States With the Most Guns in 2012

The Daily Beast finds the most-armed states in America.

Seth Perlman / AP Photo

The shooting of Trayvon Martin has focused national attention on Florida’s so-called Stand Your Ground law, under which a person claiming self-defense can justify killing an alleged assailant.

Because Trayvon was killed by George Zimmerman’s 9mm semi-automatic handgun, we wondered how the gun-ownership rates have changed since our 2010 report, in which we crunched the numbers to find out which states (including Washington, D.C.) are the most armed.

For our updated ranking, we considered state data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System for the last 18 months. We divided the number of background checks by each state’s population to come up with our final ranking.

A point of caution: states are not consistent in reporting NICS data. Some use the system for background checks on purchases on the secondary market and others do not. Also, Kentucky implemented monthly NICS checks on concealed weapons, which inflates its numbers.

1. KentuckyNICS background checks per 100,000 residents (Sept. 2010 – Feb. 2012): 78,703Previous rank: 1st

2. UtahNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 46,898 Previous rank: 2nd

3. MontanaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 16,888Previous rank: 3rd

4. West VirginiaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 15,718Previous rank: 6th

5. AlaskaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 14,616Previous rank: 5th

6. WyomingNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 13,986Previous rank: 4th

7. North DakotaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 13,952Previous rank: 8th

8. South DakotaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 13,624Previous rank: 7th

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9. OklahomaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 11,279Previous rank: 12th

10. ArkansasNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 11,150Previous rank: 9th

11. AlabamaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 11,070Previous rank: 10th

12. TennesseeNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 10,889Previous rank: 11th

13. New HampshireNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 10,557Previous rank: 16th

14. IdahoNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 10,261Previous rank: 13th

15. MissouriNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 10,228Previous rank: 15th

16. ColoradoNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 10,208Previous rank: 14th

17. MississippiNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 10,035Previous rank: 17th

18. IllinoisNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 9,831Previous rank: 18th

19. MinnesotaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 9,730Previous rank: 22nd

20. LouisianaPopulation: 4,533,372Previous rank: 21st

21. KansasNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 9,176Previous rank: 23rd

22. WashingtonNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 8,785Previous rank: 24th

23. PennsylvaniaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 8,781Previous rank: 25th

24. IndianaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 8,691Previous rank: 27th

25. WisconsinNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 8,676Previous rank: 38th

26. MaineNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 8,629Previous rank: 29th

27. New MexicoNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 8,589Previous rank: 20th

28. IowaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 8,524Previous rank: 31st

29. OregonNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 8,287Previous rank: 26th

30. ConnecticutNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 7,906Previous rank: 19th

31. South CarolinaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 7,765Previous rank: 28th

32. TexasNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 7,060Previous rank: 33rd

33. VermontNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 6,728 Previous rank: 35th

34. NevadaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 6,583Previous rank: 32nd

35. VirginiaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 6,387Previous rank: 30th

36. OhioNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 6,274Previous rank: 39th

37. North CarolinaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 6,178Previous rank: 34th

38. GeorgiaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 5,934Previous rank: 36th

39. ArizonaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 5,934Previous rank: 41st

40. NebraskaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 5,758Previous rank: 40th

41. MichiganNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 5,596Previous rank: 37th

42. FloridaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 5,212Previous rank: 42nd

43. DelawareNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 3,876Previous rank: 43rd

44. CaliforniaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 3,611Previous rank: 44th

45. MassachusettsNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 3,500Previous rank: 46th

46. MarylandNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 2,738Previous rank: 45th

47. Rhode IslandNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 2,496Previous rank: 47th

48. New YorkNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 2,172Previous rank: 48th

49. HawaiiNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 1,359Previous rank: 49th

50. New JerseyNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 1,030Previous rank: 50th

51. District of ColumbiaNICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 81Previous rank: 51st