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Gun Deaths Per Capita By State

Gun Deaths Per Capita By State


Gun violence persists as a critical issue in the United States, with an alarming number of lives lost every year. The importance of understanding firearm-related fatalities cannot be overstated as they represent not only devastating tragedies for individual families but also a national public health challenge. This issue affects each state differently, as factors such as legislation, socioeconomic conditions, and cultural norms can vary greatly across regions. Observing data on gun death rates per capita allows us to compare the state-by-state impact of this national issue.

  • Southern and Midwestern states like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Missouri have the highest per-capita gun deaths, with Mississippi leading the nation at 32.8 per 100,000 populace.
  • Northern states such as Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana also have high gun death rates, which aligns with the concerning incidence of firearm-related suicides, significantly high among American Indian and Alaskan Native populations, among others.
  • Conversely, Northeastern states, alongside Hawaii, observed remarkably low gun death rates. Massachusetts had the lowest rate of 3.5 per 100,000 people — almost one-tenth of what is recorded in Mississippi. Notably, many of these states have stricter gun laws.
  • Despite overall uniformity in regional patterns, some exceptions stand out. For instance, Delaware enforces stricter gun regulations compared to Virginia, yet it evidences a higher rate of firearm deaths.
  • Not all states with lenient firearm regulations have high gun death rates, nor do all states with strict gun laws have low rates, outlining the complexity of the issue.

States with the Most Gun Deaths per Capita

The top ten states with the most gun deaths per capita are Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Wyoming, Alabama, Alaska, Montana, Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee. 

Mississippi leads the chart with an alarming rate of 32.8 gun deaths per 100,000 residents. This figure is the highest in the United States, considerably above the national average. These numbers significantly coincide with previous findings, which indicate a high number of firearm-related fatalities along the Mississippi River regions. 

Louisiana follows closely with a gun death rate of 28.9 per 100,000 population, and New Mexico ranks third with 27.4 deaths. 

Wyoming, often recognized for its lax firearm laws, holds the fourth position with 26.6 deaths. In contrast, Alabama comes next with 25.8 deaths, even though it has stricter gun laws than Wyoming. Alaska, largely known for its high incidence of firearm-related suicides, especially among the American Indian and Alaskan Native populations, records a rate of 24.8 deaths, followed by Montana with 24.6.

Missouri and Arkansas, both falling under regions along the Mississippi River, document high gun death rates at 22.9 and 22.8 respectively. Tennessee concludes the top ten list with a rate of 22.0.

States with the Most Gun Deaths per Capita:

  1. Mississippi - 32.8
  2. Louisiana - 28.9
  3. New Mexico - 27.4
  4. Wyoming - 26.6
  5. Alabama - 25.8
  6. Alaska - 24.8
  7. Montana - 24.6
  8. Missouri - 22.9
  9. Arkansas - 22.8
  10. Tennessee - 22.0

States with the Least Gun Deaths per Capita

At the top of the list is Massachusetts, with the lowest rate of gun deaths in the country, reporting 3.5 deaths per 100,000 people. This is well below the national average and is nearly one-tenth of the rate observed in states with the highest gun death rates, like Mississippi. Stricter gun regulations, including the requirement of license prior to purchasing any firearm, may contribute to the state's low rate of gun deaths.

In the second place is Hawaii, with a rate of 5.0 deaths per 100,000 people, followed closely by New Jersey with a rate of 5.1. Both Hawaii and New Jersey enforce comprehensive firearm regulations which, combined with other factors, could play a part in their low gun death rates.

New York and Rhode Island follow next with relatively low rates of firearm fatalities of 5.5 and 5.9 per 100,000 people respectively. Both states have enforced several measures over the years to regulate firearm usage and accessibility.

Further down the list are Connecticut, New Hampshire, California, Minnesota, and Nebraska. These states report gun death rates ranging from 6.8 in Connecticut to 10.1 in Nebraska per 100,000 population, again significantly lower than the national average.

States with the Least Gun Deaths per Capita:

  1. Massachusetts - 3.5 
  2. Hawaii - 5.0 
  3. New Jersey - 5.1 
  4. New York - 5.5
  5. Rhode Island - 5.9
  6. Connecticut - 6.8
  7. New Hampshire - 8.8 
  8. California - 9.2 
  9. Minnesota - 10.0 
  10. Nebraska - 10.1

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