KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the debate over gun laws takes center stage following another mass shooting in America, a recent study reveals states with weaker gun laws have higher rates of gun-related deaths.
Kansas and Missouri are among the 10 bottom states for gun law strength, according to the study conducted by Everytown for Gun Safety.
The group used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The data focused on homicides, suicides and accidents involving guns in 2020.
The states were ranked based on the strengths of gun laws.
Kansas ranked 38 out of 50. While Missouri ranked 41 out of 50.
The analysis scored California highest for gun law strength and showed the state has a low gun death rate of 8.5 per 100,000 residents.
By contrast, Kansas has a death rate of 20.1 per 100,000 residents.
Missouri's gun deaths per 100,000 people sits at 23.9.
Both Missouri and Kansas are well above the national average of 13.6 gun deaths per 100,000, while California comes in below the national average.
This trend applied to states across the board, showing as gun strength laws weakened, gun related deaths grew.
One day after the shooting that killed 19 students and two adults in Texas, Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. representative Lauren Boebert implied gun laws don't work.
On Twitter, Boebert wrote, "You cannot legislate away evil."
Cruz told reporters, "You see Democrats and a lot folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens, that doesn't work."
Kansas Rep. Jo Ella Hoye disagrees and said the data proves otherwise.
"I'm angry there are still people willing to put themselves out there and say passing sensible gun laws won't do a thing to save lives, because it's not true," Hoye said. "We've weakened our gun laws under the guise of the gun lobby showing up and testifying, saying more guns in more places in the hands of untrained and potentially dangerous people are going to make us safer."
Last year, Kansas loosened its gun laws by allowing those 18 and up to open carry. That's three years younger than the previous law allowed.
"Despite the fact that 18, 19 and 20 year olds are too young to legally purchase a gun from a federally licensed gun dealer," Hoye said. "We have seen an increase in 18, 19 and 20 year olds taking the lives of people in our communities."
Data from Giffords shows Kansas and Missouri are also among 20 states that don't require a permit for concealed carry.
On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shifted the focus away from guns and towards mental health during a press conference.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness responded swiftly saying, "Mental illness is not the problem. It is incorrect and harmful to link mental illness and gun violence."
Hoye said, in light of another school shooting, it's not an option to do nothing.
"I have a child who just finished his fourth grade year with the most amazing teacher," Hoye said. "I have to sit here and say, what can I do to stop this from happening to teachers in America and I'm sick of it. I don't know how people in position like mine, people elected to protect our communities, to keep our kids safe at school, how can we just sit back and do nothing?"