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Gun Laws Are Significant Factor in Rate of Gun Deaths

Relying on almost 20 years of experience analyzing state firearms laws, Legal Community Against Violence (LCAV) has ranked the firearms laws of all fifty states in its most recent report, “Gun Laws Matter: A Comparison of State Firearms Laws and Statistics.” The report compares firearm-related statistics, such as gun ownership and gun deaths, and concludes that the states with the strongest gun laws and lowest percentage of household gun ownership tend to have the lowest gun death rates.

“When we juxtaposed our ranking of state firearms laws with state gun death rates, we saw an obvious connection between the two,” noted LCAV’s Executive Director Robyn Thomas. “Policymakers need to know that gun regulation does make a difference.”

The new report displays each state’s firearms law ranking on a map that also indicates how each state’s gun death rate compares to the national average.

In addition, Gun Laws Matter provides examples of the strongest and weakest components of existing firearms laws and lists the states that have enacted them. The report details the laws of the two states at the opposite ends of the spectrum: California, which has the strongest laws, and Arizona, which has the weakest. California, with a gun death rate well below the national average, has enacted a wide variety of laws regulating firearms. These include innovate measures such as requiring handgun microstamping (technology that allows a firearm to imprint a serial number and other information onto a cartridge case when a handgun is fired), banning 50 caliber rifles, and requiring handgun ammunition sales record-keeping.

Conversely, Arizona, which has a gun death rate well above the national average, imposes almost no regulation on firearms and has enacted irresponsible measures such as allowing firearms to be carried openly or concealed without a permit, allowing loaded guns in establishments that serve alcohol, and declaring that firearms and ammunition made and kept in the state are not subject to federal law.