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.
Brady Campaign score: 26
The state legislature has preempted the field of firearm regulation. No county, municipality or township may in any manner regulate the lawful ownership, possession or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws of the Commonwealth.
State Constitutional Provision: “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”
Article 1, Section 21.
Brady Campaign score: 35
Illinois policy says a buyer is required to show his Firearms Owner’s Identification Card (FOID) when purchasing any firearms or ammunition. Any seller is required to withhold delivery of any handgun for 72 hours, and of any rifle or shotgun for 24 hours, after the buyer and seller reach an agreement to purchase a firearm.
State Constitutional Provision: “Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Section 22, Article I of the Illinois Bill of Rights.4
Brady Campaign score: 44
In Rhode Island, a person must be 18 years old and not be prohibited by state and federal law from possessing a firearm to purchase a rifle or a shotgun.
State Constitutional Provision: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Article 1, Section 22.
Brady Campaign score: 45
Maryland does not regulate the sale of rifles or shotguns and no permit is required to purchase a rifle or shotgun. Maryland does regulate the sale, transfer, rent and possession of regulated firearms, which consist of handguns and assault weapons.
Maryland has no constitutional provision granting a right to bear arms.
Brady Campaign score: 50
In Hawaii, no person shall acquire the ownership of a firearm1, either by purchase, gift, inheritance, bequest, or in any other manner, whether procured in Hawaii or imported, until he has first procured from the chief of police of the county of his place of business, residence, or sojourn a permit to acquire.
State Constitutional Provision: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Article 1, Section 15.
Brady Campaign score: 58
Connecticut law states that a permit to carry a pistol or revolver is required to carry a handgun on or about one’s person, either openly or concealed, or in a vehicle. However, the Connecticut Board of Firearms Permit Examiners cautions that "every effort should be made to ensure that no gun is exposed to view or carried in a manner that would tend to alarm people who see it."
State Constitutional Provision: “Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”
Article 1, Section 15.
Brady Campaign score: 62
No permit is required for the purchase of a rifle or shotgun (except in New York City).
New York does not have a state constitutional provision in regard to gun rights.
Brady Campaign score: 65
In Massachusetts, a complex procedure is set out for the purchase of rifles, shotguns, handguns, their related feeding devices, ammunition, large capacity firearms and large capacity feeding devices. Care must be taken to have the correct card or license for a particular purchase.
State Constitutional Provision: "The people have a right to keep and bear arms for the common defense. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature, and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.”
Declaration of Rights, Article 17.
Brady Campaign score: 72
New Jersey states that it is unlawful to knowingly possess any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a Permit to Carry, and it is unlawful to knowingly possess any rifle or shotgun without having first obtained a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FID).
New Jersey does not have a
constitutional amendement affirming the gun rights of its residents.
Brady Campaign score: 81
The state known for the strictest gun laws is California.
In California, all firearms sales, transfers, including private transactions and sales at gun shows, must go through a California licensed firearms dealer.
California also has no provision in its state constitution that explicitly guarantees an individual the right to keep and bear arms.