In a blow to gun-regulation proponents, a review by the Associated Press (AP) has found that during the last two years, 24 states, mostly in the Southwest, have passed 47 new laws loosening gun restrictions.
Among them are Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and Utah that have made it illegal for businesses to prevent their employees from storing guns in cars parked on company lots, while Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Virginia have made some or all handgun permit information confidential, according to the news agency.
The AP also notes that Tennessee and Montana have passed laws that exempt weapons made and owned in-state from federal restrictions.
While this may be welcome news to proponents of the Second Amendment rights, not everyone is happy with these developments.
Kristin Rand, legislative director at the Violence Policy Center, a gun control group in Washington, says they are the result of the "stranglehold" the National Rifle Association (NRA) holds on many state legislatures.
"They basically have convinced lawmakers they can cost them their seats, even though there’s no real evidence to back that up," she said, quoted by the news provider.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates that the number of new guns in the U.S. increases by about 4.5 million each year.