State Gun-Control, Gun-Rights, and Preemptive Firearm-Related Laws Across 50 US States for 2009–2018

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Objectives. To assess state policy environments and the relationship between state gun-control, gun-rights, and preemptive firearm-related laws in the United States. Methods. In 2019 through 2020, we evaluated substantive firearm laws and preemptive firearm laws across 50 US states for 2009 through 2018. For each state, we compared substantive measures with preemptive measures on the same policy topic for 2018. Results. The presence of state firearm-related laws varied across states, but with the exception of “punitive preemption” the number of gun-control, gun-rights, and preemptive measures remained unchanged in most states from 2009 through 2018. As of 2018, a majority of states had preemptive measures on almost all gun-control policy topics without enacting substantive gun-control measures. Several states had a combination of gun-control and preemptive measures. Only a small number of states had gun-control measures with few to no preemptive measures. Conclusions. Even where state legislators were unable to pass statewide gun-rights measures, they succeeded in passing preemption, preserving state authority over a wide range of gun-control and gun-rights policy topics. The majority of states used preemption as a tool to support policy frameworks favoring gun rights.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1273-1280
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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