Smith & Wesson just reduced its outlook for gun sales, largely because of falling demand for long guns like rifles and shotguns.

However, management says demand for smaller handguns like pistols and revolvers remains robust.

To ensure that the wrong people didn't get their hands on guns, the FBI started the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (or simply, NICS) in 1998 to "determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms or explosives."

More than 100 million checks have been completed in the past decade, which has led to more than 700,000 people getting denied from purchasing a gun, according to the FBI website.

Using NICS data from the FBI, Business Insider decided to see which states saw the highest number of gun background checks per 100 people. The stats are 2014 through July.

BI note: This data does not measure the number of guns that were purchased in a state and does not necessarily reflect the number of guns actually owned in a given state.

Here's a map of the data:

You'll notice that states in the Northeast, Southwest, and along the West Coast have registered significantly less background checks than states in the Southeast. The lowest number of background checks overall was in Washington, D.C., which has 0.04 checks per 100 capita.

You can see that Kentucky stands out as a major outlier. While all other states are between 0 and 10 checks per 100 people, there have been over 40.2 checks per 100 people in Kentucky according to the NICS data.

You might be inclined to think that Kentucky has an irregularly large number of gun enthusiasts, but there's actually a simple explanation. Kentucky's numbers are distorted because gun owners with state-issued concealed weapons permits have monthly background checks.

The five states with the fewest background checks per capita were ...

New Jersey (0.6) Hawaii (0.7) New York (1.1) Rhode Island (1.1) Maryland (1.5)

The five states with the most background checks per capita (excluding Kentucky) were...

North Carolina (9.8) Alabama (7.2) Montana (6.4) West Virginia (6.3) Alaska (6.3)

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