As the only country in the world whose constitution enshrines the right to keep and bear arms without restrictions, it’s no surprise the United States is absolutely saturated with guns.
The country is a global outlier in private firearm ownership. The U.S. has about 4% of the world’s population but its people possess almost 40% of the world’s civilian-owned guns — nearly 121 for every 100 residents, according to a 2018 report by the Swiss-based Small Arms Survey.
The strict partisan divide over the issue means that many states have very loose gun-ownership rules. And those with stronger restrictions in place can do little to stem the flow of firearms from less-regulated states. One bill currently before the House Judiciary committee, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, would even force states with stricter gun laws to accept concealed carry permits issued in states with less stringent laws.
In 2020, the gun control laws in North Dakota ranked as the 13th weakest in the country, as the laws received an A grade from the Giffords Law Center. North Dakota had 12.6 gun deaths per 100,000 residents in 2020, the 22nd lowest rate among all states.
In 2017, North Dakota repealed the requirement for a concealed-carry license. Anyone who has had a state driver’s license for at least a year may now carry a concealed firearm. As in several other states with less restrictive gun laws, it’s legal to carry a rifle or shotgun in public without a permit.
To determine the states with the best and worst gun laws, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 2020 Annual Gun Law Scorecard from the Giffords Law Center, which ranks states on the strength of gun laws and policy and assigns a letter grade.
|State||2020 Grade||Gun Law Strength Rank||Gun Death Rate (per 100k)||Gun Death Rate Rank||Total gun deaths|
|Alabama||F||14th weakest||22.2||5th highest||1,087|
|Alaska||F||9th weakest||24.5||the highest||179|
|Arizona||F||6th weakest||15.1||16th highest||1,095|
|Arkansas||F||12th weakest||19.3||9th highest||581|
|California||A||the strongest||7.2||7th lowest||2,849|
|Colorado||C+||15th strongest||14.2||18th highest||819|
|Connecticut||A-||3rd strongest||5.3||6th lowest||189|
|Delaware||B||11th strongest||10.0||11th lowest||97|
|Florida||C-||24th strongest||12.7||25th lowest||2,721|
|Georgia||F||19th weakest||15.8||14th highest||1,675|
|Hawaii||A-||4th strongest||4.5||4th lowest||63|
|Idaho||F||3rd weakest||14.2||19th highest||253|
|Illinois||A-||8th strongest||10.8||16th lowest||1,369|
|Indiana||D||24th weakest||14.0||20th highest||943|
|Iowa||C||20th strongest||9.1||9th lowest||287|
|Kansas||F||8th weakest||13.7||21st highest||399|
|Kentucky||F||5th weakest||14.9||17th highest||666|
|Louisiana||F||18th weakest||22.1||6th highest||1,029|
|Maine||F||17th weakest||11.4||17th lowest||154|
|Maryland||A-||6th strongest||12.6||23rd lowest||759|
|Massachusetts||A-||7th strongest||3.4||the lowest||234|
|Michigan||C||21st strongest||12.0||20th lowest||1,202|
|Minnesota||C+||14th strongest||8.1||8th lowest||458|
|Mississippi||F||the weakest||24.2||2nd highest||721|
|Missouri||F||4th weakest||20.5||7th highest||1,259|
|Montana||F||16th weakest||18.9||10th highest||202|
|Nebraska||C||19th strongest||10.2||13th lowest||198|
|Nevada||C+||16th strongest||15.3||15th highest||471|
|New Hampshire||F||21st weakest||10.5||14th lowest||143|
|New Jersey||A||2nd strongest||4.1||3rd lowest||367|
|New Mexico||C+||18th strongest||22.3||4th highest||467|
|New York||A-||5th strongest||3.9||2nd lowest||761|
|North Carolina||D||25th strongest||13.1||23rd highest||1,370|
|North Dakota||F||13th weakest||12.6||22nd lowest||96|
|Ohio||D||25th weakest||13.3||22nd highest||1,557|
|Oklahoma||F||11th weakest||18.6||11th highest||735|
|Oregon||C+||17th strongest||12.5||21st lowest||527|
|Pennsylvania||C+||13th strongest||11.7||19th lowest||1,491|
|Rhode Island||B+||9th strongest||4.6||5th lowest||49|
|South Carolina||F||20th weakest||19.8||8th highest||1,019|
|South Dakota||F||7th weakest||13.0||24th highest||115|
|Tennessee||D-||22nd weakest||18.3||12th highest||1,252|
|Texas||F||15th weakest||12.6||24th lowest||3,665|
|Utah||D||23rd weakest||12.8||25th highest||410|
|Vermont||C-||23rd strongest||9.4||10th lowest||58|
|Virginia||B||12th strongest||11.7||19th lowest||994|
|Washington||B+||10th strongest||10.7||15th lowest||815|
|West Virginia||F||10th weakest||16.6||13th highest||298|
|Wisconsin||C-||22nd strongest||10.0||12th lowest||585|
|Wyoming||F||2nd weakest||22.5||3rd highest||130|
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