The Second Amendment in the States

Right to Carry 2019
Right to Carry 2019

United States – -( Much of the focus on Second Amendment issues tends to be at the federal level. There are good reasons for this focus: Federal law sets the baseline for laws affecting our Second Amendment rights. Federal judges can overturn anti-Second Amendment state laws. The President can appoint new federal judges, and also can set the tone for what happens in the executive branch.

We have been very fortunate to have President Donald Trump these last two years. Some may nitpick about the bump-stock ban via the regulatory process, but that is far better than the legislation anti-Second Amendment extremists have wanted. As Duane Liptak pointed out in January, sometimes, the best that can be done in a given situation is to limit the damage. Trump’s judicial appointments, though, including those in the 9th Circuit, will be a massive shift over the medium to long term.

Those judges offer us a far better chance to strike down semi-auto bans, among other restrictions that are clearly in violation of the Second Amendment than those we would have gotten from Hillary Clinton, or those we could get from a Kamala Harris or Bernie Sanders. But the states are also an important battleground, for three reasons.

First, some state laws regulate areas touching on the Second Amendment that the federal laws don’t. This has been particularly true with carrying guns. The entire right-to-carry fight was primarily a fight that took place state-by-state. That success is something to keep in mind, especially when we consider a second factor.

That second factor is the fact that unlike say, immigration, state laws regarding our Second Amendment rights can go above and beyond federal laws. We saw this recently in Illinois, when they passed new regulations adding a state license for firearms dealers on top of the federal one. New York’s scam with a 30-day wait should a NICS check come back delayed is another one. States can pass their own laws about what firearms are and are not legal to an extent (thanks to the McDonald case, there is a bright line against states passing handgun bans).

This is why we get semi-auto bans and magazine bans from various states. This is also why the Extreme Risk Protection Order or “red flag” laws are also a state fight. Some states have even set up licensing and registration schemes like those Lyndon Johnson wanted to impose nationwide fifty years ago (said licensing and registration scheme was thwarted by the same NRA that some damn as “Negotiating Rights Away”).

States are also becoming players in another way. Just look at what Andrew Cuomo has been doing in New York, with his abuse of financial regulations against the NRA. That has been challenged in a lawsuit, and the NRA won the right to go to discovery. Other states with anti-Second Amendment election officials, though, are following in Cuomo’s footsteps.

On the other hand Ron DeSantis has been acting to hold the bumbling cowards of Broward who failed to stop the Parkland shooter accountable. These officials can also decide whether or not to enforce some existing laws against those who misuse firearms in the commission of a crime – thus locking them away for a long time.

So, the state level will be very important for 2019 and beyond. The good news is that NRA-ILA tracks a lot of the Second Amendment-related news in all fifty states, and also provides a good rundown on legislation. The best thing is, state legislative elections can be a good place to start making a difference with regards to our freedoms. So, get involved locally!

Harold Hu, chison

About Harold Hutchison

Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post,, and other national websites.

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“Some may nitpick about the bump-stock ban via the regulatory process, but that is far better than the legislation anti-Second Amendment extremists have wanted”…. Death by a thousand cuts, twit. It is illegal and criminal which makes one wonder whose side you are really on.

Dave C

“Twit” is not a good way to start a debate. If we have ANY chance of retaining our rights, we must stick together. You may think you are on the high moral ground and cannot loose, but the pillar on which you place yourself is made of sand. We are in a fight to not loose everything.


Rights are not trivialized. Rights are not compromised. Rights are not bargained away. Twit is a mild word for those that would do such. In the final analysis nothing the NRA will do will save the second amendment with such a shifting sand foundation. If we lose the 2nd it is because we do not use it. it is coming to that.

Jim Mackey

I do agree with the premise of this article. Speaking from experience in New York, we deal with a lot of crap coming from Cuomo. However despite our reputation for being somewhat tough to get CCW licences, my experience was not too much of a hassle really. Infringement? Yes. But definitely not as restrictive as, say, Massaschusetts or California. Reason why is our licencing authority is County level judges, and I happen to live in a County with 2A friendly judges. Result is damn near shall issue permitting, as close as you can get in a commie state. Since judges… Read more »

Walter Goddard

@JM I second that, with some additional perspective.. We all too often miss! Our SCOTUS, POTUS, etc… all start from Local and State Government, or other Public and Private sectors. As you/ve eluded to, We’re going to have to see the tree, and the entire forest, to turn things around and then to keep it on the foundation of the US Constitution.. Our future begins not just from yesterday, but today as well, and according to our choices tomorrow! Who wants to set up educational shooting, hunting, camping programs for our schools, Departmentt of Conservation, etc… ? Don’t forget about… Read more »


You owe it to yourself to read the March 2019 Firearms news article “The Knox update: NRA Under Fire From Membership For Lackluster Performance and Wasting Huge Amounts of Money.” Very well written by Jeff Knox. Lays out all the warts, and also acknowledges that we need a strong NRA with improved leadership. I thought it was about as balanced an article as I’d seen in awhile.

Robert J. Lucas

SCOTUS needs to enforce their power against the infringements of the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The Superior Court Still Trumps the Inferior courts, along with state interpretations, please correct me if I am wrong.


It will come, We need a Right-Leaning SCOTUS and follow the same “Gay Marriage” playbook. Use the same arguments. Either “Gay Marriage AND “Gun Rights” are Constitutional or NEITHER. When I say “Gun Rights,” I’m not talking about “National Reciprocity.” I talking full implement of “Shall not be infringed.”


I suspect we are going to start losing at the supreme court again as Roberts seems to be setting himself up as the next David Souter.


Where was the NRA when NY recently passed red flag and waiting period laws????


Where was anybody, or anything, that could possibly interfere with the (illegal, but holding power nevertheless) Progressive juggernaut in Soviet Socialist New York????

It will, at minimum, require a military invasion to rid that state of the Socialist Regime that currently controls political office.

Patrick D Sperry

Nice try but the NRA is not the same organization that it was fifty years ago, and yes. They regularly do “negotiate” our rights away. This Life member seems to remember that some real enforcers of 2A rights split away and formed Gun Owners of America. Of which I am also a Life Member. Try not to sugar coat things in the future please…


Maryland is SUPPOSED to be a “may issue” state. However, in REALITY, Maryland is a “may NOT issue” state.
1. You MIGHT get a VERY RESTRICTIVE carry permit IF you own a business.
2. You MIGHT get a VERY RESTRICTIVE carry permit IF you have an ONGOING PROVABLE court case that PROVES you are in IMMEDIATE danger of being killed.
3. You MIGHT get a VERY RESTRICTIVE carry permit IF you have a POLITICIAN to SPEAK UP for you.
You will not get a carry permit if you are a REGULAR LEGAL LAW ABIDING American CITIZEN.


Just like Kommiefornia.


False. The NRA endorsed the 1968 GCA. It would not have passed without Orth’s treason.


The original ’68 GCA, would have registered and/or confiscated all guns deemed “dangerous”. The NRA was able to water it down, despite the political turmoil that engulfed the country in that decade. President Johnson said: “Congress adopted most of our recommendations. But this bill—as big as this bill is—still falls short, because we just could not get the Congress to carry out the requests we made of them. I asked for the national registration of all guns and the licensing of those who carry those guns. For the fact of life is that there are over 160 million guns in… Read more »

Dave C

Well put and truthful. Hardliners need to take a look at where we could be. NRA is far from perfect. They do need to get rid of wine and insurance and concentrate on the core business. Compromise is not a word I use easily, but with zero tolerance, we could loose it all. Do not allow outsiders, RINOS, and trolls determine our future. I belong to several pro-gun groups, because WE NEED ALL THE ALLIES WE CAN GET!

Gil Knappmiller

–well put–those who think the NRA ” betrayed ” anybody simply don’t know recent history—and the NRA could dump its entire budget in a sinkhole such as New York and not change anything,

“Change” in New YOork, California. and any other of the Democrat states will only occur when enough locals wake up–


Pretty sure right is a shall issue state unless queen raimundo changed it when we werent looking.