From constitutional carry and ghost gun legislation to TSA confiscation records—and a year of gun sales that might surprise some—2021 was a year to remember for firearms enthusiasts, manufacturers, and owners alike. Including one of the more notable self-defense cases in United States history.
Let’s take a look back at the year in firearms that was 2021.
NEW STATE LAWS
New Lone Star Law. Everything’s bigger in Texas, including changes to existing gun law. On September 1st, Texans could legally carry handguns without a license—provided they weren’t prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun. Proponents of what Texas Republicans called “constitutional carry” insisted that Texas should join 20 other states with similar laws—and in the end they carried the day in the state legislature.
Nothing To Hide In Utah. Background checks, and the need for a permit, to carry a concealed weapon were eliminated in The Beehive State, starting on May 5th. (Background checks are still required, along with a form 4473 for the purchase/transfer of a firearm for an individual without a carry license.)
Under Lock & Key In Colorado. A new Colorado law requires that firearms accessible by children or prohibited individuals be securely stored, either with a locking device, or inside a locked gun safe when not in the control of the gun’s owner.
Iowans Can Carry. The Hawkeye State got rid of the need for a permit to buy a handgun or carry a concealed weapon with a law that went into effect on July 1st.
Tennessee Relaxes Restrictions, Cracks Down On Theft. On July 1st a new law went into effect in Tennessee that allows people 21 and older to carry handguns openly or concealed without a permit—along with members of the military ages 18 to 20. In addition, Tennessee law raised the theft of a firearm from a misdemeanor to a felony—mandating six months of incarceration, an increase from a 30-day sentence. Felons convicted of possessing a firearm are also barred from early release.
No State Tax In West Virginia. All small firearms and ammunition purchased in West Virginia didn’t require a state sales tax beginning on July 1st.
New York Won’t Be Ghosted. Two new laws in New York state crack down on “ghost guns” and gun assembly. The Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms, which criminalizes the sale of what politicians call “ghost guns” and requires gunsmiths to register firearms they assemble—along with unfinished frames or receivers they assemble. The Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act prohibits possession and sale of unfinished frames or receivers. It’s interesting to note that the term “ghost gun” has no legal federal definition and is a term used to negatively characterize guns assembled from parts by a purchaser.
Show Me The Second Amendment. Missouri passed the Second Amendment Preservation Act this spring. It forbids state agencies from helping the federal government enforce any law, rule, or regulation which Missouri considers an infringement on the right to bear arms. Violations in the Show Me State carry a penalty up to $50,000.
TSA really takes them away. 2021 was a record-breaking year for the Transportation Security Administration—as the confiscated more guns than ever in a single year. Passengers aren’t allowed to carry firearms on their person or in carry-on luggage through security. Approximately 5,700 firearms were confiscated and turned over to local law enforcement. The rate of detection for the TSA has increased from 5 firearms per one million passengers in 2019 to 11 firearms per million in 2021.
Bump stock ban affirmed. As of this writing, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth District has affirmed the government ban on “bump stocks” implemented after the high-profile 2017 shooting tragedy in Las Vegas. Bump stock advocates are currently seeking US Supreme court review of a separate challenge to the bump stock ban in the Tenth Circuit. For more about bump stocks, check out our previous blog article on the subject by clicking HERE.
Rittenhouse trial. After two weeks of testimony, and 27 hours of jury deliberation, 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges stemming from protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse was determined to be not guilty of five counts brought against him. The jury declined to consider lesser versions of several counts as well.
Booming sales—according to background checks. 2021 turned out to be the second-most background check in conjunction with a gun sale year in history. Guns purchased in conjunction with a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check produced record-results—trailing only 2020. Although not an exact measure of total firearm sales or sales dollars, NICS is used to check transactions for sales, or transfers, of new or used firearms. While the NICS numbers are a good general barometer for fluctuations in gun sales, those numbers don’t include states where individuals with a carry permit can purchase without a background check, private party sales, or sales where multiple firearms are purchased in a single transaction.
That’s a quick snapshot of the year in guns that was 2021. Like most years, there was good news and bad news for gun owners. But the very good news is that, if you own a gun, Firearms Legal Protection can make sure you get premier legal defense protection in the event you’re forced to use your firearm for self-defense.
Not only will we continue to keep our eye on the firearms industry and everything that relates to it—legal and otherwise—we’ll keep an eye on how we can best serve you. Check out Firearms Legal Protection today.