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10 states with the strictest gun laws

Published: Wednesday, April 17 2013 10:36 a.m. MDT

Associated Press

For the fifth year in a row, the Brady Campaign has issued a 100-point scorecard ranking all 50 states on the basis of laws that can reduce gun violence, such as background checks on all gun sales, permit-to-purchase requirements and limiting handgun purchases to one a month.

Their report ranks states for laws that were enacted by the end of 2011.

The Brady Campaign is the nation's largest citizens' lobby to prevent gun violence.

Here is the top 10 list of the states with the strictest gun laws.

The state constitutional provisions and other state laws are quoted from NRA-ILA.
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m.g. scott
clearfield, UT

Amazing the number of rules and requirements a state governments can put on a constitutional right. Let them try that with the 1st Amendment and see what happens.

codger
Southwest Utah, UT

These states now need to pass laws restricting bombs. Bombs larger than a firecracker should be outlawed. Nobody needs to own a bomb, but those who think they need a bomb for sports, at least they should have to undergo a background check.

American First
Merced, CA

No surprise they're all ice cold blue states...however it's ironic that these are the states with the highest amount of gun violence, especially with unregistered firearms.

Voice of Reason
Layton, UT

The cold, hard statistical fact is that if you compare States' Brady rankings, and their FBI crime rankings, there is an inverse relationship between the strictness of gun laws and low violent crime rates. In other words, stricter gun laws correlate with higher violent crime rates.

Reducing gun ownership does not - repeat, does NOT - reduce crime...it actually contributes to an INCREASE in crime. This is supported by real-world statistical reality.

Counter Intelligence
Salt Lake City, UT

I am NOT a gun person: I avoid them like the plague. However the fact that the latest gun tragedies have occurred in gun free zones is a fact that is not lost on me. Additionally; gun free zones did nothing to stop Texas knife attacks or Boston bombs. Instead of the left-wing media carrying Obama’s water regarding gun control: how about some stories on the effects of Hollywood violence on culture in general or an increased focus on mental health?

snowman
Provo, UT

I can see that at least two of those states do not follow the constitution

Obama10
SYRACUSE, UT

So Illinois is "hailed" in this report for strict gun laws, yet Chicago is out of control with the highest murder rate in the country. California and New York also have high murder rates, yet strict gun control. The blinders are coming off ordinary citizens and they can no longer be scared with such "useless" facts.

CPA Howard
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

The definition of infringed: To encroach on someone or something. Enough said, the consitution is very clear. Instead of defaulting to the argument that guns are the problem, we should examine the other possible causes, video games, graphic violence in movies, and the use of behavior modifing drugs.

When we've addressed these possible causes then let circle back to guns as a possible problem.

LindonMan
Lindon, UT

I am writing to my representatives today to demand pressure cooker control! I also want natural disaster control, old age control, and car control! Are we not for the children?.... Man, the liberal media is messed up. Keep slurping the Obama Kool-Aid guys, more people are turning you off.

Cougar on The Hill
Midvale, UT

I'm loving the comments on this article. I think we're all growing tired of the left-wing hatred for the 2nd ammendment. I'm so happy that the expanded background checks bill was shut down today. I know the fight isn't over though..
On a slightly different note, isn't it sad that with all that's been going on with North Korea, one of Obama's biggest concerns is our gun rights? There are threats from N. Korea that they will use nuclear bombs, and here's Obama and all the gun grabbers trying to take away guns. SMH

rvalens2
Burley, ID

When pressure cookers are outlawed, only Outlaws will have pressure cookers.

rvalens2
Burley, ID

One good man or woman armed with a gun might have stopped the shootings at:

Sandy Hook Elementary
Aurora Colorado Theater

When will Liberal / Progressives ever learn that the weapon is not the problem. It's the kook behind the weapon that's the problem; whether that is Kim Jong Un or Timothy McVey.

Criminals do not obey the countless laws already on the books. All these new "Feel Good" laws do is infringe upon the rights of the law abiding citizen, making it more costly for them to obtain and keep a weapon to protect themselves and their loved ones.

rvalens2
Burley, ID

Isn't it interesting that you never encounter someone who is for outlawing guns who will post a sign in their yard that says,

"This home is a gun free zone."

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Isn't it interesting, despite CA and NY's large gang population they are not in the top 10 (per capita) for highest number of firearm homicides? However, many southern states have the highest per capita rates for homicides using firearms.

josephscott
Sandy, UT

@Voice of Reason
I took a quick look at the 2011 FBI state violent crime rate (per 100,000) stats and the Brady state rankings. I'm not seeing the "inverse relationship" that you indicated existed, though I'll continue to look closer.

For instance #1 on the Brady list was California, but that state is only the 18th most violent on the FBI list. FBI stat shows 411.1 for violent crimes per 100,000 people. Far below the Alaska rate of 606.5. Alaska is in a three way tie for last place on the Brady list.

2nd on the Brady list is New Jersey, which ranks as 29th most violent on the FBI list (308.4). Arizona, also tied for last place on the Brady list is 20th most violent on the FBI list (405.9).

These are only a few data points, but they are sufficient to demonstrate that the relationships aren't quiet as clear cut as you had suggested.

I tried to link to the FBI crime stats page, but it was rejected by the moderators.

DN Subscriber 2
SLC, UT

It is amazing that every year the Brady bunch puts out their "rankings" and the media dutifully prints every last word as if it is Gospel truth brought down from the Mount by Moses or something.

How about at least a mention that the Center for Disease Control did a study, hoping to validate that gun control laws worked, but were shocked to discover that actual research into facts showed that there was NO EVIDENCE that ANY of the various gun control or gun ban schemes so beloved by the Brady bunch actually had any measurable effect on reducing crime.

That is the real story about the effectiveness of gun laws, regardless of the annual advocacy nonsense sent out by some partisan group.

How about some comments from the NRA, or local gun rights leaders on the Brady stuff?

Linus
Bountiful, UT

I only wish our governor would protect our second amendment rights as enthusiastically as our legislature is inclined to do. I'm really disappointed in the governor's veto of the constitutional carry bill. Utah had a chance to speak in defense of the constitution loud and clear. Isn't that what we are supposed to do? Wouldn't it be amazing if everyone who raised his hand and swore to defend the constitution really did?

raybies
Layton, UT

It's funny how the states I would feel the least secure in (like New Jersey or California) are also those with the highest level of gun control.

Mr.Glass
Salt Lake City, UT

The Supreme Court has ruled that reasonable gun restrictions are constitutional, so those of you who are so confident some of the states' laws are unconstitutional are holding opinions contrary to even the most conservative member of the court.

States with the most stricture gun laws have less gun violence. Those who feel less safe from gun violence in such states are simply basing their fears on perception, not fact.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

"The state known for the strictest gun laws is California."

-----------------

Gosh! Who'd a thunk it!!??

The state with one of the worst managerial records is the one with the strictest gun laws.

Good'ol California. Nice place to come from.

Lindsay
Payson, UT

New Yorks gun laws just changed, I wonder if the Brady ranking took that into account or if that score was based on old rules. The new laws there make me glad I live here.

Noodlekaboodle
Poplar Grove, UT

@MG Scott
I'm guessing that you aren't aware that the 1st amendment isn't just freedom of religion. It's freedom of all types of expression. What i'm trying to say is that we already have restrictions on the 1st amendment. You can't yell fire in a crowded theater, Slander and libel aren't allowed, and the FCC is ok to regulate TV and radio. How is that not a restriction on the 1st amendment?

PDonty
Tooele, UT

@Noodlekaboodle: "You can't yell fire in a crowded theater, Slander and libel aren't allowed..."

That's an apples to oranges comparison. You can yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater all day long. You can slander and libel anyone you want. But there are consequences to those actions, just as there are consequences to USING a firearm inappropriately.

The proper comparison between 1st and 2nd amendment rights would be preemptively cutting out someone's tongue so they are completely unable to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater.

Foxtrot
Mountain View, CA

There are so many "cold hard facts" making crap up too. The states that have the strictest laws DO NOT have the highest gun violence. Without doing the math it seems there is relatively little correlation between strict laws and gun violence. Unfortunately, the biggest explanatory value that I can guess is race and poverty. But that isn't nice to talk about. Here is the data, stop making up inflammatory garbage statements. Not all liberals are bad, not all conservatives are either, but I guess it makes you feel better..

Won't let me post a URL. Go to Wikipedia, gun violence by state.

Voice of Reason
Layton, UT

josephscott,

You have to do a scatterplot of the Brady ranks vs. FBI violent crime ranks for all fifty states then do a trendline of the graph, all of which I have done. In a previous job of mine I was responsible for tracking crime trends for a large Utah city, so I have some experience in this regard. The trendline is clearly as I stated, although it may or may not be steep enough to be statistically significant to a 95% confidence interval; I haven't dug into it that deep.

There are numerous other factors affecting violent crime rates besides gun laws, of course...for example, if you remove urban cores from the national statistics, the national gun violence rate drops to something like Belgium's, at least it did ten or so years ago. I'm confident it would be similar today. In other words, the vast majority of our nation's gun violence comes from inner-city crime, much of it gang related...NOT from law-abiding gun owners in suburban and rural areas. I think that's why we have a divide between liberal urban areas that want strict gun laws, and the rest of the country that doesn't.

m.g. scott
clearfield, UT

NoodleKaboodle

Glad you asked. First off, yes I know that the 1st Amendment is not just about speech, but that was the part I was referring to. In answer to your point, yes there is restriction of some forms of speech or expression on TV or radio, But there is not any restriction on that same speech in other venues. Like cable TV. Or certain websites, or satellite radio. So restrictions on speech are not universal, just subject to certain jurisdictions. What the 2nd Amendment defenders are worried about is the Federal Government making national restrictions that cover all parts of the country.

Foxtrot
Mountain View, CA

Voice of Reason - finally a well written, well thought out and articulate reason. Thank you. I would like to see some further testing finding the true explanatory factors and even TEST what really strict laws would do. Does California, controlled for differences, have a lower rate of gun violence than Texas or Arizona?

Someone has got to have done this.

Nan BW
ELder, CO

From article by William P. Hoar: "FBI data for 2011 indicate that almost 13,000 people were murdered with a weapon... Of those, 323 were killed with rifles of all types." The data indicate that more were killed with "bare hands." What should we do about that? There much more about firearms restrictions and the results, but it would not all fit in the space. The author's conclusion was that gun laws do not reduce crime.

Voice of Reason
Layton, UT

Foxtrot,

Not sure what you mean by "finally," since a LOT of research has been done on the subject on both sides of the issue. I think the truth may be that liberal urban cores may feel they need super-strict gun laws, and maybe in some cases they actually do because of the much higher gun violence problems there, while the rest of the country outside of large cities don't need or want stricter gun laws, because they truly do not need them and such laws would actually make matters worse.

"Controlling for differences" is very vague and way beyond the scope of these posts, but Texas and Arizona both have lower violent crime rates than California. The real issue is, why is the left not focusing on the REAL problem, which is not the existence of guns per se? The REAL problem is societal...why do young men - and they are overwhelmingly male - commit crimes at such hugely higher rates in inner cities than the rest of the country? Looking at the breakdown of families and faith in the home would be a great start to answering that question.

sportsfan21
OREM, UT

Here are some trends that people should be aware of: Gun Violence has a much stronger correlation with population than anything. Gun laws typically reduce gun related crime rates. Louisiana and Missouri are the 2 states with the highest gun murder rates (7.7 and 5.4 per 1000 people). Many people have mentioned New York and Illinois as examples of gun law failures, but they are 22nd and 25th in Gun related murders, behind Arizona and Texas.

You can try to avoid the facts, but stricter gun laws do decrease gun related crimes. As a country, gun laws have become stricter over the past 30 years and fewer people own guns. The result? Fewer gun related crimes.

Sources: FBI 2010 Crime Report and Uniform Crime Reporting Program 1960- 2008

Voice of Reason
Layton, UT

sportfan21,

I'm sorry, but that is simply not true. You are focusing on four states out of 50 to support your conclusion. Here are the following violent crime statistics for ALL 50 States, broken down by top & bottom half rankings of their Brady Scores (higher rank=stricter gun laws):

25 strictest gun law states: 357 violent crimes per 100,000
25 least strict gun law states: 348 violent crimes per 100,000

A very small difference and probably not statistically significant, but stricter gun laws actually happen in MORE VIOLENT states, and less strict gun laws are in LESS VIOLENT states. If you limit your figures to the top & bottom 10 strictest states, the gap actually widens.

Summary: Stricter gun laws do NOT lead to safer states...in fact, there's evidence that they lead to LESS safety.

Sources: The Brady Project, 2012 FBI UCR Report

jskains
Orem, UT

Great list of states I won't live in.

wYo8
Rock Springs, WY

One of my children worked with a person who lived in Chicago who hated guns, had relatives die from violence. Moved away from Chicago. Seen a different perspective on guns and lifestyle. They now have a different view have seen that law abiding citizens are not the problem with guns. They do receive greaf from family living in Chicago about gun rights. So maybe taking violence out of people is the better solution, than trying to just unarm people. Violent people will turn to other forms of violence. Imagine gang bangers throwing bombs around to protect their drug turf and profits, etc.

Itsjstmeagain
Merritt Island, Fl

Gun regulations at a Federal level would level the playing field for all States. It would end/curtail gun running from a weak State to a strong State. It is only a start. Criminals using or possessing a gun during a crime would receive severe mandatory penalties. Make the penalties imposed by the Feds for all States. Ending gun violence is the ultimate goal, again this is a start.

I would like to see verifiable evidence that a non law enforcement 'good guy' with a gun stopped a 'bad guy' with a gun. What was the damage to others and property. Make this an honest comment, not the typical rhetoric that comes from the gun lobby.

morph2020
Oneonta, AL

This is to Itsjstmeagain who has asked for verifiable evidence that a non law enforcement "goog guy" with a gun stopped a "bad guy" with a gun.

I can provide that. I was sleeping at 1:30AM on a crisp autumn night. I suddenly woke up not knowing what had awakened me. I lay still for a moment before I heard again the snap of a footstep through my open window. I rolled out of bed and crept below the window ledge to wake up my mother. She got up and turned on all of the outdoor lights, leaving the indoor lights off. The prowler then knew his game was up, so he went to the front porch. My aging German Shepard whose hearing had failed her earlier was now awake and began lunging at the glass in the door. I got the family rifle from a closet and sat on the floor opposite the front door My mother stood to one side while I aimed at his chest. We made eye contact. He said he would leave, but he made two more trips around the house before he did leave. I was 14, but now am 70.

morph2020
Oneonta, AL

Here are some further comments regarding my posting. First, my two surviving sisters were present at the incident and can corroborate my story. Second, the severity of punishment does not deter crime, but only the certainty of it. Pickpockets used to work the crowds at the hanging of other pickpockets in London. When a criminal comes face to face with deadly force, he is already "caught" and has lost the probability game.

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. They will tell you that.

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