Note: As mass shootings gain more media attention, more and more people are discussing gun control. While many seem to believe that registering all guns, requiring background checks for all purchases, and preventing identifiably dangerous people from purchasing guns are all good ideas, just as many seem to be afraid that any gun control law will mean the loss of all civilian guns. Organizations like the NRA play on these fears, telling people that guns are already too regulated and any further action will mean the loss of the much cherished 2nd Amendment (which is more for well-regulated militia than civilians, but that’s an argument for another day).
So I wanted to see what exactly the gun laws are in each state. Are guns too regulated? Do states with tight gun laws have more gun violence or less? What does it even take to get a gun nowadays? With these questions in mind, I’ll be starting a new weekly series – Gun Laws, State by State. I will try to document the most up-to-date gun laws in each state as well as provide facts on gun deaths in each state. Hopefully, by the time I get to the last state, we will all be better educated on gun control and gun deaths. If you have any additional information on the state in question, add it in the comments.
Previous post: California
Thus far, Georgia has the most lax gun regulations that I’ve reviewed – and a fairly sizeable amount of gun-related crime.
- You don’t need a permit to purchase, posses, or carry (except concealed handguns).
- There is no minimum age to possess or purchase a long gun.
- You are not restricted to the number of firearms or ammunition you can purchase at once.
- Domestic abusers and stalkers aren’t prevented from purchasing or keeping firearms.
- You do not have to do a background check everywhere.
At the same time,
- Georgia ranks 19th in gun-related deaths.
- It ranks 10th in crime gun exports.
- It has 20 mass shootings in 2015, leaving 25 killed and 71 injured.
A cursory glance at the data would lead me to believe that Georgia’s lax rules about background checks, registration, amount of guns and ammunition purchased at once, and enforcement of gun-restriction laws have led to its higher amounts of deaths, injuries, and exportation. It’s also worth noting that Georgia has the highest percentage of gun owners in the state thus far with over 40% of Georgians owning at least one firearm. However, this does not mean that they have the largest amount of gun owners – their population dictates that they have fewer owners than either California or Texas. Likewise, though their per capita gun-related deaths ranks higher than either state, they also see fewer actual deaths – it’s just the percentages that are higher.
Does this mean that Georgia should ban all guns? Not necessarily, but restricting the amount of ammunition you can buy or have at any one time could prevent large-scale shootings. Likewise, processing background checks for all sellers and enforcing laws preventing domestic abusers and stalkers from owning or purchasing a firearm could reduce the amount of deaths and exportations. This is especially important given Georgia’s infamous status as the state leading the nation in school shootings.