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January 20, 2022

New Tool and Website Ranks Every State Based on the Strength of their Gun Laws, from California to Mississippi

Analysis Shows States With Strong Gun Safety Policies Have Lower Rates of Gun Violence; Compares 50 Laws Across the Nation

Missouri is Among the 13 Worst States in the Country (“National Failures”), which Have Nearly Three Times the Rate of Gun Deaths as the Eight Best States (“Gun Safety Leaders”)

NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund today unveiled a new online tool and website that shows the direct correlation between a state’s gun laws and the state’s rate of gun deaths. The tool shows that Missouri has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, scoring a 9 out of a possible 100, while experiencing the fourth-highest rate of gun deaths. The new analysis concludes that states with strong gun safety policies, such as background checks on all gun sales and extreme risk laws, have lower rates of gun violence while states with weaker gun laws, such as permitless gun carry and Stand Your Ground, have higher rates of gun violence.

Missouri has none of the foundational gun violence prevention laws, and in 2007, the state repealed an 80-year-old permit to purchase requirement—leading to an increase in gun homicide of up to 27 percent. Only eight of the 50 top policies are in place in Missouri, and legislators have shown no momentum for passing gun safety protections, despite the fact that Missouri has one of the highest rates of gun deaths and is home to St. Louis, which has had the highest rate of gun murders among all cities in the country. This year, lawmakers have the opportunity to close a dangerous gap in state law by passing HB 1655 and SB 936, bills that would prohibit convicted domestic abusers from possessing firearms.  

The interactive web tool includes:

  • A unique ranking system that ranks all 50 states based on the strength of their gun laws and policies, looking across 50 different gun policies – from California at number one to Mississippi at the very bottom;
  • A U.S. map for each gun safety policy indicating which states have adopted that policy; 
  • Side-by-side comparisons that provide analysis across policies for all states and across states for all policies. 
    • For example, the two states with the lowest rates of gun violence – Hawaii and Massachusetts – both rank in the top 4 for strength of gun laws, while Mississippi has both the highest rate of gun deaths and the weakest gun laws in the country;
  • A complete list of gun policies that exist in every state.

“It’s never been clearer: strong gun laws save lives,” said Nick Suplina, Senior Vice President of Law and Policy at Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. “States now have a roadmap to keeping their residents safe — it’s time they implement it. This comprehensive tool and website allow lawmakers, volunteers, researchers, and others the opportunity to see how their state measures up and how to reduce gun violence by improving gun safety policies.”

Comparing gun policy across 50 states, and lining up each state’s gun violence deaths with the strength of its laws, there is a clear pattern: in states where government  officials have taken action to implement gun safety policies, fewer people die by gun violence. States that have failed to put basic protections into their laws and policies or continually weaken their gun laws and policies have higher rates of gun deaths, nearly triple that of states that are national leaders in gun safety.

Additional components from Everytown’s Gun Law Rankings:

  • The tool provides a roadmap showing what a state needs to do to build a comprehensive and ideal gun safety system
  • The tool provides a description of 50 gun safety laws, showing how each policy works to prevent gun violence 
  • The interactive website will answer such questions as:
    • What new gun safety policies can I consider to further reduce gun violence in my state?
    • Which states have adopted an Extreme Risk or secure firearm storage law?
    • What policies help keep guns out of the wrong hands?
    • How does my state rank in terms of rate of gun deaths?

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