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Gun Violence By State

Gun Violence By State


The United States, a nation that greatly values its Second Amendment rights, is grappling with the deleterious reality of gun violence, an issue that claims over 30,000 lives annually. While the topic of gun violence often takes center stage in national discourse, there is a considerable degree of variation at the state level, painting a complex and multifaceted picture of this crisis.

  • States in the South and regions of the West have the highest rates of gun deaths per capita. Mississippi tops the list with a rate of 32.8 gun deaths per 100,000 people, followed by Louisiana (28.9), and New Mexico (27.4).
  • On the other end of the spectrum, states in the Northeast show the lowest rates of gun deaths per capita. Massachusetts ranked lowest with a rate of 3.5, followed by Hawaii (5.0), and New Jersey (5.1), signifying societal factors, laws, or policies that might be contributing to their relative safety.
  • Notable exceptions to these regional patterns include Wyoming and Alaska, ranking fourth and sixth respectively, despite being geographically isolated from the southern states with high rates.
  • The data also provides insights into the diverse nature of gun violence, which encompasses homicides, suicides, and gun-related injuries. The considerable contribution of suicides to gun death rates, as stated by the Department of Justice, might explain the high rates in states like Wyoming and Alaska.

States with the Most Gun Violence

Mississippi tragically leads the states with the highest number of gun deaths per capita, with 32.8 deaths per 100,000 people. This stark figure is followed by Louisiana, which has seen an average of 28.9 deaths per 100,000, and New Mexico with a rate of 27.4.

Also noteworthy are Wyoming and Alaska, ranking fourth and sixth respectively, with death rates of 26.6 and 24.8 respectively, despite their geographic distance from the highest-ranked states. 

Alabama follows closely with an average of 25.8 gun deaths per capita. Montana, another Western state, is not far behind, with an average rate of 24.6 deaths. Missouri and Arkansas rank in the eighth and ninth spots respectively with 22.9 and 22.8 deaths per 100,000 people. Tennessee concludes the top 10 states list with a rate of 22.0 deaths.

States with the Most Gun Violence (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 Violence

Topping the list here is Massachusetts, with a relatively low rate of gun deaths per capita—3.5 per 100,000 population. Following Massachusetts, but not too far behind, is Hawaii with a rate of 5.0 gun deaths per capita. The island state, detached from the mainland, benefits from stringent gun laws and an inherent sense of community, bolstering safety. New Jersey has the third-lowest rate at 5.1 per 100,000, confirming the trend of lower gun violence rates among northeastern states.

Other northeastern states, New York and Rhode Island, also find themselves among the states with the least gun violence. New York’s strict gun laws project an appreciable effect on the death rate, standing at 5.5 per 100,000, whereas Rhode Island presents a rate of 5.9. Similarly, Connecticut, another northeastern state, records a low rate of 6.8.

Diverting from the northeastern trend, considerable efforts made by New Hampshire and California are also worth mentioning. They display gun death rates of 8.8 and 9.2 per 100,000 population respectively. On the other hand, midwestern states like Minnesota and Nebraska show noticeable efforts to keep gun violence low, presenting rates of 10.0 and 10.1 respectively.

States with the Least Gun Violence:

  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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