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Firearm Preemption Laws

NRA - ILA  | Published on 5/22/2021

Gun control supporters demand that state legislatures impose a wide variety of gun control restrictions within their borders. However, they hypocritically cry foul when legislatures use their power to limit gun control. Frustrated at their inability to convince state legislatures to adopt the restrictive firearm laws they propose, gun control supporters say that local jurisdictions should be able to adopt those restrictions independently.

Aside from gun control supporters’ hypocrisy, there are multiple arguments against local restrictions on basic firearm rights. Historically, some local jurisdictions have imposed clearly unconstitutional restrictions on gun ownership—the District of Columbia’s and Chicago’s since-overturned handgun bans being two recent examples. It also creates confusion when laws vary widely within a state, potentially placing otherwise law-abiding citizens at risk of violating an ordinance of which they were not previously aware, as they travel within their states, and more so when they travel outside their state of residence.

As a result, almost all states today have a law prohibiting local jurisdictions from imposing gun control restrictions that are more severe than state law.