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Gun Laws: California Is Tops; Connecticut 5th Best

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California is a model of sensible gun laws. Its universal background check system, strong gun dealer regulations, and assault clip ban are just some of the laws that provide a roadmap to preventing gun violence. Meanwhile, Arizona, Alaska, and Utah do not have a single common sense gun law on their books, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Connecticut comes in fifth according to CT News Junkie.

For the 4th year in a row, the Brady Campaign has released a 100-point scorecard ranking all 50 states on the basis of laws that can prevent gun violence, such as background checks on all gun sales, permit-to-purchase requirements, and laws that help police crack down on corrupt gun dealers. Today’s report – which features an inter-active U.S. map that flashes scores – ranks states for laws that were in effect by the end of 2010. It reveals that 31 states have few gun laws or none, while the six states that rank in the top tier, including California, which earned 80 points, have strong and effective gun laws. Arizona, Alaska, and Utah earned 0 points.

“After the Tucson shootings, there was a public outcry, once again, over gun violence. With each new high-profile shooting, people wonder why. Why do these tragedies happen? What can we do to stop them?” said Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke. “California is a perfect example of how much more every state in America could do to protect our families and communities from the dangers and destruction of guns. Sensible gun laws save lives, as shown by states like California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Hawaii. That’s why we’re issuing this Scorecard – to educate and motivate elected officials and the general public. We can and should pass stronger gun laws, on both the state and federal levels.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, California ranks 33rd in the nation in gun deaths per 100,000 people. The next five states atop the Brady Scorecard rank 45th, 48th, 46th, 47th, and 50th in gun deaths per 100,000 people.

A top state and federal legislative priority for the Brady Campaign is requiring background checks on gun sales by private sellers as well as licensed dealers. Studies show that illegal gun-trafficking can be cut by nearly 50 percent within a state if background checks are required on all handgun sales. However, only five states have a universal background check law on handgun sales. Two states have universal background check laws on all firearms.

Laws that require law enforcement approval of permits to purchase guns also provide a huge deterrent to those who seek to do intentional harm with firearms. Having a “Permit to Purchase” system is the sub-category worth the most points on the Brady Scorecard.

“Most states don’t require criminal background checks on all firearm sales, and that makes it easier for gun traffickers to do their harm because they don’t have to travel far to funnel illegal guns to felons and gang members. Most states also don’t require permits-to-purchase, and that makes it easy for dangerous and irresponsible people to get guns. Our goal is to make it harder, as hard as possible, for dangerous people to get the weapons that tear apart families, friends, communities, and the fabric of our country,” Helmke added. “We want to prevent the next Tucson, Virginia Tech, or Columbine. Gun violence directly touches nearly 100,000 Americans each year. This happens because it’s too easy now for dangerous people to get guns and to legally carry them in all sorts of public places.”

The Brady Campaign also announced features new this year to its annual release of scores, including four “Craziest Gun Laws” awards, which go to Kansas for allowing guns in K-12 schools, Virginia for allowing guns in bars, as long as the patron doesn’t drink, Utah for allowing guns on college campuses, and Florida for being on the brink of passing a bill that penalizes doctors for talking to children and parents about guns in the home.

Another exciting new feature is the “Test Your Gun Law IQ” quiz, which can be accessed and taken online, as well as on Brady’s Facebook page. A sample question: “Which two states had the lowest youth gun death rate in 2007 (the latest year available)?”

The 2010 Brady Campaign State Scorecard can be accessed online here, and is explained by category as follows:

* States can earn up to 35 points by taking steps needed to “Curb Firearms Trafficking.” States can fully regulate gun dealers within their borders, limit bulk purchases of handguns, record gun sale records and provide police certain technology to identify crime guns, and require lost or stolen guns to be reported to the police.

* States can earn up to 40 points by “Strengthening Brady Background Checks.” This involves requiring universal background checks and requiring a comprehensive permit to purchase firearms. Short of universal background checks, states also can close the gun show loophole by at least requiring background checks for all gun show sales, and they can regulate handgun ammunition sales.
* States can earn up to 10 points by “Banning Military-style Assault Weapons” and the deadly assault clips, like the one used by the Tucson shooter.

* States can earn up to 7 points by “Protecting Child Safety” when it comes to guns. States can require that only childproof handguns be sold within their borders, require child safety locks be sold with each weapon and hold adults accountable for keeping guns away from kids and teens.

States can earn up to 8 points by restricting most “Guns In Public Places” to trained law enforcement and security and “Preserve Local Control” over municipal gun laws. This includes keeping guns out of workplaces and off college campuses, not forcing law enforcement to issue concealed handgun permits on demand, and allowing local municipalities to pass their own gun laws. WASHINGTON, D.C. – California is a model of sensible gun laws. Its universal background check system, strong gun dealer regulations, and assault clip ban are just some of the laws that provide a roadmap to preventing gun violence. Meanwhile, Arizona, Alaska, and Utah do not have a single common sense gun law on their books, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

For the 4th year in a row, the Brady Campaign has released a 100-point scorecard ranking all 50 states on the basis of laws that can prevent gun violence, such as background checks on all gun sales, permit-to-purchase requirements, and laws that help police crack down on corrupt gun dealers. Today’s report – which features an inter-active U.S. map that flashes scores – ranks states for laws that were in effect by the end of 2010. It reveals that 31 states have few gun laws or none, while the six states that rank in the top tier, including California, which earned 80 points, have strong and effective gun laws. Arizona, Alaska, and Utah earned 0 points.

“After the Tucson shootings, there was a public outcry, once again, over gun violence. With each new high-profile shooting, people wonder why. Why do these tragedies happen? What can we do to stop them?” said Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke. “California is a perfect example of how much more every state in America could do to protect our families and communities from the dangers and destruction of guns. Sensible gun laws save lives, as shown by states like California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Hawaii. That’s why we’re issuing this Scorecard – to educate and motivate elected officials and the general public. We can and should pass stronger gun laws, on both the state and federal levels.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, California ranks 33rd in the nation in gun deaths per 100,000 people. The next five states atop the Brady Scorecard rank 45th, 48th, 46th, 47th, and 50th in gun deaths per 100,000 people.

A top state and federal legislative priority for the Brady Campaign is requiring background checks on gun sales by private sellers as well as licensed dealers. Studies show that illegal gun-trafficking can be cut by nearly 50 percent within a state if background checks are required on all handgun sales. However, only five states have a universal background check law on handgun sales. Two states have universal background check laws on all firearms.

Laws that require law enforcement approval of permits to purchase guns also provide a huge deterrent to those who seek to do intentional harm with firearms. Having a “Permit to Purchase” system is the sub-category worth the most points on the Brady Scorecard.

“Most states don’t require criminal background checks on all firearm sales, and that makes it easier for gun traffickers to do their harm because they don’t have to travel far to funnel illegal guns to felons and gang members. Most states also don’t require permits-to-purchase, and that makes it easy for dangerous and irresponsible people to get guns. Our goal is to make it harder, as hard as possible, for dangerous people to get the weapons that tear apart families, friends, communities, and the fabric of our country,” Helmke added. “We want to prevent the next Tucson, Virginia Tech, or Columbine. Gun violence directly touches nearly 100,000 Americans each year. This happens because it’s too easy now for dangerous people to get guns and to legally carry them in all sorts of public places.”


The Brady Campaign also announced features new this year to its annual release of scores, including four “Craziest Gun Laws” awards, which go to Kansas for allowing guns in K-12 schools, Virginia for allowing guns in bars, as long as the patron doesn’t drink, Utah for allowing guns on college campuses, and Florida for being on the brink of passing a bill that penalizes doctors for talking to children and parents about guns in the home.

The 2010 Brady Campaign State Scorecard can be accessed online here, and is explained by category as follows:

* States can earn up to 35 points by taking steps needed to “Curb Firearms Trafficking.” States can fully regulate gun dealers within their borders, limit bulk purchases of handguns, record gun sale records and provide police certain technology to identify crime guns, and require lost or stolen guns to be reported to the police.

* States can earn up to 40 points by “Strengthening Brady Background Checks.” This involves requiring universal background checks and requiring a comprehensive permit to purchase firearms. Short of universal background checks, states also can close the gun show loophole by at least requiring background checks for all gun show sales, and they can regulate handgun ammunition sales.

* States can earn up to 10 points by “Banning Military-style Assault Weapons” and the deadly assault clips, like the one used by the Tucson shooter.

* States can earn up to 7 points by “Protecting Child Safety” when it comes to guns. States can require that only childproof handguns be sold within their borders, require child safety locks be sold with each weapon and hold adults accountable for keeping guns away from kids and teens.

States can earn up to 8 points by restricting most “Guns In Public Places” to trained law enforcement and security and “Preserve Local Control” over municipal gun laws. This includes keeping guns out of workplaces and off college campuses, not forcing law enforcement to issue concealed handgun permits on demand, and allowing local municipalities to pass their own gun laws.

See Legal Community Against Violence on state gun laws.

Categories: General

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28 Responses

  1. Garnet says:

    I’m ashamed of even admit I live in such a stupid state as CA and I’m thinking about moving back where to TX where I have family. Everyone I know here thinks twice about going out at night and putting themselves at risk of being robbed, raped or killed. I’ve been the victim of a home invasion and my parents had someone try pry open a window in the middle of the night with 4 cars in the driveway!! Fortunately the sound of a shotgun racking made all the difference in the world. If we don’t stand up to these criminals and I mean criminal politicians!! then we are going to have big problems in America.

  2. hatidua says:

    Do criminals in California abide by the sensible gun laws?

  3. bt says:

    Interesting how the Brady rankings of how much states have gutted the Bill of Rights is basically an inverse list of violent crime.

    Biggest violent slums in the country? Chicago, Detroit, Newark, Camden, Philly, New Orleans, Baltimore, Oakland, etc.

    The control freaks have created the safest working environments they can for the thugs, and it seems to be working…

  4. Joe in CT says:

    Sorry, my friend, but IMHO, the words “California” and “sensible” don’t belong in the same sentence. CT is, unfortunately, like CA, highly infected by Progressives who want to control everything that people do, from what mouthwash they use, to what cars they drive. The operative word is CONTROL; they are all control freaks, which psychologists will tell you means they are evil people. When it comes to firearms, gun control to me means hitting the target. There are a myriad of gun laws already on the books; we don’t need any more gun laws, (in some states we need less) we just need the ones we already have to be properly enforced (that takes “Fast and Furious” out of the list). I fully subscribe to Prof John Lott’s dictum that, “the more guns, the less crime”. The states so highly ranked by the Brady Bunch have the most gun control and also the worst crime rates, while those with the least gun laws have the lowest crime rates. Who wudda thunk? Washington, D.C. used to have a total ban on owning guns, and had the highest crime rate. In the 30 months that the SCOTUS banned their ban, over 1,000 D.C.’ers have obtained gun permits, and guess what? Crime there has dropped 36%! An anomoly? No, just REAL common sense. No criminal wants to break into a residence, only to find himself looking down the working end of a gun. That makes sense. One last item. Over 60,000 people died in vehicular accidents and 3 times that many were injured last year, some horribly. 5,000 people died from driving while using cell phones, and 5 times that many were injured. About 10,000 people were killed with guns, for all reasons. I would say we need a whole bunch of laws to crack down on assault phones.

  5. anonymous says:

    So a state where the gun laws are so confusing even the police don’t know them, and someone could unkowingly go to prison for 20 years for buying a 5 dollar plastic grip is your idea of sensible? Glad there are people with more common sense out there than your drivel.

  6. Fat Hubie says:

    Assault clips must be banned because Grandmas Brady and McCarthy know better as to how much ammunition your gun should hold. If you die trying to defend yourself because you ran out of ammo, so be it !

  7. Vitaliy Bunimovich says:

    What’s an “assault clip”?

  8. NewHavenResident says:

    Mr. Kantrowitz thank you for putting the deleted post of mine back up, many other media outlets tend to remove posts they deem as not completely supporting their views.

    A few further comment on gun laws. There are racist roots for many early (and current) gun laws. Many current and proposed gun laws serve, probably unintentionally, to primarily affect minorities and those who who are poor. Who tend to be the MOST in need of buying a firearm quickly for self defense due to their neighbor (or familial/spouse/relationship) conditions.

    For example. The handgun purchasing and licensing laws in this state force a person to pay money to obtain the permit to legally BUY a handgun. I will not touch on the extremely questionable logic of requiring a permit to exercise an individual right upheld by SCOTUS to legally buy a firearm. Those fees and licensing procedures are an impediment to those without financial means or the time it take to get a permit approved in this state. This state DOUBLED the fees to $70 for first time handgun applicants. The permit renewal fee was also doubled. And since an NRA safety course is required, that can cost an additional $75 to $100. So in order to procure a pistol permit or Eligibility Certificate, in addition to passing the FBI background check, one has to pay upwards of $170, just to be able to buy a handgun legally for self defense. While that may not seem like a lot of money to you, for many, in these times of financial hardship and high gas prices, that is a lot of money. And that is before one then spends $200 or more on the pistol, and then even more money for the ammunition for it. And then there are the fees for the gun range to practice using your newly bought handgun so you can become proficient in its use and operation.

    On the street one can get an illegal handgun for much less than what it costs to obtain legally. And while the 14 day waiting period (LONGER than the 3 day Brady period was in 1994 federal Assault Weapons Bill by the way) sounds good, again if someone needs a shotgun or rifle for self defense immediately where do you think they will go? On the street or wait 14 days and spend more money?

    Google: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4TSNA_en___US354&q=gun+laws+racist for an eye opening look at the racist roots to firearm laws (both past and current).

    Most people who support what the Brady group advocates do not understand our licensing procedure, existing gun laws, and existing gun sales for our state. Most of that information can be found at this link: http://www.jud.ct.gov/LawLib/Law/firearms.htm

    For example during the pistol permitting process (if you haven’t gone through the application process), there is the 8 week time limit that, many local police departments (New Haven for example) ignore when approving or denying an application. New Haven was taking upwards of 6 months back in 2007. And some locations (again New Haven) routinely tack on some onerous additional requirements to give them the authority to review your medical (beyond psychological) history, financial, college, or any other record they deem worthy of reviewing. Some citizens may, and do, find this an extremely invasive personal investigation just to be able to legally purchase a handgun for self defense.

    Some further links for those who fear firearms or citizens owning them or who think the 2nd Amendment and Sec 15 of our state constitution is out of date.
    Why liberals should love the Second Amendment: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/7/4/881431/-Why-liberals-should-love-the-Second-Amendment
    Raging Against Self Defense: A Psychiatrist Examines The Anti-Gun Mentality by Sarah Thompson, M.D.: http://www.vcdl.org/new/raging.htm

    One last thought (and sorry for the long response but just trying to educate as you were trying to do), look at the gun laws in Mexico versus the violence/murders that are a daily occurrence there. Mexico has much more strict gun laws (just like their illegal immigration laws) compared to the United States, in specific this state, yet the violence continues. They are a perfect example why the avenues the Brady organization routinely suggest for reducing “gun crime” will not actually reduce “gun crimes”. Why? Because The Brady organization tends to focus on trying to stop a “people problem” (desire to commit crimes) by focusing on the tool (this case the firearm). That didn’t work so well with booze, and as such it doesn’t work with trying to stop “gun crimes”.

  9. esteban says:

    The Brady Campaign makes up its own “facts” and Mr. Kantrowitz is a believer! He and the Brady Campaign choose to ignore the FBI’s Assault Weapons Study that disproves every lie the Brady Campaign spreads.
    The truth is unimportant to the believers.

  10. McDian says:

    Have to agree… couldn’t make it past this:

    “California is a model of sensible gun laws. Its universal background check system, strong gun dealer regulations, and assault clip ban are just some of the laws that provide a roadmap to preventing gun violence.”

    I take it you haven’t been to Salinas, San Diego, Los Angeles. There is nothing sensible about these onerous laws in California. They only harm the law abiding citizen that wished to exercise their rights. These laws don’t reduce crime nor do they curtail it.

    England has the most restrictive gun laws in the world and they still have gun crimes occur. They also have been suffering a dramatic increase in overall violent crime against citizens. And to make it worse it’s illegal for you to defend yourself against an assailant in your own home.

    IS that what you want for the United States? Sorry but there are more than enough laws on the books and many need to be repealed as completely ridiculous and ineffective. Maybe you should do some real research on the matter and find that where the gun laws are more lax and the ability to obtain a CCW is easier, violent crimes are lower overall. You can actually go to a non-biased source to gain this information… they are called the FBI!

    Stop spreading fear, lies and deceit about guns and how wonderfully effective gun control laws are working. The fact is they are working for the wrong people… the criminal.

  11. Jonathan Kantrowitz says:

    Sorry – deleted accidentally – don’t work for anybody but myself.

  12. NewHavenResident says:

    Interesting, my comment from yesterday was removed sometime after it was posted. Care to explain why? Nothing I said was “personal and profane”.

    The only remark that I suspect you took issue with (and probably will again) was; “nothing anyone will say will sway you from your (and the Brady Organization’s) irrational belief that simply making the firearm harder for citizens to legally obtain, will somehow magically prevent…”. And there is much truth to this as most anti gun people I’ve met or who’s comments I’ve read in the press over the years, rarely change their anti gun views when presented with information/facts that runs contrary to that which they rely on from the Brady organization.

    Which again begs the question others have asked in response to your anti gun article, which has yet to be answered. Do you work for the Brady Campaign?

  13. Justin says:

    The problem with anti-gunners is that they’re only interesting in reducing gun deaths. They cleverly use “gun deaths” as if that’s the key metric used to indicate how safe a given state is. So basically if less people are killed with guns in a state where violent crime is otherwise completely out of control- they chalk it up as a win.

    Does anybody really believe that Alaska and Vermont are more dangerous than California, New Jersey, and New York? Of course not.

  14. NewHavenResident says:

    I too stopped reading a “California is a model of sensible gun laws.” The term “sensible law” is simply just code word for another way to control something you dislike/fear. Who decides what is “sensible” in a law, anyway? Only you or the Brady Organization?

    Anyone who takes the time to learn about firearms knows that most of what the Brady Organization puts forth is easily refutable. See http://www.guncite.com/ for example where much of the misinformation spread by the media and the Brady Organization are refuted. There are routine discussions on the Democratic Underground in their Gun forum (http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_topics&forum=118) where even very liberal gun owners routinely dispel many of the Brady claims and the other hoplophoba that abounds with many on both sides of the political spectrum and with most of the media reporting.

    I suspect that nothing anyone will say will sway you from your (and the Brady Organization’s) irrational belief that simply making the firearm harder for citizens to legally obtain, will somehow magically prevent mass shootings, murders, rape, robberies or any of the other crimes a criminal chooses to engage in.

  15. esteban says:

    did the Brady Campaign pay you to print this?

  16. esteban says:

    Do you work for the Brady Campaign?

  17. Jonathan Kantrowitz says:

    Publishing press releases is not plagiarism.

  18. frankie paintballa says:

    clips

  19. esteban says:

    Dear Jonathan Kantrowitz
    Did you actually write this or did you cut and paste it from the Brady Campaign website?
    plagiarism is theft of intellectual property-just sayin

  20. JP says:

    One day, when the Brady Campaign starts using the correct language and terminology, people like me will take them seriously. Until then, I see them as pathetic, angry people, shouting at the storm about the rain. “Assault Clip”? Really? And really, lets be clear- Mr. Brady was shot with a .22 caliber revolver. Not an semi-auto pistol with a “Laughner style assault clip”. Your own people are your biggest detractors, your own worst enemy and the reason your message is dying on the vine. Stop stretching the truth, we have enough of that from politicians. Stop making up terminology to describe scary weapons. Stop fear mongering and start really educating. Until them, expect me to find a way to fight, vote against and impede any and all legislation that the Brady campaign comes up with. Here’s one for you- Gun control is not about guns. It’s about Control.

  21. VenJuDe says:

    Dear Sir,

    I read your entire piece. I will only address the first line,

    “California is a model of sensible gun laws.”

    Sensible to whom? It is my opinion that gun control isn’t about guns but people. Reading and listening to proponents of gun control leads me to believe that they seek only to control people based on their supposed superior ability to think for others.

    In the U.S., the government doesn’t grant anything to the people. The people grant the government its powers. The Constitution doesn’t give me rights. The Constitution recognizes that I have innate rights. The government or people that wish to control, limit, or even remove my ability to protect my self/family/property/etc…are foreign to the basis of the U.S.

    Your ability to write down your thoughts and freely publish them are protected only by our innate right to use our fists, swing a stick, throw a rock, or fire a gun in defense of our lives, liberty, etc…If you and/or the Brady Campaign are successful, one day, someone like you and them will come along and take away your freedom of speech. And, what will you do about it? What will you be able to do?

  22. subject to gun control says:

    So California and other states with similar levels of gun control rank well in terms of gun deaths per capita, but how do they rank in terms of the rate of violent crime (ie: not specifically gun related)?

    Can you conclusively prove a correlation between gun control and lower rates of violent crime?

    I suspect not.

    “Gun crime” is political doublespeak of the most dangerous sort. A person that is murdered with a knife or bare hands is no better off than a person murdered with a gun. If the Brady Campaign was truly interested in making society a safer place by disseminating accurate information for voters and policymakers, they’d speak in plain terms, which is to say violent crime rates.

    I do not care if the gun death rate is down if it means I’m twice as likely to get stabbed at an ATM.

  23. nathan says:

    i should add, the top three most peaceful US states were VT at #3, NH at #2, and ME at #1. VT, NH, and ME are some of the least restrictive states in the US regarding firearms laws, and assuredly “low rated” by the anti-gunners. for reference, see http://www.tourism-review.com/usa-the-most-peaceful-state-is-maine-news2712

  24. nathan says:

    …and yet, states like CT and CA, along with other similarly regulated “high rated” states such as MA, NY, and NJ continue to struggle with violent crime. conversely, “low rated” states with little to no firearms regulation like the ones pointed out here have minimal issues with violent crimes. the northern new england states of VT, NH, and ME (recently rated the nations “most peaceful state”) are a perfect example, suffering from neither the onerous legislation OR the violent crime of CT, MA, NY, NJ or CA.

  25. Jonathan Kantrowitz says:

    As usual, lots of comments on gun laws – all against restrictions – I will publish the substantive ones, but not the personal and profane ones.

  26. Earnán Maguire says:

    And yet California has some of the highest rates of gun violence in the country!

    How can that be?

    “Cowboy” Arizona, right next door, lets any citizen who is over the age of 21 and has a clean record carry a pistol without even needing a permit.

    Arizona allows people to own machineguns, sawed-off shotguns, silencers… All sorts of firepower that makes pansies like Jonathan soil themselves in fear. And yet Arizonans shoot each other at a fraction of California’s appalling rate.

    Maybe it’s not the gun laws, stupid?

  27. Glocknade says:

    >assault clips

  28. Lincey says:

    What is an assault clip? Are they going to replace magazines in the future?