Washington, D.C. (Vocus) February 19, 2010
Most states have weak or non-existent gun laws, helping feed the illegal gun market and allowing the sale of guns without background checks including at gun shows, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Forty-three states fail to close the loophole that allows criminals to buy guns at gun shows without Brady background checks.
Scores range from the first-ever “zero,” earned by Utah, to 79 for California. The complete scorecard results can be accessed at bradycampaign.org.
“Most states, unfortunately, are doing very little to protect citizens from gun violence. Most states are allowing dangerous people to have easy access to guns,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Few states have laws addressing the critical issue of gun trafficking such as requiring background checks on all gun purchases at gun shows. The Brady Campaign is advocating for legislation to close the gun show loophole at the national level.
Many states with weak gun laws have a high percentage of crime guns recovered that were originally purchased within their own state. The Brady Campaign relates this “homegrown” gun violence to the lack of gun laws in many states and nationally.
“Since most states don’t require Brady criminal background checks on all firearms including those at gun shows, gun traffickers don’t need to leave their own state to funnel illegal guns to felons and gang members," said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign. "Many state officials have done nothing in the past year, or before, to stop the flow of illegal guns within the state, including closing the gun show loophole that allows dangerous people to walk into gun shows and buy guns without background checks” Helmke said.
California maintained the top spot with the nation’s strongest gun laws. New Jersey maintained its number two ranking and jumped ten points (to 73 points) by passing legislation to stop bulk purchases of handguns.
The categories covered by 2009 Brady Campaign State Scorecards are as follows:
We acknowledge the research of Legal Community Against Violence on state gun laws. Their publication, “Regulating Guns in America,” and website served as a basis for our analysis. For more information about Legal Community Against Violence, see lcav.org.
As the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, with its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, works to enact and enforce sensible gun laws, regulations and public policies. The Brady Campaign is devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.