Montana 3rd in Nation with Most Guns

By Beacon Staff

The watershed U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday upholding Second Amendment rights is, according to most gun rights activists in Montana, not likely to change much here. But across the nation, the ruling is likely to begin causing a reexamination of many state and local gun control measures – which are probably going to see their own legal challenges.

In the wake of the decision, The Daily Beast has ranked the states with the most guns per person. Montana came in third in the nation, behind Kentucky at No. 1, and Utah at No. 2. Unsurprisingly, the research found the top 10 states with the most guns voted for John McCain in 2008, while the 10 states with the least guns, most of which contain urban areas, voted for Barack Obama. What I did find surprising was New Jersey coming in at No. 50, with only the District of Columbia possessing fewer guns. Jersey’s place in popular culture certainly makes it seem like a region with more firearms. In fact, when I was in Newark Airport a few weeks ago, you could buy a hat in a tourist store that said “Jersey” where the “r” was the gun from the logo for the Sopranos. Although, it’s unlikely the Soprano family was registering their guns… but I digress.

Here’s how the Beast conducted their rankings:

For our rankings, we considered state data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System data for the last 18 months. We divided the number of background checks by each state’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 estimates.

One stipulation: States are not completely consistent in reporting of NICS data. Some states use the system for background checks on purchases on the secondary market and others do not. As well, Kentucky implemented monthly NICS checks on concealed weapons, which has inflated its numbers.

Check out the list here:

1, Kentucky
NICS background checks per 100,000 residents (Dec. 2008 – May 2010): 134,028

2, Utah
NICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 30,315

3, Montana
NICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 25,745

4, Wyoming
NICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 22,827

5, Alaska
NICS background checks per 100,000 residents: 22,273