New Report Ranks States on Gun Control Laws: California Tops the List, Arkansas Ranked Last

Several new laws tightening gun restrictions will take effect in 2024, and a recent report sheds light on how each state in the United States ranks in terms of gun control. Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group, analyzed 50 gun control policies and gun death rates to determine the strength of each state’s laws. According to their annual report, California has the strongest gun laws in the country, followed by New York, Illinois, Connecticut, and Hawaii. On the other hand, Mississippi, Idaho, Montana, and Georgia were among the states with the weakest gun laws.

The report also highlights the impact of recent legislation on the rankings. States like Arkansas, Florida, Nebraska, and North Carolina dropped in the rankings after passing laws that loosened restrictions on guns. Conversely, states like Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York have the lowest gun death rates, while Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Alabama, and Montana have the highest.

In California, a new law that prohibits carrying firearms in certain public spaces temporarily went into effect on January 1, although it is facing legal challenges. Illinois implemented a ban on certain high-powered semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, while Michigan passed a series of gun safety bills that will take effect in 2024. Minnesota became the 20th state to implement a “red flag” law, allowing courts to temporarily confiscate guns from individuals deemed a threat. Additionally, Oregon banned ghost guns, and Washington now requires background checks and safety training for firearm purchases.

The report also reveals a decrease in gun violence overall, but a rise in fatal mass shootings. While the number of total gun deaths and injuries decreased, there were 39 mass shootings in 2023, surpassing the previous year’s record of 36.

Gun control advocates argue that these laws have proven effective in reducing gun deaths and violence. However, opponents, such as the NRA, believe that restrictive gun laws infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens without deterring criminals. More data is needed to determine the factors behind the recent decrease in gun violence.

In summary, California has the strongest gun laws in the United States, while Mississippi has the weakest. Recent legislation has impacted states’ rankings, and there has been a decline in overall gun deaths and injuries. However, fatal mass shootings have increased. The effectiveness of gun control laws continues to be a subject of debate.