The vast majority of states have no restrictions on what are called assault weapons.
While the term is often used, there is no one definition of what constitutes an assault weapon. Depending on who is doing the defining, assault weapons can be fully automatic or semi-automatic, handguns or longer guns like rifles.
Congress banned assault weapons from 1994 to 2004, but there were many loopholes — weapons purchased before the ban could still be possessed and sold, for example — and in general, the ban’s effectiveness was sharply debated. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, has said she plans to introduce new legislation in early 2013 to ban assault weapons in the state.
States with mandatory checks for assault weapons:
Illegal to possess, import or purchase assault weapons and .50 BMG rifles, unless weapons were acquired by the owner prior to June 1, 1989.
In Denver, the sale and possession of assault weapons are banned, including "semi-automatic action" weapons and magazines with 21 or more rounds.
People under 21 are prohibited from purchasing "military-style" weapons.
Cook County and the city of Chicago ban the possession of assault weapons.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law a sweeping package of gun-control measures on January 16, 2013. The new laws significantly expand a ban on assault weapons and make New York the first state to change its laws in response to the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. It further restricts assault weapons to define them by a single feature, such as a pistol grip. Current law requires two features. The law also makes the unsafe storage of assault weapons a misdemeanor.
- New Jersey
Assault weapons are allowed with a license.
Partial ban includes selective fire weapons, some .50 BMG rifles, weapons with specific restricted features and listed brands of semi-automatic assault weapons.
The state bans the sale and possession of what are defined as "assault pistols."