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Comparing Gun Laws and Gun-Related Deaths Across America

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Ranking of each U.S. state's gun law, from strictest to loosest

Comparing Gun Laws and Gun-Related Deaths Across America

In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down concealed-gun legislation in New York sent shock waves through the country.

The decision brought renowned attention to the ongoing debate around America’s gun laws—one that Americans have grossly differing views on. This lack of consensus is apparent not just in public opinion, but in legislation, with U.S. firearm regulation varying greatly from state to state.

Which states have the strictest (and loosest) gun regulations around? This graphic by Elbie Bentley sets the ground for comparing gun laws across America before the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling can be fully understood. It uses 2021 data from Giffords Law Center and contrasts against gun-related deaths in each state.

States With The Strictest Gun Laws

Since 2010, researchers at Giffords Law Center have been ranking state gun laws across America and seeing if there’s a correlation between stricter gun laws and lower gun-related deaths.

Here’s a look at the top 10 states with the strictest gun laws and their number of gun-related deaths in 2021:

RankStateGun-Related Deaths in 2021 (per 100,000 people)% Difference from National Average
1California8.5-37%
2New Jersey5-63%
3Connecticut6-56%
4Hawaii3.4-75%
5Massachusetts3.7-73%
6New York5.3-61%
7Mayland13.5-1%
8Illinois14.1+3%
9Rhode Island5.1-62%
10Washington10.9-20%

California has the strictest gun laws in the country. Some of the state’s most notable legislation is its proactive removal of firearms from people who are facing domestic violence charges, or from people that have domestic abuse protective orders filed against them.

In addition to having the strictest gun laws, California also has a relatively low rate of gun-related deaths, at 8.5 deaths per 100,000 people—37% below the national average.

Apart from Illinois, gun-related deaths in the 10 states with the strictest gun laws are all below the national average, with Hawaii ranking the lowest for gun-related deaths at 3.4 deaths per 100,000 people, or 75% below the national average.

States With The Loosest Gun Laws

On the opposite end of the spectrum, here’s a look at the 10 states with the loosest gun laws, and their number of gun-related deaths per 100,000 people:

RankStateGun-Related Deaths in 2021 (per 100,000 people)% Difference from National Average
41Alaska23.5+73%
42(T)Arizona16.7+22%
42(T)Kentucky20.1+48%
44South Dakota13.6-0.4%
45(T)Kansas16.9+24%
45(T)Mississippi28.6+110%
47Missouri23.9+75%
48Idaho17.6+29%
49Wyoming25.9+90%
50Arkansas22.6+66%

Apart from South Dakota, all states in the bottom 10 have an above-average rate of gun-related deaths. Mississippi has the highest death rate at 28.6 per 100,000, which is 110% above the national average.

In Mississippi, you don’t need a permit to carry a concealed gun—not even on university campuses. And a few years ago, the state passed a law allowing K-12 school employees to bring guns onto school grounds.

Polarizing Opinions and an Uncertain Future

The recent Supreme Court ruling came weeks after dozens were killed in a series of mass shootings across the country—including one in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and the other in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Notably, some states have already reacted to the ruling by altering their gun laws. New York passed new legislation banning guns from notable public places, requiring applicants to prove they can use a gun, and requiring applicants to have their social media accounts reviewed. On the other hand, Maryland loosened its gun laws, directing law enforcement to be less restrictive for concealed carry applicants.

As all of the changes are still happening in rapid session, time will tell what the next annual review of U.S. gun laws shows about the country’s gun regulation landscape.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Who Owns the Most Vehicles per Capita, by Country?

Here are the highest vehicles per capita by country as a growing global middle class is fueling car ownership rates around the world.

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This bar graph shows the number of vehicles per 1,000 people around the world.

Who Owns the Most Vehicles per Capita, by Country?

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

In 2020, there were 289 million vehicles in use in America, or about 18% of the global total.

With one of the largest car ownership rates worldwide, the number of U.S. cars on the road have more than doubled since the 1960s. But how does ownership compare to other countries, and who is seeing the fastest growth rates amid a rising global middle class?

This graphic shows vehicles per capita by country, based on data from the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA).

Highest Car Ownership Rates Worldwide

Below, we rank countries based on the number of registered vehicles in use per 1,000 people, including both passenger cars and commercial vehicles as of 2020:

CountryNumber of Vehicles in Use
per 1000 Inhabitants
Average Annual Growth Rate
2015-2020
🇳🇿 New Zealand8693%
🇺🇸 U.S.8602%
🇵🇱 Poland7614%
🇮🇹 Italy7561%
🇦🇺 Australia7372%
🇨🇦 Canada7073%
🇫🇷 France7041%
🇨🇿 Czechia6583%
🇵🇹 Portugal6402%
🇳🇴 Norway6351%
🇦🇹 Austria6322%
🇬🇧 UK6322%
🇩🇪 Germany6272%
🇪🇸 Spain6272%
🇬🇷 Greece6171%
🇯🇵 Japan6120%
🇨🇭 Switzerland6041%
🇧🇪 Belgium5901%
🇳🇱 Netherlands5882%
🇫🇮 Finland5771%
🇸🇪 Sweden5441%
🇩🇰 Denmark5402%
🇮🇪 Ireland5403%
🇲🇾 Malaysia5356%
🇸🇰 Slovakia5133%
🇱🇾 Libya4904%
🇧🇬 Bulgaria485-1%
🇭🇷 Croatia4743%
🇸🇾 Syria4727%
🇭🇺 Hungary4634%
🇰🇷 South Korea4582%
🇷🇴 Romania4387%
🇮🇱 Israel4044%
🇷🇺 Russia3892%
🇧🇾 Belarus3871%
🇲🇽 Mexico3584%
🇹🇼 Taiwan3441%
🇦🇪 UAE3438%
🇷🇸 Serbia3304%
🇦🇷 Argentina3110%
🇹🇭 Thailand2775%
🇨🇱 Chile2461%
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan226-1%
🇨🇳 China22314%
🇹🇷 Türkiye2204%
🇧🇷 Brazil2141%
🇺🇦 Ukraine192-1%
🇮🇷 Iran1832%
🇿🇦 South Africa1761%
🇪🇨 Ecuador1523%
🇻🇪 Venezuela149-1%
🇩🇿 Algeria1443%
🇲🇦 Morocco1124%
🇨🇴 Colombia1111%
🇮🇶 Iraq1114%
🇵🇪 Peru884%
🇮🇩 Indonesia785%
🇪🇬 Egypt644%
🇳🇬 Nigeria565%
🇻🇳 Vietnam5017%
🇵🇭 Philippines383%
🇮🇳 India3310%
🇵🇰 Pakistan207%

Clinching top spot is New Zealand, a country known for its love of cars.

With nearly nine cars on the road to every 10 people, this figure is notably high considering that children make up about 20% of the population. The majority of cars are imported second hand from Japan thanks to a wave of deregulation in the 1980s along with the country being a major producer of right-hand drive cars.

The U.S. falls close behind, with a clear preference for trucks and SUVs. In fact, the Ford F-1 Series has been the best-selling vehicle in America for 42 consecutive years.

In Europe, Poland has the highest number of vehicles per person, but one of the lowest share of electric vehicles (EVs). While EVs make up nearly 16% of all cars in top-ranking country Norway, they comprise 0.1% in Poland. On average, EVs account for 0.8% of passenger cars in the European Union.

Driven by an expanding middle class, Vietnam has seen the fastest growth in ownership. Between 2015 and 2020, the motorization rate grew by an astonishing 17% each year. Additionally, China witnessed 14% growth while India’s vehicles per 1,000 people increased 10% annually over the period.

The Top EV Markets, by Country

As EV sales gain momentum, here are the biggest markets worldwide, based on the number of all-EV cars in use as of 2022:

CountryEstimated Number of EVs in Use
2022
🇨🇳 China11,000,000
🇺🇸 U.S.2,100,000
🇩🇪 Germany1,000,000
🇫🇷 France620,000
🇳🇴 Norway590,000
🇬🇧 UK550,000
🇳🇱 Netherlands340,000
🇰🇷 South Korea300,000
🇨🇦 Canada250,000
🇯🇵 Japan210,000

Source: IEA Global EV Outlook 2023

China is home to over half of the world’s EVs.

Its foothold on the global EV market can be explained by its close proximity to the raw materials used in EV batteries. In fact, China produces roughly 70% of the world’s rare earth metals and has more battery production capacity than all other countries combined.

Adding to this, China developed key government policies that specifically tackled operational hurdles, such as battery constraints, leading to innovation in core technologies. In 2023, EVs made up 31% of all car sales in China, boosted by government incentives and strong consumer demand.

Norway is another leader in the EV market, whose government began introducing EV policies as early as 1990. By 2025, the country aims to phase out internal combustion engine vehicle sales completely. About 80% of all vehicles sales in Norway were EVs in 2022, the highest in the world.

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