Gun Laws & Legislation

What state buys the most guns?

Mike Piccione
Editor, Guns & Gear

If we use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System , or NICS, as a proxy for gun sales we see that Kentucky is the runaway leader in gun sales for 2012.

Four states exceeded one million Federal Bureau of Investigation NICS checks; Kentucky, Texas, California and Illinois. Kentucky is the only state to exceed two million background checks.

Background checks are only a proxy measure for gun sales. A buyer may purchase more than one gun through a gun dealer, depending on the local laws, once the background check comes back authorizing the purchase.

The list of states and their 2012 total NICS background checks is compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

State and Total NICS checks for 2012:

States with over 1,000,000 background checks in Bold.

Alabama   431,356
Alaska  85,342
Arizona 339,663
Arkansas 246,193
California  1,132,603
Colorado  414,838
Connecticut 237,496
Delaware 30,724
District of Columbia  449
Florida  834,319
Georgia  465,560
Guam  930
Hawaii  17,428
Idaho  136,482
Illinois  1,036,061
Indiana  475,607
Iowa  147,700
Kansas   210,972
Kentucky  2,589,358
Louisiana  326,290
Maine   91,834
Mariana Islands  5
Maryland  136,604
Massachusetts  210,453
Michigan  430,405
Minnesota   440,992
Mississippi  222,297
Missouri  513,303
Montana  134,455
Nebraska  85,860
Nevada  146,363
New Hampshire   128,178
New Jersey  85,851
New Mexico  143,419
New York  338,619
North Carolina  489,307
North Dakota  84,867
Ohio  629,215
Oklahoma  367,976
Oregon   267,041
Pennsylvania  968,534
Puerto Rico  15,545
Rhode Island  24,050
South Carolina  308,408
South Dakota  88,447
Tennessee  524,122
Texas   1,436,132
Utah  230,999
Vermont  34,507
Virgin Islands  399
Virginia  448,754
Washington  519,209
West Virginia  225,580
Wisconsin   469,375
Wyoming  63,356