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"Pro-Gun" States Lead the Nation in Per Capita Firearm Death Rates

Violence Policy Center Analysis of New Data Reveals: Louisiana, Alaska, Montana, Tennessee, and Alabama Top List of Deadliest States in the Nation

Blind Allegiance to the Second Amendment Takes Deadly Toll

Washington, DC—States in the South and West with weak gun laws and high rates of gun ownership lead the nation in overall firearm death rates according to a new analysis issued today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.

The new VPC analysis uses 2005 data (the most recent available) from the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The analysis reveals that the five states with the highest per capita gun death rates were Louisiana, Alaska, Montana, Tennessee and Alabama. Each of these states had a per capita gun death rate far exceeding the national per capita gun death rate of 10.32 per 100,000.

By contrast, states with strong gun laws and low rates of gun ownership had far lower rates of firearm-related death. Ranking last in the nation for gun death was Hawaii, followed by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York. (See chart below for top and bottom five states. See http://www.vpc.org/fadeathchart.htm for a ranking of all 50 states.)

States with the Five Highest Gun Death Rates

States with the Five Lowest Gun Death Rates

Rank

State

Household Gun Ownership

Gun Death Rate per 100,000

Rank

State

Household Gun Ownership

Gun Death Rate per 100,000

1

Louisiana 45.6 percent 19.04 50 Hawaii 9.7 percent 2.20
2 Alaska 60.6 percent 17.49 49 Massachusetts 12.8 percent 3.48
3 Montana 61.4 percent 17.22 48 Rhode Island 13.3 percent 3.63
4 Tennessee 46.4 percent 16.39 47 New Jersey 11.3 percent 4.99
5 Alabama 57.2 percent 16.18 46 New York 18.1 percent 5.28

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, "Blind allegiance to the Second Amendment comes at a deadly price. Many residents in pro-gun states cheer the possibility of a June Supreme Court ruling that could place gun controls across the nation at risk, never realizing that those states stand as proof of the need for such laws."

The VPC defined states with "weak" gun laws as those that add little or nothing to federal restrictions and have permissive concealed carry laws allowing civilians to carry concealed handguns. States with "strong" gun laws were defined as those that add significant state regulation in addition to federal law, such as restricting access to particularly hazardous types of firearms (for example, assault weapons), setting minimum safety standards for firearms and/or requiring a permit to purchase a firearm, and have restrictive concealed carry laws.




The Violence Policy Center is a national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals. The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury.


   For Release:
   Thursday, April 24, 2008

   Contact:
   Mandy Wimmer
   Violence Policy Center
   (202) 822-8200 x110