Garrett McDonough, 415-433-2062 x304, [email protected]
2014 Gun Law State Scorecard Released by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Ranking States on Gun Laws and Gun Death Rates
San Francisco, CA—As the second anniversary of the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School approaches, states have seen historic progress in adopting gun laws to make communities safer. A total of 99 new laws strengthening gun regulations have passed in 37 states since December 14, 2012, with 10 states making major overhauls to their gun laws.
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation’s leading resource for tracking and analyzing gun laws, released its fourth Annual Gun Law State Scorecard on Friday, assigning letter grades to all 50 states based on their gun laws. The Scorecard captures the unprecedented momentum in the fight for smart gun laws in 2014, particularly with regards to background checks, gun violence restraining orders, and laws that keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence abusers.
While historic progress has been made since Newtown, many states lag behind when it comes to gun laws, with 27 states receiving Fs. The Annual Gun Law State Scorecard reveals a strong correlation between gun laws and gun deaths—states with the weakest laws, like Mississippi and Louisiana (ranked 48 and 50 out of 50), have some of the highest gun death rates in the country (3 and 2, respectively), while states with strong laws, like California and Massachusetts (ranked 1 and 6 out of 50) have some of the lowest gun death rates (42 and 50, respectively).
The Annual Gun Law State Scorecard highlights a number of the gun law success stories in 2014, including:
- California’s new Gun Violence Restraining Order Law: The first of its kind, and a reaction to this summer’s tragic shooting in Isla Vista, California’s new GVRO law empowers families by letting them seek to have guns temporarily removed from loved ones deemed a danger to themselves or others.
- Washington State passes universal background checks ballot initiative: The first state referendum on universal background checks in the nation passed by a significant majority and is likely to serve as a model for other states, such as Nevada.
- Domestic violence legislation: Recognizing that women in domestic violence situations are five times more likely to be killed if their abusers have a gun, in 2014 seven states passed laws preventing domestic abusers from accessing firearms, with little opposition from the gun lobby.
“While Congress failed to act on universal background checks in the aftermath of Newtown, despite support from over 90% of Americans, we have seen tremendous progress at the state level,” said Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “Our goal with the Annual Gun Law State Scorecard is to show people that smart gun laws make a real difference. State legislators can make communities safer by enacting common-sense gun laws, following in the footsteps of states like California and Massachusetts. Change isn’t just possible—it’s happening.”
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has been on the frontlines in many of the fights for smart gun laws in 2014. The Law Center provided the model law Washington State used as a guide for its background check ballot initiative, worked closely with the state lawmakers who crafted California’s GVRO bill, and supported domestic violence gun legislation across the country.
The Law Center’s legal experts are immediately available for interviews about the Annual State Gun Law Scorecard, the progress made since Newtown, and other issues regarding American gun laws.
About the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly known as the Legal Community Against Violence) was founded after the 1993 shooting in San Francisco that left eight dead. Today, it is a national law center focused on providing comprehensive legal expertise in support of gun violence prevention. As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, the Law Center is dedicated to preventing the loss of lives caused by gun violence by providing trusted, in-depth legal expertise and information on America’s gun laws. The Law Center partners with state legislators, advocates, community groups and others to advance its mission to prevent gun violence in America.