California: On Top on Gun Prevention Violence
The center, which tracks every state's gun legislation, published its scorecard on December 16, just days from the end of a year that saw the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history-the June 12 Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida, that claimed 49 victims. And although they often aren't publicized widely, shootings take place in neighborhoods and communities across the country on a daily basis.
The team bases its analysis on various policy solutions, ranging from the gun-violence prevention order that allows a judge to temporarily suspend individuals' access to guns if they are viewed as posing a significant danger to public safety to submitting mental health records to the federal criminal background checks system.
Requiring universal background checks, which extend beyond the federal requirement to cover gun sales and transfers at shows and on the internet, takes priority on the center's scale because it forms the foundation for other gun policies. Meanwhile, the legal team deducts points for the worst trends of the year, including a law in Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri and West Virginia that allows residents to carry concealed, hidden guns in public without a permit.
Each year, the center's scorecard shows a clear correlation:
States with strong gun laws have fewer gun deaths per capita. States with the weakest laws, such as 50th-ranking Mississippi and 44th-ranking Alaska, have the fourth and No. 1 highest gun death rates nationwide, respectively. Meanwhile, states with strong laws, such as California and fourth-ranking Massachusetts, have the 43rd and 50th lowest gun death rates.
California has taken the top-ranking slot every year since the center first published its rankings in 2010. The group skipped 2011 because it didn't anticipate publishing a scorecard each year. Most notably, residents in the Golden State sidestepped Congress by voting directly on their general election ballot to strengthen a gun control measure.
One major priority on the gun lobby's agenda has been to introduce guns in schools and on college campuses. In 2016, though, gun-safety advocates defeated gun on campus bills in 17 states and stopped an open carry bill in Florida and a measure that permitted firearms in government buildings in Arizona.