A shooting at Michigan State University in February left three students dead and five injured. The incident, one of the nation’s seemingly endless stream of large-scale gun violence, prompted Michigan State Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks to indicate that the state legislature would be taking action soon to initiate stricter gun control. Among the policies Brinks suggested is more stringent background checks. (These are the states with the loosest gun laws.)
In January, about 2.6 million firearm background checks were initiated in the United States, according to data compiled by the FBI, a slight increase from January 2022, when 2.5 million checks were conducted. Background checks are often used as a proxy for measuring gun sales in the U.S.
The FBI conducted an estimated 16,745 background checks related to firearm sales in New Jersey in January 2023, up 28.2% from the same period in 2022.
Adjusting for population, this comes out to about 1.8 background checks for every 1,000 people, the third fewest among states. The largest share of background checks in the state were for sales of handguns.
It is important to note that there are a number of reasons background checks are initiated that are clearly not tied to the sale of a gun, such as pawn shop transactions and rentals. These and other background check classifications unrelated to firearm sales were excluded from analysis. A full explanation of our methodology is available here.
|Rank||State||Background checks for gun sales; Jan. 2023 (per 1k people)||Total firearm sale background checks; Jan. 2023||1-yr. change in background checks (%)||Most common type of check|
|6||West Virginia||7.9||14,092||18.8||Long guns|
|17||North Dakota||6.4||5,013||1.6||Long guns|
|20||South Dakota||6.2||5,680||-9.6||Long guns|
|36||North Carolina||4.8||50,876||6.8||Long guns|
|49||New York||1.4||27,662||0.5||Long guns|
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