The report, titled "Broken Records," was released Jan. 16 by the Americans for Gun Safety Foundation. It used information from the Department of Justice and other state sources.
The study found that almost 10,000 people across the nation purchased guns as a result of faulty record keeping and gave failing grades to 22 states, claiming they have inadequate criminal, domestic violence and mental disability records.
The report stated that North Carolina adequately automated 94 percent of its felony and domestic records. North Carolina was ranked the highest, with a B+ grade.
But the report criticized North Carolina for not reporting mental health records to national or state background check systems.
Philip Cook, professor of public policy studies at Duke University, said it was a good sign that North Carolina led all states, but that there is still much improvement to be made.
"I think it's a step in the right direction to make sure criminals are not able to buy guns legally," Cook said. "But most of the time, criminals get guns at gun shows, by theft or through the black market, which are all out of the reach of the law."
The study reported that North Carolina allowed 355 illegal buyers to purchase firearms in the last two years.
David LaCourse, public affairs director for the Second Amendment Foundation, said he believes the study is inaccurate and inflated the number of people who purchased firearms illegally.
He said that in some cases the person who purchased the gun simply had the same name as a felon.