Every year, more than 30,000 Americans die from gun violence. But there’s more to the story. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has been fighting for smart gun laws for over 20 years, and we’ve noticed a trend: the states with stronger gun regulation have lower gun death rates, and the states with weaker regulation have higher gun death rates.
By grading all 50 states on their gun laws and showing the clear correlation between smart gun laws and reduced gun violence, we can encourage state legislators to adopt the common-sense solutions that will save lives. And not just at home—we found that states with the weakest gun laws are also responsible for trafficking the most crime guns.
The good news is that there’s been tremendous progress. Since the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook in 2012, 37 states have passed an unprecedented 99 laws strengthening gun regulation. Ten states have enacted major overhauls.
We grade the states each year to urge our leaders to build on the momentum for smart gun laws in America, stand up to the gun lobby, and not rest until the entire country has an A+.
Here are some examples of new legislation this year:
California enacted the groundbreaking Gun Violence Restraining Order law. Crafted in response to this summer’s tragic shooting in Isla Vista, where the shooter exhibited warning signs of dangerous behavior, this lifesaving new law allows family members and law enforcement officers to ask a court to disarm people who are a danger to themselves or others and prohibit them from purchasing or possessing guns.
In Washington State, voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative requiring background checks for all firearms, making Washington the ninth state, plus the District of Columbia, to require background checks on private sales at the point of transfer. An additional eight states require background checks when an individual applies for a permit to purchase a firearm.
Raising its smart gun law grade, Massachusetts passed a comprehensive bill strengthening its gun laws in the areas of domestic violence, background checks, and licensing of gun owners.
Read the full report
Note to Corporations and Health Watch readers: Our next post will be on January 7,2015.