Special Report

States Where the Most People are Giving up Their Guns

New Zealand Firearms Buy-Back Concludes
2019 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images

The number of Americans who were either killed or injured by a firearm climbed nearly every year from 2014 to 2021. Total firearm deaths and injuries rose from 34,221 to nearly 59,000 over that period, a more than 70% increase according to the Gun Violence Archive. Some experts link the recent surge in gun violence to rising gun sales. Americans bought a record-breaking 22.8 million firearms in 2020, and though sales fell to 19.9 million the following year, 2021 ranks as the industry’s second-best sales year on record.

In an effort to take guns off the street and reduce the likelihood of deadly violence, municipalities and law enforcement agencies across the country have implemented gun buyback programs. These initiatives allow gun owners to turn their firearms over to local authorities, often in exchange for cash or gift cards. In the absence of a gun buyback event, gun owners can often relinquish unwanted firearms to local police departments or sheriff’s offices.

According to one report, there were at least 550 gun buyback programs across 37 states between 1988 and 2021. In New York alone, more than 7,000 firearms were voluntarily relinquished between 2019 and early 2023, according to the state’s Attorney General Letitia James. While many other states do not publish specific numbers, firearm tracing data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives offers some insight.

The ATF assists local law enforcement agencies in criminal investigations by tracing firearms back to their original point of sale. While most traced firearms were recovered from a crime scene or taken from a suspect, according to the ATF, some portion of them were turned over to law enforcement voluntarily, often through buybacks.

While not all voluntarily relinquished firearms go through the federal tracing system, ATF data provides a minimum estimate of the number of guns that have been turned in to local authorities in each state.

Using 2022 ATF data, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where the most people are giving up their guns. Figures were calculated by taking the difference between the total number of firearms traced and the number of traced guns less those that were voluntarily relinquished, as reported by the ATF. States are ranked by the estimated number of guns that were turned in for every 10,000 people with data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey. It is important to note that in some cases, estimates may include duplicate traces. Supplemental data on the estimated share of households that own a gun are from a 2020 study published by the RAND Corporation.

Depending on the state, the estimated number of guns that were voluntarily relinquished in 2022 ranges from fewer than 100 to nearly 23,000. The population-adjusted gun buyback rate among states ranges from about 1 for every 10,000 people to 6.5 per 10,000.

While gun buybacks are generally implemented to reduce gun violence, there appears to be little correlation between gun violence and buyback participation. In fact, several of the states with the highest annual gun death rates, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also have some of the highest population- adjusted voluntary firearm relinquishment rates. These states include Louisiana and New Mexico. (Here is a look at the states with the most gun crime.)

This disconnect highlights some of the most common criticisms of gun buybacks — namely, that these programs generally do not attract criminals, and the gun owners who do participate are generally at low-risk of firearm homicide. (These gun calibers are used the most to commit crime.)

These are the states where the most people are giving up their guns.

50. New Hampshire

Source: halbergman / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 0.94 per 10,000 people (total: 131)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 46.3% of households (19th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 10.3 fatalities per 100,000 people (9th lowest of 50 states)

49. Hawaii

Source: okimo / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 0.97 per 10,000 people (total: 140)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 9.1% of households (3rd lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 4.5 fatalities per 100,000 people (3rd lowest of 50 states)

48. Vermont

Source: AlbertPego / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.10 per 10,000 people (total: 71)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 50.3% of households (15th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 12.2 fatalities per 100,000 people (13th lowest of 50 states)

47. Wyoming

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.36 per 10,000 people (total: 79)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 60.7% of households (2nd highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 20.6 fatalities per 100,000 people (11th highest of 50 states)

46. Michigan

Source: Davel5957 / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.39 per 10,000 people (total: 1,399)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 38.9% of households (22nd lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 15.1 fatalities per 100,000 people (24th lowest of 50 states)

45. Idaho

Source: vkbhat / E+ via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.41 per 10,000 people (total: 273)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 57.8% of households (4th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 17.5 fatalities per 100,000 people (18th highest of 50 states)

44. Iowa

Source: pabradyphoto / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.43 per 10,000 people (total: 458)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 38.5% of households (20th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 11.3 fatalities per 100,000 people (10th lowest of 50 states)

43. Connecticut

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.56 per 10,000 people (total: 566)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 18.8% of households (8th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 7.0 fatalities per 100,000 people (6th lowest of 50 states)

42. North Dakota

Source: johnbrianmccarthy / Flickr
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.62 per 10,000 people (total: 126)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 53.3% of households (9th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 16.5 fatalities per 100,000 people (22nd highest of 50 states)

41. Nebraska

Nebraska | Omaha skyline and lake at Autumn
Source: Davel5957 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.63 per 10,000 people (total: 321)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 39.2% of households (24th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 12.3 fatalities per 100,000 people (14th lowest of 50 states)

40. Utah

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.67 per 10,000 people (total: 565)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 39.7% of households (25th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 14.0 fatalities per 100,000 people (17th lowest of 50 states)

39. Washington

Source: kenlund / Flickr
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.82 per 10,000 people (total: 1,414)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 32.1% of households (11th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 12.6 fatalities per 100,000 people (15th lowest of 50 states)

38. Massachusetts

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.84 per 10,000 people (total: 1,284)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 9.0% of households (2nd lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 3.7 fatalities per 100,000 people (2nd lowest of 50 states)

37. New Jersey

Source: Ultima_Gaina / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.85 per 10,000 people (total: 1,712)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 8.9% of households (the lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 5.0 fatalities per 100,000 people (4th lowest of 50 states)

36. Wisconsin

Source: warrenlemay / Flickr
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.93 per 10,000 people (total: 1,135)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 47.1% of households (17th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 14.1 fatalities per 100,000 people (18th lowest of 50 states)

35. New York

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.95 per 10,000 people (total: 3,829)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 14.5% of households (5th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 5.3 fatalities per 100,000 people (5th lowest of 50 states)

34. Rhode Island

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 1.96 per 10,000 people (total: 214)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 13.9% of households (4th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 3.1 fatalities per 100,000 people (the lowest of 50 states)

33. Arkansas

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.03 per 10,000 people (total: 618)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 51.8% of households (14th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 22.1 fatalities per 100,000 people (8th highest of 50 states)

32. Missouri

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.13 per 10,000 people (total: 1,314)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 52.8% of households (10th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 24.4 fatalities per 100,000 people (6th highest of 50 states)

31. Minnesota

Source: Stephen Maturen / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.18 per 10,000 people (total: 1,246)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 39.1% of households (23rd lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 9.7 fatalities per 100,000 people (8th lowest of 50 states)

30. Alaska

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.18 per 10,000 people (total: 160)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 57.2% of households (5th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 22.7 fatalities per 100,000 people (7th highest of 50 states)

29. Oklahoma

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.26 per 10,000 people (total: 908)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 54.9% of households (7th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 20.1 fatalities per 100,000 people (13th highest of 50 states)

28. Kansas

Kansas | Wichita, Kansas, USA Downtown Skyline
Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.38 per 10,000 people (total: 698)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 42.3% of households (22nd highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 17.0 fatalities per 100,000 people (21st highest of 50 states)

27. Colorado

Source: pawel.gaul / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.38 per 10,000 people (total: 1,389)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 37.9% of households (19th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 17.3 fatalities per 100,000 people (19th highest of 50 states)

26. West Virginia

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.41 per 10,000 people (total: 427)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 60.0% of households (3rd highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 16.4 fatalities per 100,000 people (23rd highest of 50 states)

25. South Dakota

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.42 per 10,000 people (total: 220)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 55.0% of households (6th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 16.1 fatalities per 100,000 people (24th highest of 50 states)

24. Georgia

Georgia | Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.42 per 10,000 people (total: 2,645)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 37.7% of households (18th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 20.0 fatalities per 100,000 people (14th highest of 50 states)

23. Mississippi

Mississippi | Jackson Mississippi Skyline
Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.49 per 10,000 people (total: 733)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 54.1% of households (8th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 29.7 fatalities per 100,000 people (the highest of 50 states)

22. Ohio

Source: espiegle / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.59 per 10,000 people (total: 3,043)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 41.9% of households (23rd highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 15.7 fatalities per 100,000 people (25th highest of 50 states)

21. Texas

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.61 per 10,000 people (total: 7,834)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 35.5% of households (14th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 15.7 fatalities per 100,000 people (25th highest of 50 states)

20. Montana

Source: Jon Bilous / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.66 per 10,000 people (total: 299)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 65.0% of households (the highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 24.5 fatalities per 100,000 people (5th highest of 50 states)

19. Florida

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.70 per 10,000 people (total: 6,008)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 28.8% of households (10th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 14.4 fatalities per 100,000 people (20th lowest of 50 states)

18. Indiana

Source: Ultima_Gaina / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.76 per 10,000 people (total: 1,886)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 42.4% of households (21st highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 17.6 fatalities per 100,000 people (17th highest of 50 states)

17. Alabama

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.82 per 10,000 people (total: 1,432)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 52.8% of households (10th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 25.9 fatalities per 100,000 people (4th highest of 50 states)

16. Arizona

Source: dszc / E+ via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.90 per 10,000 people (total: 2,134)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 36.0% of households (16th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 20.5 fatalities per 100,000 people (12th highest of 50 states)

15. Virginia

Source: ferrantraite / E+ via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 2.94 per 10,000 people (total: 2,556)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 35.3% of households (13th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 15.1 fatalities per 100,000 people (24th lowest of 50 states)

14. Delaware

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 3.01 per 10,000 people (total: 307)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 38.7% of households (21st lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 12.1 fatalities per 100,000 people (12th lowest of 50 states)

13. Oregon

Salem, OR | Salem, Oregon, USA downtown city skyline
Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 3.12 per 10,000 people (total: 1,323)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 41.4% of households (24th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 14.6 fatalities per 100,000 people (21st lowest of 50 states)

12. Kentucky

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 3.23 per 10,000 people (total: 1,457)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 52.5% of households (12th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 18.9 fatalities per 100,000 people (16th highest of 50 states)

11. Nevada

Source: kenlund / Flickr
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 3.35 per 10,000 people (total: 1,065)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 32.9% of households (12th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 19.3 fatalities per 100,000 people (15th highest of 50 states)

10. South Carolina

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 3.36 per 10,000 people (total: 1,775)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 45.0% of households (20th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 21.3 fatalities per 100,000 people (9th highest of 50 states)

9. Illinois

Source: franckreporter / E+ via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 3.46 per 10,000 people (total: 4,353)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 22.6% of households (9th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 14.4 fatalities per 100,000 people (20th lowest of 50 states)

8. New Mexico

Source: Faina Gurevich / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 3.66 per 10,000 people (total: 774)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 35.9% of households (15th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 27.5 fatalities per 100,000 people (3rd highest of 50 states)

7. Pennsylvania

Source: kimon / Flickr
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 3.68 per 10,000 people (total: 4,771)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 40.2% of households (25th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 14.8 fatalities per 100,000 people (22nd lowest of 50 states)

6. North Carolina

Source: pawel.gaul / E+ via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 4.06 per 10,000 people (total: 4,348)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 37.1% of households (17th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 17.1 fatalities per 100,000 people (20th highest of 50 states)

5. Tennessee

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 4.48 per 10,000 people (total: 3,159)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 46.9% of households (18th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 20.9 fatalities per 100,000 people (10th highest of 50 states)

4. California

Source: 2024 Getty Images / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 5.88 per 10,000 people (total: 22,958)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 16.3% of households (6th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 8.7 fatalities per 100,000 people (7th lowest of 50 states)

3. Louisiana

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 6.03 per 10,000 people (total: 2,767)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 52.3% of households (13th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 28.2 fatalities per 100,000 people (2nd highest of 50 states)

2. Maine

Source: Ultima_Gaina / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 6.31 per 10,000 people (total: 874)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 47.7% of households (16th highest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 12.0 fatalities per 100,000 people (11th lowest of 50 states)

1. Maryland

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Est. number of voluntarily forfeited firearms in 2022: 6.54 per 10,000 people (total: 4,034)
  • Est. gun-ownership rate: 16.7% of households (7th lowest of 50 states)
  • Latest annual gun-death rate: 13.6 fatalities per 100,000 people (16th lowest of 50 states)
Rank State Guns turned in per 10,000 people in 2022 (est.) Est. num. of guns turned in or bought back in 2022 Est. households that own a firearm (%) Gun deaths per 100,000 people annually
1 Maryland 6.54 4,034 16.7 13.6
2 Maine 6.31 874 47.7 12.0
3 Louisiana 6.03 2,767 52.3 28.2
4 California 5.88 22,958 16.3 8.7
5 Tennessee 4.48 3,159 46.9 20.9
6 North Carolina 4.06 4,348 37.1 17.1
7 Pennsylvania 3.68 4,771 40.2 14.8
8 New Mexico 3.66 774 35.9 27.5
9 Illinois 3.46 4,353 22.6 14.4
10 South Carolina 3.36 1,775 45.0 21.3
11 Nevada 3.35 1,065 32.9 19.3
12 Kentucky 3.23 1,457 52.5 18.9
13 Oregon 3.12 1,323 41.4 14.6
14 Delaware 3.01 307 38.7 12.1
15 Virginia 2.94 2,556 35.3 15.1
16 Arizona 2.90 2,134 36.0 20.5
17 Alabama 2.82 1,432 52.8 25.9
18 Indiana 2.76 1,886 42.4 17.6
19 Florida 2.70 6,008 28.8 14.4
20 Montana 2.66 299 65.0 24.5
21 Texas 2.61 7,834 35.5 15.7
22 Ohio 2.59 3,043 41.9 15.7
23 Mississippi 2.49 733 54.1 29.7
24 Georgia 2.42 2,645 37.7 20.0
25 South Dakota 2.42 220 55.0 16.1
26 West Virginia 2.41 427 60.0 16.4
27 Colorado 2.38 1,389 37.9 17.3
28 Kansas 2.38 698 42.3 17.0
29 Oklahoma 2.26 908 54.9 20.1
30 Alaska 2.18 160 57.2 22.7
31 Minnesota 2.18 1,246 39.1 9.7
32 Missouri 2.13 1,314 52.8 24.4
33 Arkansas 2.03 618 51.8 22.1
34 Rhode Island 1.96 214 13.9 3.1
35 New York 1.95 3,829 14.5 5.3
36 Wisconsin 1.93 1,135 47.1 14.1
37 New Jersey 1.85 1,712 8.9 5.0
38 Massachusetts 1.84 1,284 9.0 3.7
39 Washington 1.82 1,414 32.1 12.6
40 Utah 1.67 565 39.7 14.0
41 Nebraska 1.63 321 39.2 12.3
42 North Dakota 1.62 126 53.3 16.5
43 Connecticut 1.56 566 18.8 7.0
44 Iowa 1.43 458 38.5 11.3
45 Idaho 1.41 273 57.8 17.5
46 Michigan 1.39 1,399 38.9 15.1
47 Wyoming 1.36 79 60.7 20.6
48 Vermont 1.10 71 50.3 12.2
49 Hawaii 0.97 140 9.1 4.5
50 New Hampshire 0.94 131 46.3 10.3

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