Associated Press

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has developed a point system that measures the relative strength of all 50 states' gun laws, with states gaining points for laws that are strict and states losing points for laws that are more lenient.

States gain points for laws that require universal background checks, limit bulk firearms purchases and other similar gun laws. States lose points for laws that allow hidden, loaded guns in schools and in bars, allow concealed weapons in public without a permit and other similar laws.

The Gun Death Rank indicates the number of gun-related deaths the state has had in comparison with the other 50 states.

The state constitutional provisions and other state laws are quoted from NRA-ILA.

This list focuses on gun laws enacted after the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings.

The 10 states with the least restrictive gun laws

#10 - Delaware
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Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Grade: B-
Gun law rank: 10
Gun death rank: 30

Delaware gun laws include:
- Private firearms transfers are subject to a criminal background check.
- Background checks must be conducted on the prospective purchaser when neither the seller nor the buyer is a licensed dealer.
- Gun owners are required to report lost or stolen firearms.

State constitutional provision: “A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and state, and for hunting and recreational use.” Article 1, Section 20.

#9 - Rhode Island
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Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Grade: B+
Gun law rank: 9
Gun death rank: 48

Rhode Island requires:
- Background checks on private gun sales.
- A seven-day waiting period on all gun sales.
- Owners to report the loss or theft of firearms.

In 2014, gun laws changed by requiring reporting of mental health records to the FBI to improve background checks.

State constitutional provision: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Article 1, Section 2.

#8 - Illinois
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Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Grade: B+
Gun law rank: 8
Gun death rank: 38

Gun laws were strengthened in Illinois in 2013:
- Certain domestic abusers were prohibited from owning guns by revoking or seizing their Firearm Owner's Identification card (which allows them to possess firearms or ammunition) for the following reasons: if they were convicted within the past five years for battery, assault, aggravated assault, violation of an order of protection, and other similar offenses.
- The system for checking gun licenses was improved.
- Owners must report stolen or lost guns.

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.

#7 - Hawaii
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Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Grade: B+
Gun law rank: 7
Gun death rank: 49

Hawaii’s gun laws include:
- Child access prevention laws.
- Registration for most firearms.
- Ammunition regulation.

In 2014, Hawaii strengthened gun laws by requiring mental health records to be reported to the state and FBI to improve background checks.

State constitutional provision: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the rights of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Article 1, Section 15.

#6 - Massachusetts
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Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Grade: A-
Gun law rank: 6
Gun death rank: 50

Massachusetts gun laws include:
- Requiring reports of mental health records.
- Individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors are prohibited from owning firearms.

Massachusetts guns laws were strengthened in 2014. One measure was: Sellers are required to check a buyer's license validity in real time.

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.

#5 - New York
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Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Grade: A-
Gun law rank: 5
Gun death rank: 47

New York gun laws were strengthened in 2013:
- Background checks are required by a licensed firearms dealer prior to any transfer, sale, exchange or disposal of a firearm, with the exception between immediate family members.
- Bans on assault weapons and large capacity magazine bans were increased.
- Reporting lost and stolen guns became required.
- Safe storage laws were added.
- Ammunition sales became regulated.

New York’s state constitution has no provision, but Article 2, Section 3 of the New York Civil Rights Law provides: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed.”

#4 - Maryland
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Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Grade: A-
Gun law rank: 4
Gun death rank: 33

In 2013, Maryland gun laws were strengthened:
- Measures were enhanced to disarm dangerous individuals by allowing regulated firearms that are in violation of state law to be seized and disposed of by law enforcement.
- Handgun licenses became required.
- The assault weapons ban was increased.
- Large capacity magazines were banned.
- Reporting lost or stolen guns became required.

Maryland’s state constitution has no provisions relating to the right to bear arms.

#3 - New Jersey
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Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Grade: A-
Gun law rank: 3
Gun death rank: 46

New Jersey gun laws were strengthened in 2013 by:
- Banning people on the federal terrorist watchlist from purchasing firearms.
- Reporting of mental health records for background checks.

Permits and background checks are required for all gun sales.

New Jersey’s state constitution has no provisions relating to the keeping or bearing of arms.

#2 - Connecticut
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Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Grade: A-
Gun law rank: 2
Gun death rank: 45

While no new gun laws were enacted in 2014, Connecticut gun laws were strengthened in 2013:
- Restrictions were tightened against domestic abusers.
- Large capacity ammunition magazines were banned.
- A gun offender registry was created.
- Permits are required for the purchases of long guns and ammunition.
- The assault weapons ban was strengthened.

State Constitutional Provision: “Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.” Article 1, Section 15.

#1 - California
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Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Grade: A-
Gun law rank: 1
Gun death rank: 42

Gun laws in California include:
- All firearms sales, transfers, including private transactions and sales at gun shows, must go through a licensed firearms dealer.
- All gun sales require a background check.
- Most assault weapons and large capacity magazines are banned.

In 2014, gun laws were strengthened with several laws, including the Gun Violence Restraining Order law, Assembly Bill No. 1014, which aims to keep guns away from dangerous people.

On Saturday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation to ban the concealed carry of handguns at colleges and schools, according to The Sacramento Bee.

California’s state constitution has no right to bear arms provisions.