States with Higher Gun Ownership and Weak Gun Laws Lead Nation in Gun Death

For Release: Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi, and Nevada Have Highest Gun Death Rates

Washington, DC–States with higher gun ownership rates and weak gun laws have the highest rates of gun death according to a new analysis by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) of just-released 2006 national data (the most recent available) from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’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, Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi, and Nevada. 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 for 2006. Each state has lax gun laws and higher gun ownership rates. 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, Connecticut, and New York. (See chart below for top and bottom five states. See this chart 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
19.58 50 Hawaii 9.7
percent
2.58
2 Alabama 57.2
percent
16.99 49 Massachusetts 12.8
percent
3.28
3
(tie)
Alaska 60.6
percent
16.38 48 Rhode
Island
13.3
percent
4.43
3
(tie)
Mississippi 54.3
percent
16.38 47 Connecticut 16.2
percent
4.95
5 Nevada 31.5
percent
16.25 46 New
York
18.1
percent
5.20

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “More guns means more gun death and injury. Fewer guns means less gun death and injury. It’s a simple equation.”

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.

 

 

 

 

 

About the Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Media Contact:
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(202) 822-8200 x104
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