Special Report

The States That Have Banned Assault Rifles

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At the start of this year, Illinois became the ninth U.S. state to effectively ban the possession or sale of assault-style weapons. State Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the ban into law on January 10th, the first full day of his second term, just a day after it was approved by the Illinois state legislature.

The new legislation came six months after a mass shooting in a Chicago suburb left seven dead. Pritzker says the new law will make Illinois a safer place, though gun rights advocates claim it is a violation of the Second Amendment and have promised a litany of legal challenges. 

As is the case in states with similar laws on the books, the new law in Illinois explicitly bans dozens of specific firearm models by name, as well as those with any one of a long list of features. The features include semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines that have pistol grip, a folding stock, a barrel shroud, or a flash suppressor. The law also bans semiautomatic pistols with detachable magazines that have a second pistol grip, an arm brace, a threaded barrel, or a shrouded barrel. Current owners of firearms that fall under the ban are required to register them with the Illinois State Police by Jan. 1, 2024 if they wish to keep them legally. 

Using data compiled by Giffords Law Center, a gun control advocacy group, 24/7 Wall St. identified the nine states that have banned assault-style weapons. 

Assault weapons bans in the states on this list were generally put in place in an attempt to reduce mass shootings. Many of the most horrific mass shootings in recent years have been carried with the types of firearms that are now banned in the states on this list. (Here is a look at the most common gun-related crimes in each state.) 

Between 1994 and 2004, the federal government had an assault weapons ban, and during that decade, mass shooting deaths were 70% less likely than they were in the years before the ban was in place, or after it expired, according to GIffords. In several states on this list, bans on assault weapons have been in place for decades, even predating the federal ban. (Here is a look at the states with the loosest gun laws.)

Click here to see the 9 states that have banned assault-style weapons.

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California
> Year ban first went into effect: 1989
> Assault weapon restrictions: Possession, manufacture, sale, gifting, transport, import
> Exceptions to ban: Lawful ownership of weapon prior to ban and subsequent registration
> Assault weapon definitions: Specific models and firearms with one or more specific features
> Types of banned assault weapons: Rifles, shotguns, and pistols

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Connecticut
> Year ban first went into effect: 1993, expanded in 2013
> Assault weapon restrictions: Possession, sale, gifting, transport, import
> Exceptions to ban: Lawful ownership of weapon prior to bans with certification
> Assault weapon definitions: Specific models and firearms with one or more specific features
> Types of banned assault weapons: Rifles, shotguns, and pistols

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Delaware
> Year ban first went into effect: 2022
> Assault weapon restrictions: Possession, manufacture, sale, transfer, receipt
> Exceptions to ban: Lawful ownership prior to June 20, 2022, transfer to family member
> Assault weapon definitions: Specific models and firearms with one or more specific features
> Types of banned assault weapons: Rifles, shotguns, and pistols

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Hawaii
> Year ban first went into effect: 1992
> Assault weapon restrictions: Possession, manufacture, sale or other transfer, barter, trade, gift or acquisition
> Exceptions to ban: Lawful ownership prior to July 1, 1992 and subsequent registration
> Assault weapon definitions: Firearms with two or more specific features
> Types of banned assault weapons: Pistols only

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Illinois
> Year ban goes into effect: 2023
> Assault weapon restrictions: Possession, manufacture, sale, purchase
> Exceptions to ban: Lawful ownership prior to ban and registration before Jan. 1, 2024
> Assault weapon definitions: Specific models and firearms with some specific features
> Types of banned assault weapons: Rifles, shotguns, and pistols

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Maryland
> Year ban first went into effect: 1994, expanded in 2013
> Assault weapon restrictions: Possession, sale, transfer, purchase, receipt, transport
> Exceptions to ban: Lawful ownership and registration of assault pistol prior to Aug. 1, 1994 and lawful ownership of assault long gun before Oct. 1, 2013
> Assault weapon definitions: Firearms with two or more specific features
> Types of banned assault weapons: Rifles, shotguns, and pistols

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Massachusetts
> Year ban first went into effect: 1994
> Assault weapon restrictions: Possession, sale, transfer
> Exceptions to ban: Lawful ownership prior to Sept. 13, 1994
> Assault weapon definitions: Specific models and firearms with one or more specific features
> Types of banned assault weapons: Rifles, shotguns, and pistols

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New Jersey
> Year ban first went into effect: 1990
> Assault weapon restrictions: Possession, manufacture, transport, shipping, selling, disposal of
> Exceptions to ban: Officially licensed owners, lawful ownership prior to May 1, 1990 with subsequent registration
> Assault weapon definitions: Specific models and firearms with some specific features
> Types of banned assault weapons: Rifles, shotguns, and pistols

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New York
> Year ban first went into effect: 2013
> Assault weapon restrictions: Possession, manufacture, transport, disposal of
> Exceptions to ban: Lawful ownership prior to Jan. 15, 2013, registered before Jan. 15, 2014
> Assault weapon definitions: Firearms with one or more specific features
> Types of banned assault weapons: Rifles, shotguns, and pistols

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