GIFFORDS Law Center's Annual Gun Law Scorecard (2024)

Making the Grade

Our legal experts spend the year tracking and analyzing gun legislation in all 50 states. We allot laws and policies point values based on their strengths or weaknesses, then rank each state and assign letter grades. Finally, we compare our grades to the latest CDC gun death data. The result isn’t surprising, and it hasn’t changed in the 13 years since we started this project: states with strong laws experience lower gun death rates. Gun laws save lives—but first you have to pass them.

Select a state on the map to view its scorecard, or switch to the table to view a sortable list of all state grades and ranks.

A

B

C

D

F

1st–10th
gun law strength

11th–20th
gun law strength

21st–30th
gun law strength

31st–40th
gun law strength

41st–50th
gun law strength

50th–41st
gun death rank

40th–31st
gun death rank

30th–21st
gun death rank

20th–11th
gun death rank

10th–1st
gun death rank

1–7 deaths
per 100k

8–15 deaths
per 100k

16–21 deaths
per 100k

22–28 deaths
per 100k

29–35 deaths
per 100k

Gun Law Strength (Ranked)State Grade Gun Death Rate (Ranked)Gun Death Rate (per 100K)
35AlabamaF425.9
40AlaskaF722.7
41ArizonaF1220.5
48ArkansasF822.1
1CaliforniaA448.7
10ColoradoA-1917.3
3ConnecticutA457.0
13DelawareB+3912.1
24FloridaD+3114.4
33GeorgiaF1420.0
6HawaiiA-484.5
46IdahoF1817.5
4IllinoisA-3214.4
25IndianaD-1717.6
34IowaF4111.3
42KansasF2117.0
47KentuckyF1618.9
32LouisianaF228.2
27MaineD-4012.0
8MarylandA-3513.6
7MassachusettsA-493.7
17MichiganB-2715.1
15MinnesotaB439.7
44MississippiF129.7
48MissouriF624.4
45MontanaF524.5
23NebraskaC-3712.3
19NevadaB-1519.3
28New HampshireD-4210.3
2New JerseyA475.0
20New MexicoC+327.5
5New YorkA-465.3
22North CarolinaC-2017.1
35North DakotaF2216.5
25OhioD-2615.7
35OklahomaF1320.1
11OregonA-3014.6
16PennsylvaniaB2914.8
12Rhode IslandB+503.1
28South CarolinaD-921.3
43South DakotaF2416.1
39TennesseeF1020.9
31TexasF2515.7
30UtahF3414.0
18VermontB-3812.2
14VirginiaB+2815.1
9WashingtonA-3612.6
35West VirginiaF2316.4
21WisconsinC3314.1
50WyomingF1120.6
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GIFFORDS Law Center's Annual Gun Law Scorecard (1)

Talk to a Gun Law Expert

Want to know what your state can do to raise its grade? Our attorneys and policy experts partner with lawmakers nationwide to craft lifesaving firearm legislation at all levels of government. We’re also happy to speak with researchers, advocates, and members of the media interested in learning more about evidence-based strategies for preventing gun violence.

Policy AssistanceMedia Requests

Gun Laws vs. Gun Deaths

Again and again, commonsense policies prove effective in preventing gun violence. In fact, we’re running out of ways to say the same thing the Gun Law Scorecard shows every year: strong gun laws save lives.

Many states are listening—Colorado, for example, passed a series of lifesaving laws and raised its grade from a B to an A-. But other states weakened existing gun laws and blocked new ones, and it’s reflected in their levels of gun violence: of the 15 states with the highest gun death rates, 12 received Fs for their gun laws. And these indifferent states don’t put only their own residents at risk. Colorado may have an A-, but it borders five states with Fs.

We need leaders to accept that gun violence is preventable, that gun safety laws work, and that all our communities deserve to live free of fear. Only then will we finally put an end to this uniquely American epidemic.

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Compare States

Select any two states to see how they stack up when it comes to gun safety.

CaliforniaWyoming

Grade

Gun Law Strength Rank

Gun Death Rate Rank

Gun Deaths per 100K

% Difference from National Average

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Best & Worst

2023 was a year full of long-awaited wins for gun safety, but it was also marred by horrific mass shootings and the tragic drumbeat of everyday violence. Many states went above and beyond what gun safety advocates thought was possible. Others fell deeper into the gun lobby’s pocket, putting more and more innocent people at risk.

Here are the best and worst states of 2023.

STRONGEST LAWS

1stGun Law Strength Rank

California

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MOST IMPROVED

↑4Gun Law Rank Increase

Colorado

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SAFEST STATE

3.1Gun Deaths per 100,000

Rhode Island

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WEAKEST LAWS

50thGun Law Strength Rank

Wyoming

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BIGGEST DROP

↓5Gun Law Rank Decrease

Montana

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DEADLIEST STATE

29.7Gun Deaths per 100,000

Mississippi

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Innovative Policies

Gun violence is a complex, ever-evolving crisis. No one strategy will prevent every type of shooting, but we do know the effective policies and programs that, when deployed in concert, have been proven to reduce gun violence as a whole.

The gun lobby fights progress at every turn—in statehouses, in the courts, in elections—while also devising workarounds to existing laws in order to turn a profit. To save lives, gun safety advocates have had to adjust their approach, anticipating loopholes and countering extremism. This year states raised their grades in creative and unexpected ways, enacting innovative policies to stop gun violence.

Despite scandals rocking the gun lobby in recent years and plummeting public support, the industry still makes billions. Bold lawmakers have started hitting gun companies where it hurts—their wallets—while also repealing laws that shield gunmakers from liability and even taxing the gun industry to fund violence intervention programs.

Technological innovations have accelerated the gun violence crisis as well. Ghost guns, bump stocks, and more are all designed to skirt gun safety laws and make it easier to take lives—but lawmakers are fighting to make these workarounds illegal. At the same time, social media has facilitated a rise in extremism that puts our democracy at risk, compelling legislators in a number of states to take action to prevent armed political violence and intimidation.

It’s important to remember that policy is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to stopping gun violence. Leaders need to take a holistic approach that features working with the communities most impacted by violence, defending commonsense gun laws in court, and even issuing executive orders. Together, we’ll break gun lobby obstruction and save lives.

Read More

GIFFORDS Law Center's Annual Gun Law Scorecard (2)California’s Tax on the Gun Industry

California passed a first-of-its-kind law requiring the gun industry to pay its fair share to curb the gun violence epidemic—a crisis gun companies help fuel. This 11% excise tax on gun manufacturers and sellers (gun buyers are not taxed) will generate nearly $160 million annually to fund proven gun violence prevention programs across the state.

READ MORE

GIFFORDS Law Center's Annual Gun Law Scorecard (3)Victims’ Access to Justice

GIFFORDS Law Center's Annual Gun Law Scorecard (4)Regulating Ghost Guns

GIFFORDS Law Center's Annual Gun Law Scorecard (5)Guns & Democracy

LIFESAVING NEW LAWS

Throughout the year, our experts keep track of the gun laws states are considering—both good and bad—and round up the findings in Gun Law Trendwatch.2023 saw 103 new positive laws in 25 states, bringing the total enacted since Sandy Hook to over 620.

We use Sandy Hook as a starting point because the tragedy served as a catalyst for the gun safety movement, motivating advocates and lawmakers alike. When Congress failed to take action following the murder of so many innocent children and teachers, it became clear that states would have to step up.

While gun violence has persisted—dozens of cities are now best known for a mass shooting—these new laws have proven effective. The gun death rates in states that passed significant numbers of gun safety laws following Sandy Hook (such as California, New Jersey, and Washington) are notably lower than in states that weakened their laws or did nothing (such as Idaho, Kentucky, and Missouri).

Volume of laws matters because there are so many different forms gun violence takes. A policy that will reduce gun suicide may not necessarily prevent a school shooting, but a different law might. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to such a massive crisis, but taken together, a collection of targeted solutions can keep people safe.

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New Gun Safety Laws since Sandy Hook

Active Label
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • F

Legal Challenges

The gun lobby’s strategy to boost profits and dismantle gun regulations isn’t confined to the sway it holds over lawmakers and politicians. Since the Supreme Court’s landmark 2008 decision in DC v. Heller, gun lobby groups have rigorously challenged commonsense, lifesaving gun laws in the courts, seeking to set dangerous new precedents.

The Supreme Court’s flawed ruling in 2022’s NYSRPA v. Bruen, which weakened standards for carrying loaded weapons in public, further emboldened gun rights extremists. The number of lawsuits challenging local, state, and federal gun laws skyrocketed, with more than double the cases in 2023 than in 2021. Fortunately, judges are upholding gun safety laws in a majority of cases, and GIFFORDS Law Center and other groups are forcefully pushing back in courts across the country.

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Second Amendment Cases Following Heller and Bruen

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Take Action

We’re on a mission to save lives from gun violence. Here’s how you can help.

Previous Scorecards

  • 2022
  • 2021
  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2010

Annual Gun Law Scorecard

  • Gun Law Strength Rank

    out of50

  • Gun Death Rate Rank

    out of50

  • Gun Deaths per 100k
  • % difference from national average

What Changed This Year

    How To Improve

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      GIFFORDS Law Center's Annual Gun Law Scorecard (2024)

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