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Are States Hindering the Second Amendment?

One of the biggest issues with gun laws, from purchasing a hunting shotgun to acquiring a concealed-carry permit, is that the state-to-state regulations vary widely. A citizen in one state can purchase a firearm and carry a concealed weapon, while someone in another state has a nearly impossible task if they want to own and carry a handgun.

This brings up a common question among supporters of firearms and concealed-carry rights: are states hindering the Second Amendment?

States and Concealed-Carry Laws

Proponents of gun ownership and concealed-carry rights argue that states are seizing guns and restricting the rights of individuals to protect themselves, their families, and their property. A report from Malia Zimmerman of Fox News cited a Navy veteran having his collectible firearms seized because of a dispute with a neighbor. These practices may be legal according to state law, but are they legal according to federal law?

There is also an argument that states are enacting laws that make it nearly impossible to acquire a defense weapon or a concealed-carry permit. For example, in California you need a permit to purchase a handgun, rifle, or shotgun. In New York, you need a permit to purchase a handgun and must register the firearm and have proper licensing.

Supremacy Clause and the Second Amendment

In the second paragraph of Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, there is a section known as the “supremacy clause.” This clause essentially says that when in doubt, federal law has supremacy over state law. Therefore, if you believe that the Second Amendment gives citizens the right to purchase and carry firearms as they see fit, then you could argue that under the supremacy clause, states could be hindering the Second Amendment.

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