Study: States With Loose Gun Laws Have Higher Rates Of Gun Violence

Written by Zack Beauchamp

The National Rifle Association (NRA) and its allies in Congress frequently claim that gun violence is highest in places with the toughest crime laws. But a new study from the Center for American Progress (CAP) suggests something closer to the opposite is true — the states with laxer gun laws tend to be the ones contributing the highest shares of national gun deaths and injuries.

The authors of the report, called “America Under The Gun,” developed a list of ten indices of gun violence, ranging from gun homicide levels to firearm assaults to crime gun export rate (the number of guns sold in that state used in crimes around the country), and ranked each state from 1-50 along each index. They then took the average of each state’s ranking to determine its overall level of gun violence relative to other states. Louisiana was the highest, with an average of fifth-worst across all ten indices, while Hawaii’s 45.4 ranking was the best.

A statistical regression comparing these rankings with strength of gun law found a correlation between weak gun laws and violence levels as measured by the 10-index average. Comparing a state’s relative ranking in strength of gun law (as judged by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence) to a state’s relative gun violence ranking yielded clear evidence that states with looser gun laws contributed more to the national gun violence epidemic:

While many factors contribute to the rates of gun violence in any state, our research clearly demonstrates a significant correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws and the prevalence of gun violence in the state. Across the key indicators of gun violence that we analyzed, 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—than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws.

Here is the map:

The CAP report’s finding is yet another contribution to a growing body of empirical evidence that strong gun laws work. A prior, less comprehensive study also established links between gun deaths and loose gun laws. After Missouri repealed its background check law, gun homicides went up 25 percent despite a national and regional decline. Three independent papers have found that counties with more guns have higher rates of gun death.

The NRA has long attempted to use Congressional funding restrictions to cripple research on gun violence on grounds that it “may be used to advocate or promote” new gun laws.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.



Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

No matter WHAT the government or police do there will ALWAYS be some people who hate it, Diane. Some people tend to think we should all be armed to take the place of the police force. They don't like the police so most everything they do is wrong and a breach of THEIR individual rights. Just like in New Orleans. The police were being shot at while they were trying to rescue people and get things under control. So They disarmed people and some of those people HATE having their guns taken away even if they get them back. No matter what the police did this element of people would be angry and complaining about the police. They have the right to do so and we have the right to mock them for what we consider anarchy.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago

I'm not surprised.

Irene S.
Irene S.3 years ago

Seems to be simply logical.

Del Rykert
Del Rykert3 years ago

Robert H.. ~~~ I am a HAM and talk directly to people in Mass. and familes that were effected.. How much more accurate can one be? Are you calling the Hams liars that lived through it. Granted Hams tend to be more self sufficent and don't tent to lean on the government for help but provide help when needed in times of disaster. Why the need to believe they weren't some unhappy with how things were handled just because you didn't see it on your favorite news source which may be biased.

Del Rykert
Del Rykert3 years ago

Diane L.. Didn't know we were playing in a sand box? If someone is making a comment in this media format it is recommended by most that it either include a emoticon or type included.

Diane ~~ You apparently missed the part I said they didn't follow protocol and give receipts at time of confiscation to facilitate citizens getting their weapons back. They charge in and to heck with the common citizen and my claim is they didn't give a darn if they got their weapons back or not.. That means in my book, that became a police action and the heck with rules and following protocal. I do have issues when the Constitution is ignored which I fought hard for 6 years of my life.

By the way Diane.. Well granted many talk nice for the cameras, Not all of Bostons people were happy with the way they came barging into and onto their property. For all the power we have extended to the government to protect us from these acts they have dropped the ball almost as much as they have stopped them. Thankfully some of the plans failed d/t poor construction but it was after the fact. Del R.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

Exactly Diane. Many are spewing "facts" that Ron Paul is spewing about what happened in Boston regarding searches and "martial law". In fact what REALLY happened was a SUGGESTION by officials…to lock themselves in their homes…NOT a demand. Some wanted to leave instead. They police did NOT force their way into houses at gun point and throw people out. SOME people voluntarily left their homes just in case. NO ONE was FORCED out of their home at gun point, Ron Paul is lying his ass off about what happened. He was nowhere near there, but the right is jumping all over his released statement that any idiot can tell IS A LIE! They gave the police a PARADE of Chhers and THANK YOU's when they left. Doesn't sound to me like they were OPRESSED to me loll

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

Oh, and Cyan, the only "background" check that my ex-husband had to pass was that he was who he said he was and he had to wait 3 days to pick up his .44 Magnum. He bought it at a gun store, not a gun show. If he'd gone to a gun show, he actually could have left with it the same day. The "police example" I submitted was about David Brahme, Chief of Police for the City of Tacoma. He had multiple charges of D.V. against him, several of which involved his wife and children being threatened by him using his service revolver. Later, it was revealed he'd also threatened some of his co-workers/subordinates (lower in rank). He should have had his gun taken away from him with those charges pending in court. He didn't, and now he and his wife, Crystal are both dead and their two young children are orphans and forever traumatized.

Would you suggest my son, currently involved with therapy at the V.A. due to PTSD as a Desert Storm vet be given a gun? He's on medication (anti-depressants including Seroquel) and he's suicidal from time to time, BUT he's not a felon nor a terrorist. He could easily pass a background check as he is who he says he is.

Diane L.
Diane L.3 years ago

Teresa, according to Del's logic, when there is a natural disaster and property ends up in the city's control or anyone else's control, then the rightful owner can't get it back without proof positive? Well, that's ridiculous, but on the other hand, why should just anyone be allowed to waltz in and point to a gun or any other item and say, "That's mine and I want it back"?

Cyan, I don't have the time right now to wade thru so many long comments which when surfing them, sound mostly like nit-picking. I'll start temporarily with the one showing above this comment box, which was to state the circumstances about my EX-husband's guns and his CWP. I don't know WHAT a "CCW" is. He should never have gotten a concealed weapons permit. He had a history of drunk & disorderly, multiple arrests for civil disobedience and an undesirable discharge from the military. He'd spent time in jail on multiple occasions for assault. Notice that I had said EX husband, and those are some of the reasons why.

You are wrong about the mall shooting near Portland. Armed citizens did not disarm or take down the vet who went "postal", the cops did.

Of COURSE we don't register to get prescriptions at the pharmacy, we registered with our doctors to get the prescriptions, but I.D. must be shown at the pharmacy to get them. Of COURSE that I.D. can be forged. You said nobody needs to register to get medications, and that is not true. You also said nobody needs to register to go to sc

Teresa B.
Teresa B.3 years ago

To reclaim their guns, as the NRA proposed, this is all that was necessary:

Gun owners must sign an affidavit claiming ownership of a gun but don't need to present written proof, such as a sales receipt or serial number. A background check also is required to certify that someone claiming a gun can legally possess a firearm.

The city won't be liable if a dispute arises over the ownership of a returned gun. Authorities can dispose of any guns that go unclaimed after two years.

"This is all we've wanted all along: a practical return program," said NRA lawyer Stephen Halbrook, who estimated that the department should have 1,200 guns available for owners to claim.

"I think it satisfies all our concerns," said Dave Workman, a spokesman for the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation. "The city for way too long has been dragging its feet on this. We're glad it's over and we can move on to other issues."

Young said the department "will do everything possible to notify people that their guns are available for pickup."

Teresa B.
Teresa B.3 years ago


My mistake - you didn't say "in a barrel", you just said they are "rusting away."

"Try telling that to those that lived through the New Orleans hurricane. Their firearms that were confiscated are rusting away with some of them still not returned to their rightful owners as they didn't give receipts when they confiscated them and they expect people to produce proof of ownership when that proof was destroyed in the storm to get them back.