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RELEASE: 50-State Analysis Shows Weak State Gun Laws Linked to More Gun Violence

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Contact: Katie Peters
Phone: 202.741.6285
Email: kpeters@americanprogress.org

CAP Action Holding Events in Seven States to Highlight Report and Call for Action to Strengthen Gun Laws

Read the report.

Washington, D.C. — The 10 states with the weakest gun laws in America collectively suffer from a level of gun violence that is more than twice as high as the 10 states with the strongest gun laws, according to a new state-by-state analysis of gun violence released today by the Center for American Progress.  To highlight the report, CAP Action will host events today in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina to discuss its findings with local leaders and call for action from Congress to act on universal gun-background checks.

“Each day in our country, 33 Americans are murdered with guns and another 40 or 50 die in gun suicides and accidents,” said CAP Action President Tom Perriello, who today is leading a roundtable event in South Bend, Indiana, to the highlight the report’s findings. “While communities across our country are affected, the toll of gun violence disproportionately impacts states that also have weaker gun laws.”

The report examines how each of the 50 states fare across 10 key gun-violence indicators such as firearm deaths among children, firearm homicides among women, and law-enforcement agents feloniously killed with a firearm, among others. The analysis ranks each state according to the rate of each indicator of gun violence. These rankings are then compiled to create an overall aggregate ranking of the states across all 10 indicators.

According to the analysis, the 10 states with the worst rates of gun violence across the 10 indicators by rank are as follows:

1. Louisiana
2. Alaska
3. Alabama
4. Arizona
5. Mississippi
6. South Carolina
7. New Mexico
8. Missouri
9. Arkansas
10. Georgia

** Click here to review the full 50-state ranking **

When this overall state ranking for the prevalence of gun violence is compared with a November 2012 Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence ranking of states based on the strength of their gun laws, the comparison reveals a significant correlation between high rates of gun violence and weak state gun laws. Key findings from this comparison include:

  • The 10 states with the weakest gun laws collectively have a level of gun violence that is more than twice as high—104 percent higher, in fact—than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws.
  • Of the 10 states with the weakest gun laws in the country, eight are among the 25 states with the worst rates of gun violence in America.
  • Of the 10 states with the strongest gun laws, nine are among the 25 states with the lowest levels of gun violence, including 6 of the 10 with the very lowest levels.

“Gun violence affects every state in our country—and it affects the big cities and small towns alike that make up those states,” said Arkadi Gerney, Senior Fellow at CAP and lead author of the report. “The report we released today shows that this epidemic of gun violence is linked to an epidemic of lax gun laws that make it too easy for criminals to access guns and for firearms to be misused.”

To highlight the report, Perriello, Gerney, and other CAP Action principals are leading events in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Charleston, Reno, South Bend, Tucson, and outside Philadelphia to discuss the report’s findings while standing alongside survivors of gun violence, mayors, law-enforcement officials, faith leaders, and students who will talk about why preventing future gun violence is important to their communities.

Read the report: America Under the Gun: A 50 State Analysis of Gun Violence and Its Link to Weak State Gun Laws  by Arkadi Gerney, Chelsea Parsons, and Charles Posner

View an interactive map: Measuring Gun Violence Across the 50 States, by Emma Shapiro and Charles Posner

Related resources:

To speak with a CAP expert on this topic, contact Katie Peters at kpeters@americanprogress.org or 202.741.6285.

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To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

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