New gun laws in 2019: What to know

Gun laws are set to get tougher in some states this year.

Gun control rose to the forefront of the national discussion amid a number of deadly mass shootings throughout recent years – and a number of initiatives were approved by voters on state ballots during the 2018 midterm elections.

To help curb gun violence, the federal government last month issued a ban on so-called bump stocks – an attachment that allows semiautomatic rifles to fire more rapidly. The device allows a weapon to fire at nearly the rate of an automatic firearm.

Here’s a look at some of the measures changing in states this year:


The state of Washington will not sell semiautomatic (or assault) rifles to individuals under the age of 21. The previous age limit was 18.

Additionally, purchasers will be required to wait 10 days before they acquire the weapon and will have had to have completed a training course within the past five years. The law also implements stricter background checks.

Parts of the law went into effect on Jan.1 – including the new age limit, though other parts will take effect in July.


A number of new gun regulations will be implemented in California in 2019. Among them is an expansion of who can be banned from owning a gun to include people involuntarily committed to a mental health facility under certain circumstances and individuals convicted of a domestic violence crime.


On Jan. 1, a new law went into effect protecting partners of potentially violent individuals. Lawmakers have referred to the law as closing “the boyfriend loophole:” it expands an existing statute to prevent partners from buying and keeping guns if they have a domestic violence or stalking conviction, or are under a restraining order. Previously, the law only protected spouses.


Illinois implemented a new law that creates a system for taking a firearm away from an individual identified as a potential risk to themselves or others, known as the “Red Flag Bill.” A family member or police officer can initiate the process for people who exhibit warning signs.

Additionally, the state extended its waiting – or “cool off” – period for all firearm purchases to 72 hours.