Gun sales, as approximated by background checks, surged in 2020 to 39,695,315 just as the COVID-19 pandemic began. They have declined each year since, to 38,876,673 in 2021 and to 31,596,646 in 2022. Still, these numbers remain higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System publishes a monthly list of how many firearm background checks are conducted on potential gun buyers. Nearly everyone put through this system qualifies. Of the more than 400 million checks conducted since November 1998, there have only been 2.1 million denials. More than half of those who are denied have criminal records.

Adjusting for population, there were 94.8 background checks per 1,000 people nationwide in 2022. The per capita background check data varies considerably by state.

In Louisiana, 344,808 background checks were conducted in 2022 based on FBI data. Adjusted for population, this amounts to about 75.1 firearm background checks for every 1,000 people, the 22nd lowest rate among states.

Estimated per capita gun sales in the state in 2021, approximated by background checks, totaled 401,345, or about 87.4 per person, compared to the national rate of 116.6 per 1,000 people.

Population data used to calculate background checks per capita came from the U.S. Census Bureau's Population and Housing Unit Estimates Program, and are for July of 2022. It is important to note that in some states, certain firearm permit rechecks require FBI background checks, which can impact the overall number of background checks used to create this ranking.

 

RankStateFBI firearm background checks per 1,000 people, 2022Total FBI firearm background checks, 2022FBI firearm background checks per 1,000 people, 2021Total FBI firearm background checks, 2021
1Kentucky890.14,016,510852.83,848,061
2Illinois355.74,476,055673.58,474,505
3Utah300.01,014,277349.51,181,564
4Indiana161.71,105,040265.71,815,531
5Minnesota155.9891,044165.3945,299
6Alabama145.7739,113186.5946,271
7Montana126.3141,803143.1160,640
8Idaho121.4235,465141.2273,762
9Wyoming120.970,276145.684,624
10Tennessee118.7836,953136.8964,512
11Oregon116.9495,842107.1454,133
12Alaska115.684,802124.391,207
13West Virginia108.6192,868126.3224,240
14Wisconsin107.9635,528133.4785,856
15Mississippi96.9284,864110323,319
16South Dakota96.387,589117.5106,881
17New Hampshire95.7133,507108.8151,853
18Pennsylvania94.81,229,129108.61,408,165
19North Dakota93.072,458103.480,546
20Oklahoma92.1370,275103.6416,514
21Washington90.7706,26094.6736,846
22Colorado90.5528,335107.7628,811
23Missouri85.9530,932102.7634,191
24Maine82.4114,09093.3129,193
25New Mexico82.2173,79392.3194,989
26South Carolina80.1423,09891.9485,487
27Michigan78.6789,16096.8970,990
28Arkansas78.6239,35094.8288,706
29Louisiana75.1344,80887.4401,345
30Arizona72.5533,69976.6563,763
31Vermont69.144,72279.751,549
32Iowa68.3218,70383.3266,678
33Florida66.31,474,73076.91,711,685
34Virginia65.4567,50475.5655,339
35Kansas65.3191,89578.4230,168
36Connecticut63.6230,70276.5277,250
37Texas57.71,732,651661,980,753
38Delaware57.358,32367.869,068
39North Carolina57.3612,69573.1781,733
40Ohio55.9656,93672.5851,887
41Georgia55.1601,40773.9806,912
42Maryland52.9326,11443.4267,753
43Nevada47.9152,26158.7186,578
44Nebraska38.275,08446.190,676
45California36.71,431,99337.81,476,073
46Massachusetts32.6227,92837.1259,248
47Rhode Island25.527,90034.737,936
48New York22.7447,56723.6464,575
49New Jersey18.1167,74024.1223,437
50Hawaii13.118,84212.317,707