Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Finds Strong Link Between Oklahoma’s Weak Gun Laws and a High Rates of Gun Violence
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Finds Strong Link Between Oklahoma’s Weak Gun Laws and a High Rates of Gun Violence

Report shows that the 10 States with Weakest Gun Laws Collectively Have 3 Times More Gun Violence than the 10 States with the Strongest Gun Laws

Washington, D.C. — A new Center for American Progress report released today has found that Oklahoma ranks 10th in the nation for the overall rate of gun violence. Oklahoma also ranked particularly high in a few individual categories of gun violence, ranking fifth in the nation for the rate of women killed by intimate partners using guns and eighth for rates of gun-related suicide. The Center for American Progress has also published an interactive map that links to state specific fact sheets providing detailed information about gun violence in Oklahoma.

The report analyzes 10 specific indicators of gun violence in all 50 states and found that the 10 states with the weakest gun laws collectively have levels of gun violence that are more than three times higher than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws.

“There is an unquestionable link between the strength of Oklahoma’s gun laws and the rates of gun violence in the state,” said Chelsea Parsons, Vice President for Guns and Crime Policy at CAP. “While strong gun laws are certainly not the only factor impacting levels of gun violence, it is undeniable that Americans in states with stronger gun laws are safer from gun violence than those in states with weaker laws. Lawmakers in Oklahoma should strongly consider strengthening gun laws in order to reduce gun deaths and make all of Oklahoma’s communities safer.”

The report looks at 10 critical indicators of gun violence in the United States, including overall gun deaths; gun suicides, homicides and accidents; mass shootings; intimate partner gun homicides of women; gun deaths of people younger than age 21; law enforcement feloniously killed with a gun; fatal shootings by police; and the rate at which crime guns are exported. By comparing the data from all 50 states to the corresponding grade from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s “2015 State Law Scorecard”—which rates the strength of state gun laws—the report found a striking correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws and the rates of gun violence in that state.

“This report highlights the urgency for the Oklahoma legislature to take action on an issue that has reached a critical mass. We as a body cannot stand silent any longer while the cold hard facts stare us in the face,” said State Rep. Emily Virgin (D). “While Oklahomans strongly support the Second Amendment, they also recognize that commonsense measures are needed to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands: A 2013 poll found that 87 percent of Oklahoma voters supported requiring a background check for every guns sale. With statistics showing that Oklahoma ranks fifth-worst in the nation for gun homicides against women perpetrated by an intimate partner and has the fourteenth highest rate of mass shootings, we must move to enact commonsense measures that will prevent gun violence and protect citizens.”

The report offers common sense recommendations that policymakers in Oklahoma should consider to reduce gun violence, including closing the private sale loophole and requiring background checks for all gun sales, prohibiting domestic abusers and stalkers from gun possession, banning or more strictly regulating assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and investing in community-based violence prevention programs.

Click here to read the report.

View an interactive map.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at or 202.481.7141.