Trendtrack: Status of Firearms Legislation in the States

There’s no need to review the multiple shooting incidents that have garnered major media coverage over the past year.  That’s not the goal here. We offer a breakdown of which states have taken up gun control legislation and how those bills are progressing.

A search of all 50 states’ legislatures shows 4,076 bills containing some form of the words firearm, gun or rifle have been introduced for the 2013 legislative sessions. (Chart, breaking down the status by state and linking to each bill.) Of those, 180 have been have signed by the governor or otherwise enacted. While the percent enacted seems strong, we must look more closely. Of those 180 bills bills, more than half (97) are in Illinois and 39 moved through Virginia. Only 15 other states have enacted firearms legislation to date.  In Illinois’ case, many of the bills are simply amendments to existing code. The major fight is still taking place, with the Chicago Tribune covering the debate of a proposed assault-weapons ban and restrictions on citizens’ rights to carry concealed weapons.

In Arizona, where former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) was shot and severely wounded, 72 bills have been introduced that meet our search criteria. The only one enacted so far encourages the U.S. Department of Defense and the Army to award the medal of honor to a soldier who fought in World War II. Republicans in Arizona are attempting to push through legislation that would make it illegal to enforce federal gun control laws in the state, according to the Associated Press. Lawmakers in Wyoming have attempted something similar.

Some states, such as Connecticut, are just getting started and may still enact new control measures.

Use our chart to follow the progress in every state.