Crime

States Where The Most Guns are Trafficked From: All 50 States, Ranked

The National Rifle Association Holds Annual Convention in Indianapolis
2023 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Deadly gun violence is a grim reality in the United States. In 2023, there were 656 mass shootings, as reported by the Trace.Org, an anti-gun violence organization. With a largely bipartisan divide on gun legislation in Washington, there is an absence of strong laws at the federal level. This leaves gun control legislation up to each state.

Unfortunately, the loopholes in gun legislation supply a thriving black market. Thousands of firearms move across state lines for illicit purposes, as guns purchased in the least restrictive states are redistributed in states with stricter gun policies. Firearm tracing data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is key in understanding this issue. (See the states with the loosest gun laws.)

According to a statement released by the White House, the largest source of guns illegally trafficked into communities are from unlicensed dealers who do not conduct background checks. Additionally, in an assessment of its gun trafficking investigations from 2017 to 2021, ATF identified sales by unlicensed dealers as the most frequently used gun trafficking channel.

When police recover a firearm suspected to have been involved in a crime, they can enlist the help of the ATF to trace the firearm and determine when and where it was originally purchased. Last year, the ATF traced over 107,000 firearms that were recovered by law enforcement in states they were not initially sold in.

While not all guns traced by the ATF were used in a crime — and not all firearms used for illicit purposes are traced — federal tracing data offers valuable insight into trends and geographic patterns related to interstate gun trafficking in the United States. (See the city in each state with the most gun-related crimes.)

Using firearm tracing data from the ATF, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states trafficking the most guns to the rest of the country. We ranked all 50 states on the share of guns first sold there that were recovered by law enforcement in a different state in 2022.

Why This Matters

Source: David McNew / Getty Images News via Getty Images

24/7 is covering the states where the most guns are trafficked from to keep readers aware of the potential for crime related to gun trafficking in their area, and how it can influence the economy. The top 10 states on this list account for over half of all firearms that were recovered by law enforcement in 2022 in a different part of the nation. The majority of these states have relatively few firearm restrictions. Geography also appears to play a role in interstate gun trafficking patterns. Often, the largest share of guns traced by the ATF to a given state were recovered by police in a bordering state. In 2022, the ATF traced over 1,200 firearms found in Florida back to the neighboring state of Georgia. High crime areas take an economic toll on local economies. Crime is costly – not only does it affect the labor market, housing market, and local businesses – victims of crime pay an emotional and economic price as well.

Scroll below to see states where the most guns are trafficked from: all 50 states ranked. All data is from 2022.

50. Hawaii

Source: andym5855 / Flickr

  • Guns from Hawaii recovered out of state: 53 (42.7% of recovered firearms from Hawaii)
  • State with most guns traced from Hawaii: California; 13 firearms (0.04% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • State with second most guns traced from Hawaii: Texas; 6 firearms (0.01% of all firearms recovered in Texas)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: A-

49. Rhode Island

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images
  • Guns from Rhode Island recovered out of state: 87 (14.5% of recovered firearms from Rhode Island)
  • State with most guns traced from Rhode Island: Massachusetts; 27 firearms (1.1% of all firearms recovered in Massachusetts)
  • State with second most guns traced from Rhode Island: Connecticut; 11 firearms (0.8% of all firearms recovered in Connecticut)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: B+

48. South Dakota

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  • Guns from South Dakota recovered out of state: 300 (38.5% of recovered firearms from South Dakota)
  • State with most guns traced from South Dakota: Minnesota; 43 firearms (1.1% of all firearms recovered in Minnesota)
  • State with second most guns traced from South Dakota: California; 37 firearms (0.1% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

47. Nebraska

  • Guns from Nebraska recovered out of state: 316 (21.4% of recovered firearms from Nebraska)
  • State with most guns traced from Nebraska: Iowa; 44 firearms (1.6% of all firearms recovered in Iowa)
  • State with second most guns traced from Nebraska: California; 38 firearms (0.1% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: C-

46. Vermont

Source: halbergman / iStock via Getty Images
  • Guns from Vermont recovered out of state: 327 (66.3% of recovered firearms from Vermont)
  • State with most guns traced from Vermont: Massachusetts; 94 firearms (3.9% of all firearms recovered in Massachusetts)
  • State with second most guns traced from Vermont: New York; 75 firearms (0.9% of all firearms recovered in New York)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: B-

45. New Jersey

Source: Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Guns from New Jersey recovered out of state: 331 (35.2% of recovered firearms from New Jersey)
  • State with most guns traced from New Jersey: Pennsylvania; 69 firearms (0.5% of all firearms recovered in Pennsylvania)
  • State with second most guns traced from New Jersey: Florida; 39 firearms (0.1% of all firearms recovered in Florida)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: A

44. North Dakota

Source: Mike Kemp / In Pictures via Getty Images
  • Guns from North Dakota recovered out of state: 354 (43.4% of recovered firearms from North Dakota)
  • State with most guns traced from North Dakota: Minnesota; 91 firearms (2.2% of all firearms recovered in Minnesota)
  • State with second most guns traced from North Dakota: California; 37 firearms (0.1% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

43. Connecticut

Source: JOE KLAMAR / AFP via Getty Images
  • Guns from Connecticut recovered out of state: 407 (42.7% of recovered firearms from Connecticut)
  • State with most guns traced from Connecticut: New York; 63 firearms (0.8% of all firearms recovered in New York)
  • State with second most guns traced from Connecticut: Florida; 43 firearms (0.1% of all firearms recovered in Florida)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: A

42. Delaware

Source: traveler1116 / E+ via Getty Images
  • Guns from Delaware recovered out of state: 413 (30.5% of recovered firearms from Delaware)
  • State with most guns traced from Delaware: Pennsylvania; 125 firearms (1.0% of all firearms recovered in Pennsylvania)
  • State with second most guns traced from Delaware: Maryland; 113 firearms (1.6% of all firearms recovered in Maryland)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: B+

41. Alaska

Source: specnaz-s / iStock via Getty Images
  • Guns from Alaska recovered out of state: 430 (32.2% of recovered firearms from Alaska)
  • State with most guns traced from Alaska: California; 62 firearms (0.2% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • State with second most guns traced from Alaska: Washington; 42 firearms (0.9% of all firearms recovered in Washington)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

40. Massachusetts

Source: Boston Globe / Boston Globe via Getty Images
  • Guns from Massachusetts recovered out of state: 433 (33.1% of recovered firearms from Massachusetts)
  • State with most guns traced from Massachusetts: Florida; 47 firearms (0.2% of all firearms recovered in Florida)
  • State with second most guns traced from Massachusetts: California; 40 firearms (0.1% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: A-

39. Wyoming

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images
  • Guns from Wyoming recovered out of state: 436 (76.8% of recovered firearms from Wyoming)
  • State with most guns traced from Wyoming: Colorado; 100 firearms (1.5% of all firearms recovered in Colorado)
  • State with second most guns traced from Wyoming: California; 57 firearms (0.2% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

38. Maine

Source: The Washington Post / The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • Guns from Maine recovered out of state: 538 (59.2% of recovered firearms from Maine)
  • State with most guns traced from Maine: Massachusetts; 205 firearms (8.6% of all firearms recovered in Massachusetts)
  • State with second most guns traced from Maine: New York; 105 firearms (1.3% of all firearms recovered in New York)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: D-

37. New York

Source: Juan Carlos Alonso Lopez / Shutterstock
  • Guns from New York recovered out of state: 607 (28.3% of recovered firearms from New York)
  • State with most guns traced from New York: Florida; 97 firearms (0.3% of all firearms recovered in Florida)
  • State with second most guns traced from New York: Pennsylvania; 51 firearms (0.4% of all firearms recovered in Pennsylvania)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: A-

36. Montana

  • Guns from Montana recovered out of state: 631 (46.8% of recovered firearms from Montana)
  • State with most guns traced from Montana: California; 156 firearms (0.5% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • State with second most guns traced from Montana: Washington; 109 firearms (2.3% of all firearms recovered in Washington)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

35. Minnesota

  • Guns from Minnesota recovered out of state: 659 (18.0% of recovered firearms from Minnesota)
  • State with most guns traced from Minnesota: Illinois; 97 firearms (0.6% of all firearms recovered in Illinois)
  • State with second most guns traced from Minnesota: California; 77 firearms (0.2% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: B

34. New Hampshire

Source: DOMINICK REUTER / AFP via Getty Images
  • Guns from New Hampshire recovered out of state: 694 (60.5% of recovered firearms from New Hampshire)
  • State with most guns traced from New Hampshire: Massachusetts; 291 firearms (12.2% of all firearms recovered in Massachusetts)
  • State with second most guns traced from New Hampshire: Florida; 34 firearms (0.1% of all firearms recovered in Florida)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: D-

33. Maryland

Source: Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Guns from Maryland recovered out of state: 798 (20.7% of recovered firearms from Maryland)
  • State with most guns traced from Maryland: Virginia; 67 firearms (0.6% of all firearms recovered in Virginia)
  • State with second most guns traced from Maryland: Pennsylvania; 63 firearms (0.5% of all firearms recovered in Pennsylvania)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: A-

32. Iowa

Source: Davel5957 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Guns from Iowa recovered out of state: 849 (28.5% of recovered firearms from Iowa)
  • State with most guns traced from Iowa: Illinois; 243 firearms (1.6% of all firearms recovered in Illinois)
  • State with second most guns traced from Iowa: Nebraska; 148 firearms (8.1% of all firearms recovered in Nebraska)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

31. Idaho

  • Guns from Idaho recovered out of state: 960 (53.3% of recovered firearms from Idaho)
  • State with most guns traced from Idaho: California; 361 firearms (1.1% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • State with second most guns traced from Idaho: Washington; 161 firearms (3.4% of all firearms recovered in Washington)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

30. New Mexico

  • Guns from New Mexico recovered out of state: 1,053 (29.6% of recovered firearms from New Mexico)
  • State with most guns traced from New Mexico: Texas; 235 firearms (0.5% of all firearms recovered in Texas)
  • State with second most guns traced from New Mexico: California; 197 firearms (0.6% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: C+

29. Utah

Source: GEORGE FREY / AFP via Getty Images
  • Guns from Utah recovered out of state: 1,212 (35.8% of recovered firearms from Utah)
  • State with most guns traced from Utah: California; 718 firearms (2.2% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • State with second most guns traced from Utah: Nevada; 81 firearms (1.7% of all firearms recovered in Nevada)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

28. Oregon

Source: ROB KERR / AFP via Getty Images
  • Guns from Oregon recovered out of state: 1,318 (29.3% of recovered firearms from Oregon)
  • State with most guns traced from Oregon: California; 553 firearms (1.7% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • State with second most guns traced from Oregon: Washington; 279 firearms (5.8% of all firearms recovered in Washington)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: A-

27. Kansas

Source: TriggerPhoto / iStock via Getty Images
  • Guns from Kansas recovered out of state: 1,422 (34.7% of recovered firearms from Kansas)
  • State with most guns traced from Kansas: Missouri; 512 firearms (5.8% of all firearms recovered in Missouri)
  • State with second most guns traced from Kansas: California; 140 firearms (0.4% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

26. Wisconsin

  • Guns from Wisconsin recovered out of state: 1,470 (20.2% of recovered firearms from Wisconsin)
  • State with most guns traced from Wisconsin: Illinois; 650 firearms (4.2% of all firearms recovered in Illinois)
  • State with second most guns traced from Wisconsin: Minnesota; 176 firearms (4.3% of all firearms recovered in Minnesota)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: C

25. Michigan

Source: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Guns from Michigan recovered out of state: 1,494 (17.9% of recovered firearms from Michigan)
  • State with most guns traced from Michigan: Ohio; 186 firearms (1.1% of all firearms recovered in Ohio)
  • State with second most guns traced from Michigan: California; 125 firearms (0.4% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: B-

24. Colorado

Source: mtcurado / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Guns from Colorado recovered out of state: 1,606 (24.9% of recovered firearms from Colorado)
  • State with most guns traced from Colorado: California; 266 firearms (0.8% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • State with second most guns traced from Colorado: Texas; 168 firearms (0.3% of all firearms recovered in Texas)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: A-

23. West Virginia

Source: jfbenning / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Guns from West Virginia recovered out of state: 1,608 (56.7% of recovered firearms from West Virginia)
  • State with most guns traced from West Virginia: Maryland; 258 firearms (3.6% of all firearms recovered in Maryland)
  • State with second most guns traced from West Virginia: Ohio; 219 firearms (1.3% of all firearms recovered in Ohio)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

22. Washington

Source: halbergman / E+ via Getty Images
  • Guns from Washington recovered out of state: 1,614 (31.7% of recovered firearms from Washington)
  • State with most guns traced from Washington: California; 416 firearms (1.2% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • State with second most guns traced from Washington: Oregon; 315 firearms (7.4% of all firearms recovered in Oregon)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: A-

21. Arkansas

Source: artas / iStock via Getty Images
  • Guns from Arkansas recovered out of state: 1,778 (43.9% of recovered firearms from Arkansas)
  • State with most guns traced from Arkansas: Texas; 311 firearms (0.6% of all firearms recovered in Texas)
  • State with second most guns traced from Arkansas: California; 286 firearms (0.9% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

20. Oklahoma

  • Guns from Oklahoma recovered out of state: 1,960 (34.5% of recovered firearms from Oklahoma)
  • State with most guns traced from Oklahoma: Texas; 480 firearms (1.0% of all firearms recovered in Texas)
  • State with second most guns traced from Oklahoma: California; 471 firearms (1.4% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

19. California

Source: MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images / MediaNews Group via Getty Images
  • Guns from California recovered out of state: 2,124 (11.0% of recovered firearms from California)
  • State with most guns traced from California: Nevada; 259 firearms (5.3% of all firearms recovered in Nevada)
  • State with second most guns traced from California: Texas; 250 firearms (0.5% of all firearms recovered in Texas)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: A

18. Illinois

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Guns from Illinois recovered out of state: 2,175 (22.5% of recovered firearms from Illinois)
  • State with most guns traced from Illinois: Missouri; 246 firearms (2.8% of all firearms recovered in Missouri)
  • State with second most guns traced from Illinois: Michigan; 219 firearms (2.5% of all firearms recovered in Michigan)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: A-

17. Louisiana

Source: Stacy Revere / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Guns from Louisiana recovered out of state: 2,831 (20.7% of recovered firearms from Louisiana)
  • State with most guns traced from Louisiana: Texas; 1,273 firearms (2.6% of all firearms recovered in Texas)
  • State with second most guns traced from Louisiana: California; 228 firearms (0.7% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

16. Kentucky

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Guns from Kentucky recovered out of state: 3,065 (39.7% of recovered firearms from Kentucky)
  • State with most guns traced from Kentucky: Ohio; 484 firearms (2.8% of all firearms recovered in Ohio)
  • State with second most guns traced from Kentucky: Illinois; 459 firearms (3.0% of all firearms recovered in Illinois)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

15. Nevada

Source: Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Guns from Nevada recovered out of state: 3,094 (47.0% of recovered firearms from Nevada)
  • State with most guns traced from Nevada: California; 2,309 firearms (6.9% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • State with second most guns traced from Nevada: Arizona; 112 firearms (0.9% of all firearms recovered in Arizona)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: C-

14. Pennsylvania

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Guns from Pennsylvania recovered out of state: 3,153 (23.8% of recovered firearms from Pennsylvania)
  • State with most guns traced from Pennsylvania: New Jersey; 617 firearms (17.4% of all firearms recovered in New Jersey)
  • State with second most guns traced from Pennsylvania: New York; 601 firearms (7.4% of all firearms recovered in New York)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: B

13. Missouri

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Guns from Missouri recovered out of state: 3,217 (31.1% of recovered firearms from Missouri)
  • State with most guns traced from Missouri: Illinois; 1,005 firearms (6.5% of all firearms recovered in Illinois)
  • State with second most guns traced from Missouri: Kansas; 551 firearms (14.4% of all firearms recovered in Kansas)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

12. Alabama

Source: Barry Lewis / In Pictures via Getty Images
  • Guns from Alabama recovered out of state: 3,519 (31.9% of recovered firearms from Alabama)
  • State with most guns traced from Alabama: Georgia; 575 firearms (2.9% of all firearms recovered in Georgia)
  • State with second most guns traced from Alabama: Florida; 560 firearms (1.8% of all firearms recovered in Florida)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

11. Tennessee

Source: krblokhin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Guns from Tennessee recovered out of state: 3,538 (26.2% of recovered firearms from Tennessee)
  • State with most guns traced from Tennessee: Illinois; 297 firearms (1.9% of all firearms recovered in Illinois)
  • State with second most guns traced from Tennessee: Georgia; 284 firearms (1.4% of all firearms recovered in Georgia)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

10. Ohio

  • Guns from Ohio recovered out of state: 3,637 (19.7% of recovered firearms from Ohio)
  • State with most guns traced from Ohio: New York; 512 firearms (6.3% of all firearms recovered in New York)
  • State with second most guns traced from Ohio: Michigan; 268 firearms (3.1% of all firearms recovered in Michigan)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: D-

9. Mississippi

Source: MichaelWarrenPix / iStock via Getty Images
  • Guns from Mississippi recovered out of state: 4,074 (53.4% of recovered firearms from Mississippi)
  • State with most guns traced from Mississippi: Tennessee; 1,096 firearms (7.8% of all firearms recovered in Tennessee)
  • State with second most guns traced from Mississippi: Louisiana; 520 firearms (3.9% of all firearms recovered in Louisiana)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

8. North Carolina

Source: J. Michael Jones / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Guns from North Carolina recovered out of state: 4,153 (21.0% of recovered firearms from North Carolina)
  • State with most guns traced from North Carolina: New York; 565 firearms (6.9% of all firearms recovered in New York)
  • State with second most guns traced from North Carolina: South Carolina; 550 firearms (5.3% of all firearms recovered in South Carolina)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: C-

7. Indiana

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Guns from Indiana recovered out of state: 4,616 (36.9% of recovered firearms from Indiana)
  • State with most guns traced from Indiana: Illinois; 2,521 firearms (16.4% of all firearms recovered in Illinois)
  • State with second most guns traced from Indiana: Kentucky; 308 firearms (5.1% of all firearms recovered in Kentucky)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: D-

6. South Carolina

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Guns from South Carolina recovered out of state: 4,778 (36.7% of recovered firearms from South Carolina)
  • State with most guns traced from South Carolina: North Carolina; 1,411 firearms (6.8% of all firearms recovered in North Carolina)
  • State with second most guns traced from South Carolina: New York; 639 firearms (7.8% of all firearms recovered in New York)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: D-

5. Virginia

Source: Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Guns from Virginia recovered out of state: 5,614 (35.9% of recovered firearms from Virginia)
  • State with most guns traced from Virginia: Maryland; 1,172 firearms (16.5% of all firearms recovered in Maryland)
  • State with second most guns traced from Virginia: North Carolina; 801 firearms (3.9% of all firearms recovered in North Carolina)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: B+

4. Florida

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Guns from Florida recovered out of state: 5,723 (19.1% of recovered firearms from Florida)
  • State with most guns traced from Florida: New York; 652 firearms (8.0% of all firearms recovered in New York)
  • State with second most guns traced from Florida: Georgia; 519 firearms (2.6% of all firearms recovered in Georgia)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: D+

3. Arizona

Source: AFP / AFP via Getty Images
  • Guns from Arizona recovered out of state: 6,337 (39.0% of recovered firearms from Arizona)
  • State with most guns traced from Arizona: California; 4,512 firearms (13.5% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • State with second most guns traced from Arizona: Nevada; 240 firearms (4.9% of all firearms recovered in Nevada)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

2. Texas

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Guns from Texas recovered out of state: 7,241 (14.7% of recovered firearms from Texas)
  • State with most guns traced from Texas: California; 1,667 firearms (5.0% of all firearms recovered in California)
  • State with second most guns traced from Texas: Louisiana; 857 firearms (6.4% of all firearms recovered in Louisiana)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

1. Georgia

Source: novikat / iStock via Getty Images
  • Guns from Georgia recovered out of state: 8,315 (33.6% of recovered firearms from Georgia)
  • State with most guns traced from Georgia: Florida; 1,214 firearms (4.0% of all firearms recovered in Florida)
  • State with second most guns traced from Georgia: New York; 1,008 firearms (12.4% of all firearms recovered in New York)
  • Assessment of gun law strength: F

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