State Gun Law Report Cards

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The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence united with the Million Mom March, and in partnership with independent state gun violence prevention groups, highlighted the progress made in its efforts to protect children from gun violence.

Research from the Centers for Disease Control shows an encouraging decrease in the number of children killed by guns. However, while some states have successfully strengthened their gun laws and blocked efforts by the gun lobby to weaken existing laws, a number of states continue to drag their feet on gun safety measures, putting children in danger.

The report cards provide a resource for understanding how well or how poorly each state has worked toward the goal of preventing gun violence. The state report cards addressed the following:

  • The status of state action on:
    • Sale/transfer of guns to juveniles
    • Safe storage and gun owner accountability
    • Childproof guns and gun safety design standards
    • The Brady Background Check at gun shows
    • Carrying concealed weapons (CCW)
    • Local government authority to regulate guns

  • Rates of child gun deaths

  • Gun trafficking: Problem states that affect the rest of the nation.

  • Actions that each state should take to prevent gun violence and improve its grade.

Eleven states won Sensible Safety Stars for protecting children from gun violence last year. Sensible Safety Star states heeded the concern of their residents by resisting efforts to weaken common sense laws and by enacting laws that protect children from guns.

Unfortunately, once again 29 states received grades of D or F in this year's report card. Not surprisingly, many of these states have child and teen firearm death rates that are higher than the national average. For example, the average firearms death rate of youth in the eight states that received an F grade was 33 percent higher than the average firearms death rate for the 10 states that received an A or a B.

Since the Brady Campaign began grading state gun laws six years ago, the number of young people killed by guns nationwide has dropped from an average of 16 per day to eight (based on the most recent available data). During the same period, the Centers for Disease Control reported a 48 percent reduction in the firearms death rate per 100,000 children and teens.

2002 Grades

Gun Law Grades - 2002
State Grade State Grade
Alabama F Montana F
Alaska D- Nebraska B-
Arizona D* Nevada D
Arkansas D New Hampshire D+
California A-* New Jersey A-*
Colorado C-* New Mexico D+*
Connecticut A-* New York B+
Delaware C North Carolina C
Florida D+ North Dakota D
Georgia D Ohio D+
Hawaii A- Oklahoma D-
Idaho F+ Oregon C-
Illinois B+ Pennsylvania D+
Indiana D- Rhode Island B-
Iowa C+ South Carolina C-*
Kansas C+ South Dakota D
Kentucky F Tennessee D+
Louisiana F Texas D-
Maine F Utah D-
Maryland A Vermont D-
Massachusetts A- Virginia C-
Michigan D+ Washington D+
Minnesota C+* West Virginia D
Mississippi F Wisconsin C+*
Missouri C* Wyoming F

Denotes a Sensible Safety Star for 2002