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Illinois Gets a 'B' Grade on Gun Laws

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence rank Illinois relatively high compared to other Midwest states.

Illinois has the most effective gun laws in the Midwest, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in a report released Monday.

Titled "2013 Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter," the report rates Illinois gun laws with a B letter grade. Only California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York received higher grades nationally.

Indiana and Missouri received grades of D- and F, respectively.

The report was released as the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings approach.

Several changes in Illinois gun laws were noted. The state now requires unlicensed firearms sellers to verify that the firearm purchaser has a valid permit. The law now requires firearm owners to report the loss or theft of a weapon to law enforcement.

Many gun owners are looking forward to the implementation of the new concealed-carry permit in Illinois in 2013. 

The report notes a correlation between states with the toughest gun laws and those with the lowest firearm-death rates.

"Seven states with the highest grades also have the lowest gun death rates nationwide. Conversely, many states with the weakest gun laws have the highest gun death rates," the report states in its opening section. "While more research is needed to determine the precise relationship, it is clear that the data supports the conclusion that state gun laws and the rate of gun deaths are closely tied."

Illinois, however, does not rank among the states with low numbers of gun deaths.

The report lauded states for taking action when Congress failed to enact any meaningful gun-law reform in April despite a strong push from the Obama Administration after the Dec. 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

"Starting last January, legislators in state houses across the country began introducing a record number of bills to strengthen gun laws. Even states with historically weak gun laws, like Florida, Missouri, and Texas, took action towards sensible gun legislation," the report states. "In fact, twenty-one states enacted new laws to curb gun violence in their communities, with eight of these states passing major reforms—far eclipsing the corporate gun lobby’s limited success in state legislatures in 2013."

Find the full report at smartgunlaws.org.

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