Over two-thirds of all states — 35 in total — now allow residents to carry loaded handguns in their cars without any special permit or formal training, according to a new report from Jerry.
What’s more, in the past five years, at least 19 states have passed permitless carry laws, which grant people the right to carry loaded handguns in public, including in their vehicles, without a license or any formal training. However, not all states that allow people to keep loaded guns in their cars are permitless carry states.
These trends point to a heightened risk to motorists’ safety on the nation’s roadways. In fact, having a gun in the car has been linked to an increase in aggressive driving, and permitless carry laws have been linked to an increase in violent crimes.
It’s no surprise then that road rage shootings are on the rise. In 2021, some 522 people nationwide were shot on the highways and byways, resulting in 131 fatalities. That translates to the most road rage shootings on record — and more than double the number that occurred in 2018, which was 247 shootings and 70 fatalities.
The Jerry report also examines where road rage shootings occur most frequently. Over the past five years, Texas led the nation for the most fatal road rage shootings with a total of 87. Florida and California ranked second and third, with 32 and 31 shootings, respectively.
On a per capita basis, New Mexico saw both the most road rage shootings and the highest number of fatal ones over the past five years. Others that ranked among the top 10 for the most fatal road rage shootings per capita include Nevada, Mississippi, Texas, Arizona, Alaska, Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Wisconsin.
Noteworthy, nine of the 10 states with the most fatal road rage shootings per capita are all permitless carry states. Also of interest, only two states in the nation — North Dakota and Wyoming — did not record any road rage shootings during the five-year period examined.