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Press Release

Brennan Center and GIFFORDS Law Center Find Holes in Laws on Guns and Voting

The report finds only 12 states prohibit open and concealed carry of firearms at the polls. Authors urge states to take action to protect voters and election workers.

September 18, 2023
Contact: Rebecca Autrey, Media Contact,, 202-753-5904

Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law – Rebecca Autrey,, 202–753–5904
GIFFORDS Law Center – Mary Yatrousis,, 860–331–0505

Today, GIFFORDS, the gun violence prevention organization founded by Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law released a new report titled Guns and Voting. The report highlights the need for states to address the growing threat that the use of guns to commit political violence poses to Americans and their right to vote safely.

Sean Morales-Doyle, director of the Voting Rights Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law and coauthor of Guns and Voting:

“We found big holes in the legal protections for voters and election workers against gun violence. Even as it cast many other gun regulations into doubt in Bruen, the Supreme Court said that it’s constitutional to ban guns at the polls. That’s a straightforward, popular policy that states should be able to enact without controversy.”

Allison Anderman, senior counsel and director of local policy at GIFFORDS Law Center and coauthor of Guns and Voting:

“Though American elections have remained safe and secure, both political and gun violence pose significant risks to the safety of voters and people bravely conducting our elections. The 2024 presidential election brings an unprecedented confluence of factors that heighten these risks.  

“Ahead of next year’s elections, it is critical that states take the steps recommended in the report to ensure that elections remain free from violence. Our leaders must act to protect our democracy.”

Key findings:

  • Only 12 states and D.C. prohibit both open and concealed carry of firearms at the polls.
  • Voting and elections have become the targets of threats and intimidation just as we face a proliferation of guns, more frequent gun violence, and fewer legal protections. 
  • Neither federal law nor any state law explicitly acknowledges that the presence of guns in or around places where people are voting and conducting elections can constitute illegal intimidation. 


  • States should prohibit all guns, including concealed carry, in and around sites where elections are taking place.
  • States should strengthen laws protecting voters and others from intimidation by explicitly addressing the intimidating effect of firearms.
  • States must pass stronger anti-intimidation laws that protect voters and election workers.