The US Capitol Building

For most of the 21st century, debates over access to firearms have been a constant in state legislatures. These debates are long-standing and often expose deep-seated partisan divides. Gun control laws in 2023 either expand or restrict Americans’ access to firearms.

It can be tempting to tie any legislative trend to a single event. However, mass shootings have become so common in the United States that it’s difficult to identify the exact motivation leading to legislation. According to the Gun Violence Archive, the U.S. is on track for over 600 mass shootings this year. 2023 will be the fourth straight year of this high rate of gun violence. With this violence, it’s safe to assume that a desire to save lives motivates much of this legislation.

Gun control laws are a mainstay within U.S. political discourse. Given this fact, the Plural team sought to examine gun control policy in the first half of 2023. We leveraged Plural’s legislative dataset, categorizing legislation according to whether it increased or decreased access to firearms.

Read the full report to see our analysis of legislation impacting access to firearms throughout the first six months of 2023.

Key Takeaways

Data on gun policy shows us how many of the trends of the past decade continue to play out. It should also remind us that state legislatures are constantly introducing and passing new policies.

States like Florida and Washington continue to trend toward opposite positions. At the same time, states like Utah, Michigan and Minnesota have proven to be factories of significant change. Understanding this continuing, heated debate requires an understanding of both the policy being introduced, which may set the conversation, and the policy being enacted, which will affect conditions in our communities.