Oklahoma has very few gun laws and further weakened those laws in 2020 by preventing local governments from enacting tail risk laws. The state has the 11th highest number of gun deaths in the country. To protect residents from gun violence, Oklahoma legislatures should enact extreme risk legislation, require background checks and wait times for all gun sales, and strengthen protections against domestic violence and violent hate crimes. Louisiana has some of the weakest gun laws in the country and further weakened those laws in 2020 by expanding the ability of secret carry permit holders to bring guns into places of worship. The state has the sixth highest gun death rate. Policies that legislators should consider to save lives from gun violence include funding intervention programs for community violence and requiring background checks for all gun sales. It ranked fourth in gun deaths and is one of the five states with the highest rate of gun homicides, according to Everytown. New Mexico has tightened its gun laws in recent years, including passing a Extreme Risk Protection Act in 2020 that raised the state`s rating from C to C+. The number of gun deaths in New Mexico, the fourth-highest in the country, has yet to catch up with recently toughened gun laws. To build on the progress of 2019 and 2020, New Mexico lawmakers should fund proven community violence intervention programs, ban undetectable and untraceable firearms, and enact legislation banning violent hate crimes from accessing firearms. Kansas has some of the weakest gun laws in the country. The state has the 21st highest number of gun deaths. To save lives from gun violence, lawmakers should make it harder for people who commit domestic violence and violent hate crimes to access firearms, repeal the state`s dangerous unlicensed carry law, and pass a tail risk protection law to make it easier for people in crisis to temporarily remove guns.
With all the changes still taking place in quick sessions, time will tell, as the upcoming annual review of U.S. gun laws will show the country`s firearms regulatory landscape. Georgia has very weak gun laws. The state has the 14th highest gun death rate, and guns used in crimes committed in other states come from Georgia at more than double the national rate. To save lives from gun violence, Georgia should require background checks and wait times for all gun purchases, and ban those convicted of domestic violence from owning firearms. North Carolina has significant leeway to improve its gun safety laws. The state has the 23rd highest number of gun deaths in the country. Among the improvements North Carolina should make to its gun laws are funding community violence intervention programs and passing legislation to protect against extreme risks. “Gun ownership is higher in states with fewer restrictions, and homicide rates are lower in those states. People can protect themselves,” Joyce Lee Malcolm, professor emerita at George Mason University, told Fox News Digital about what she discovered through her research. Malcolm pointed to a 1986 study on burglars, which found that 34 percent of burglars surveyed said they had been “frightened, shot, injured or captured by an armed victim.” Mississippi has the lowest gun laws with a score of 3 out of 100 and has a rate of 28.6 gun deaths per 100,000 residents — the highest of any state, according to research. Alaska was one of the few states with high rates of gun ownership and homicide, recording six gun murders per 100,000 residents, with more than 64 percent of households owning guns.
But Alaska`s exceptional status may have more to do with other factors, such as the state`s prolonged dark periods and related crime, and associated depression rates. Alaska was also among the states where violent crime and homicide declined in 2020, seeing an overall 18.5 percent drop in crime this year. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that devastated Connecticut in 2012, the state pursued several new gun reform efforts, ranging from universal background checks and expanding the state`s assault weapons ban to restricting sales of high-capacity ammunition magazines. “I`ve seen first-hand in California that the work we`ve done to strengthen gun laws has been both life-saving and effective,” said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “Gun laws work, and we need them at every level to ensure that offenders, domestic offenders, and people with mental health issues can`t just go to the neighboring state to circumvent the very laws that are supposed to keep guns out of their hands.” Ohio has significant leeway to improve gun safety and recently expanded its dangerous Stand Your Ground law. The state has the 22nd highest number of gun deaths. To save lives from gun violence, Ohio lawmakers should require universal background checks, introduce extreme risk legislation, strengthen protection from domestic violence, and enact laws banning violent hate crimes from accessing guns.
California has the strictest gun laws in the United States and is often a leader in implementing new approaches to gun safety. The state has the seventh lowest gun death rate in the country. To further strengthen its gun laws, California should increase funding for community violence prevention programs and strengthen gun removal processes for those subject to judicial protection orders. “Low-end state lawmakers can`t pretend to ignore the importance of gun laws after reviewing this report,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, which has been in action since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 20 children and six educators. is fighting for gun safety measures. While some states with low gun homicide rates have high gun friendliness scores, this is likely due to the fact that they are sparsely populated states with few or no major cities. Historically, violent crime has tended to be lower in rural areas than in more densely populated metropolitan areas. The research team then ranked the list of gun safety policies based on their effectiveness, evaluated each state based on its implementation of those policies, and compared that score to gun death rates in each state, he said.