second Amendment. This protects the right to keep and bear arms.


Which court case protected the right to bear arms?

McDonald v. Chicago was the famous supreme court case that protected Americans' rights to bear arms. This is in line with the Second Amendment.


In terms of gun violence, what is the deadliest city in the US?

New Orleans is actually the deadliest city in the country in terms of gun violence. That being said, Chicago has the most homicides.


How may states allow for concealed carry?

All states do have some form of concealed carry. That allows an individual to carry a concealed weapon in public.


How many states allow for open carry?

Most, but not all, states do have some form of open carry. That allows an individual to carry a weapon on their person or in their car.


Which are the most restricted weapons?

NFA weapons are more restricted on the federal level than other weapons. NFA weapons include machine guns and short-barreled shotguns and rifles.


What do peaceable journey laws apply to?

Some states have peaceable journey laws, which give leeway for those traveling with a firearm. This is great protection against pirates. (This is a joke, of course.)


True or False: All states require background checks.

Some states, but not all, require background checks for those buying a firearm. Regulations vary, often based on whether the gun is purchased from a dealer or a private party.


When did homicide rates plunge in New York City?

Homicide rates finally plunged in New York City in the 1990's. Then, they hit historic lows in 2016 at 3.9 per 100,000 residents.


What is "murder inequality?"

"Murder inequality" refers to the difference in homicide rates among neighborhoods. This kind of inequality is rampant in New York and Chicago.


How many communities in the US are free of gun violence?

There is basically no community in this country that has not seen some kind of gun violence. It has probably happened closer to you than you think.


What percentage of annual gun deaths are suicides?

Two-thirds, or 66% of gun deaths each year are suicides. These rates are sadly increasing each year.


Smith & Wesson's M&P Shield is the country's_____ pistol.

Smith & Wesson's M&P Shield is the country's most popular pistol. It is a 9mm automatic.


Rifles are the _____ most popular gun in America.

Rifles are the second most popular kind of gun in America. This includes semi-automatic rifles, bolt-action rifles, and lever-action rifles.


Which are there more of in the US?

There are more guns than there are cars in the United States. There's clearly a ubiquity of civilian-owned firearms.


How many licensed gun retailers are in the US?

There are roughly 60,000 gun retailers in the United States. That is double the number of coffee shops in the country.


True or False: There is no record of gun ownership in Florida.

There is no record or registry of firearms owners in Florida. It's illegal to publish such a list.


How many firearms are stolen in the US each year?

There are roughly 380,000 firearms stolen each year. There's especially a trend a guns getting stolen from cars.


The lethality of a gun is governed by its _____ .

The lethality of a gun is governed by the size of its magazine. A high-capacity magazine enables shooters to fire more rounds without stopping to reload.


Where is the homicide rate the worst in Chicago?

Austin has historically high homicide rates. The rate there is nearly three times that of the city as a whole.


What kind of rifle does a SWAT sharpshooter use?

A SWAT sharpshooter uses an M24 rifle, modeled after the Remington 700. The name for this rifle was assigned by the US Army.


What kind of gun does the FBI use?

The FBI officially adopted the Glock for general use in 1997. This is a .40 caliber pistol.


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