States Ranked by How Strict Their Gun Laws Are

Understanding the landscape of gun control in America is essential for U.S. citizens, including knowing which gun rights they do or do not have depending on the state they live in. While some U.S. states have stricter gun laws in place, others are far more lenient when it comes to our Second Amendment right. But what is the state with the strictest gun laws? The Sightmark team created this ranking of the U.S. states based on how strict their gun laws are. Our comparison of strict gun laws by state uses data from the 2023 Everytown Gun Law Rankings report by Everytown Research & Policy to tally the total number of gun safety policies each state has adopted. The Everytown report includes 50 different types of gun control laws, and the number of laws each state has adopted ranges from three to 45. Dig into the chart below to see which state has the strictest gun laws and which of the 50 gun policies your state has adopted into law.

U.S. States Ranked by How Strict Their Gun Laws Are

What State Has the Strictest Gun Laws?

The state with the strictest gun laws is California. The California government has enacted gun legislation that covers 45 out of the 50 different types of gun control laws. California gun laws bar guns in most public areas, regulate ghost guns, prohibit the marketing of guns to children, and keep guns out of the hands of people such as domestic abusers and violent offenders. Gun laws in California also hold members of the gun industry accountable.

It comes as little surprise that the states with strict gun laws tend to be Democratic. All ten of the states with the most gun control legislation in place are blue states, while just one of the ten states with the least gun control legislation is blue.

The 10 States With the Strictest Gun Laws

  1. California
  2. Illinois
  3. New York
  4. Connecticut
  5. Hawaii
  6. New Jersey
  7. Maryland
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Washington
  10. Colorado

What State Has the Most Lenient Gun Laws?

The state with the most lenient gun laws is Mississippi, with gun legislation that only covers three out of the 50 gun safety policies the states were compared on. Gun laws in Mississipi include legislation that keeps guns out of the hands of those with a felony as well as reporting mental health records to the background check system. Mississippi gun laws also reject the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, which acts as a legislative shield against police accountability. Mississippi currently has no gun legislation in place when it comes to regulating the gun industry and its products or outlawing guns in public places.

The 10 States With the Most Lenient Gun Laws

  1. Mississippi
  2. Wyoming
  3. Montana
  4. Idaho
  5. Georgia
  6. Arkansas
  7. South Dakota
  8. Oklahoma
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Kentucky

Which Gun Law Has Been Adopted by the Most States?

None of the 50 pieces of gun control legislation in the report have been adopted by all 50 states so far. The one policy that the most states have adopted is the Mental Health Record Reporting policy, which 44 states have adopted into their state gun laws. The six states that have not yet pass a gun safety bill with this rule include Arkansas, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wyoming. The Mental Health Record Reporting gun policy falls under the Sales and Permitting category and requires states to report to the federal databases when a person is prohibited from buying a gun due to their mental health.

U.S. Gun Laws Adopted by the Most States

  1. Mental Health Record Reporting: 44
  2. Violence Intervention Program Funding: 41
  3. No-Guns Mandate on College Campuses: 38
  4. Felony Prohibitor: 36
  5. No Guns in K-12 Schools: 34

Which Gun Law Has Been Adopted by the Fewest States?

The gun law that the fewest states have adopted is the Microstamping for New Handguns policy. Only two states have adopted this policy: California and New York. This gun control law requires new handgun models to have microstamping technology built in, which marks bullets with a unique fingerprint when they are discharged from the firearm. Microstamping allows law enforcement to identify the gun that was used to shoot the bullet.

Gun Laws in the U.S. Adopted by the Fewest States

  1. Microstamping for New Handguns: 2
  2. Consumer Safety: 3
  3. Qualified Immunity Limited: 3
  4. Gun Removal Program: 7
  5. Office of Violence Intervention: 7
  6. Police Use of Deadly Force Standard: 7

As gun legislation in the United States continues to evolve, Sightmark supports responsible gun ownership and gun safety across all 50 states. Our products are designed to not only enhance the performance of firearms but also abide by state gun regulations. We support Americans’ gun rights while also promoting responsible gun use by every enthusiast who uses our products.

The Complete List of 50 Gun Safety Policies

Foundational Laws

  • Background Check and/or Purchase Permit
  • Concealed Carry Permit Required
  • Extreme Risk Law
  • No Shoot-First Law
  • Secure Storage or Child Access Prevention Required

Gun Industry and Product Safety

  • Assault Weapons Prohibited
  • Handgun Childproofing Required
  • Ghost Guns Regulated
  • High-Capacity Magazines Prohibited
  • Microstamping for New Handguns
  • No Special Immunity for Gun Industry

Guns in Public

  • Crime Gun Tracing
  • No Carry After Violent Offense
  • No-Guns Mandate on College Campuses
  • No Guns at State Capitols and/or Demonstrations
  • No Guns in Bars
  • No Guns in K-12 Schools
  • Open Carry Regulated
  • Strong Concealed Carry Authority

Keeping Guns Out of the Wrong Hands

  • Emergency Restraining Order Prohibitor
  • Felony Prohibitor
  • Fugitive From Justice Prohibitor
  • Gun Removal Program
  • Hate Crime Prohibitor
  • Mental Health Prohibitor
  • Minimum Age to Purchase
  • No Gun Purchases After Violent Offense
  • Prohibition for Convicted Domestic Abusers
  • Prohibition for Domestic Abusers Under Restraining Orders
  • Relinquishment for Convicted Domestic Abusers
  • Relinquishment for Domestic Abusers Under Restraining Orders
  • School Threat Assessment Teams
  • Stalker Prohibitor

Policing and Civil Rights

  • Funding for Services for Victims of Gun Violence
  • Local Gun Laws Allowed
  • No Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights
  • Office of Violence Intervention
  • Police Use of Deadly Force Standards
  • Police Use of Force Incident Data Collection and Reporting
  • Qualified Immunity Limited
  • Violence Intervention Program Funding

Sales and Permitting

  • Authority to Deny Gun Purchase for Public Safety
  • Charleston Loophole Closed or Limited
  • Dealer License Required
  • Lost and Stolen Reporting
  • Mental Health Record Reporting
  • Notification of Failed Background Checks
  • Sales Records Sent to Law Enforcement
  • Training Required to Purchase Guns
  • Waiting Periods

The U.S. States Ranked by Number of Gun Safety Policies Adopted

Rank

State

Number of Gun Safety Policies Adopted

1

California

45

2

Illinois

42

2

New York

42

4

Connecticut

41

4

Hawaii

41

6

New Jersey

40

7

Maryland

39

8

Massachusetts

38

9

Washington

33

10

Colorado

32

11

Oregon

31

12

Delaware

28

12

Rhode Island

28

14

Virginia

27

15

Pennsylvania

26

16

Minnesota

24

17

New Mexico

19

18

Vermont

18

19

Florida

17

19

Nevada

17

19

North Carolina

17

22

Tennessee

15

22

Wisconsin

15

24

Michigan

14

24

Nebraska

14

26

Iowa

13

26

Louisiana

13

26

Maine

13

29

Texas

12

30

Alabama

11

30

Ohio

11

30

South Carolina

11

30

West Virginia

11

34

Indiana

10

34

North Dakota

10

36

Utah

9

37

Kansas

8

38

Missouri

8

39

Alaska

7

39

Arizona

7

39

Kentucky

7

39

New Hampshire

7

39

Oklahoma

7

44

South Dakota

5

45

Arkansas

4

45

Georgia

4

45

Idaho

4

45

Montana

4

45

Wyoming

4

50

Mississippi

3

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12 comments

The only logic I can think of for strict gun control, is not to have so many guns available held by law abiding citizens, that have the potential of being stolen by criminals. Let’s face folks, criminals have absolutely no problem obtaining Gun’s, and even less of a problem ignoring Gun Law’s.

William Sherman

Give me a break. Gun control states fudge the numbers so the rules are what they want them to be. I am a native Californian whom left my home because of stupid criminals and the havoc they create. Tell the mothers in south central LA how the gun controls that the crooks in Sacramento has adopted. The murders in the inner city’s have done nothing increased. The gangs the criminals have more guns than ever and comment murders on a daily basis. But they don’t have any legal weapons. There may be less gun crime in the high rent white, overly policed areas but not in the poor neighborhoods it’s worse than ever. Chicago has some of strictest gun laws in the nation but th

Mike Smith
Look at the correlation between anti-psychotics and mass shooters. You’ll start to find answers.
Josiah

I live in New York City, one of the most difficult places in the US to be approved for a pistol permit. However, in 2021 New York City had over 1200 incidents with guns that involved injury, including deaths, It was about 1050 in 2022. That’s over 3 gunshot victims a day over a 2-year period. I don’t know how many were suicides (I have to account for that possibility) but given how difficult it is to get approved for a pistol for HOME use, let alone a Concealed Carry, who’s doing all this shooting? I’ll just make the logical conclusion that the guns are mostly illegal. People still get guns, but why should I ever be in a position where Im killed because I didn’t have a weapon, but someone who shouldn’t have one DID

Jack Nimble

What state can take all of a licensed persons gun collection, and put all of the people in the house in jail? They will not get the collection back it will be GONE!

Bob Gerry

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