Sunday, February 1, 2015

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


Newly available data for 2013 reveals that states with weak gun violence prevention laws and higher rates of gun ownership have the highest overall gun death rates in the nation, according to a Violence Policy Center (VPC) analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. 

Meanwhile, states with the lowest overall gun death rates have lower rates of gun ownership and some of the strongest gun violence prevention laws in the nation. However, even in these states the human toll of gun violence is far above the gun death rate in other industrialized nations.

The VPC analysis refers to overall gun death rates in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available. A table of the states with the five highest gun death rates and the five lowest gun death rates is below. For a list of gun death rates in all 50 states, see

States with the Five Highest Gun Death Rates
States with the Five Lowest Gun Death Rates
Household Gun OwnershipGun Death Rate per 100,000RankStateHousehold Gun OwnershipGun Death Rate per 100,000
1 Alaska 60.6 percent 19.59 50 Hawaii 9.7 percent 2.71
2 Louisiana 45.6 percent 19.15 49 Massachusetts 12.8 percent 3.18
3 Alabama 57.2 percent 17.79 48 New York 18.1 percent 4.39
4 Mississippi 54.3 percent 17.55 47 Connecticut 16.2 percent 4.48
5 Wyoming 62.8 percent 17.51 46 Rhode Island 13.3 percent 5.33
  The five states with the highest per capita gun death rates in 2013 were Alaska, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Wyoming. Each of these states has extremely lax gun violence prevention laws as well as a higher rate of gun ownership. The state with the lowest gun death rate in the nation was Hawaii, followed by Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Each of these states has strong gun violence prevention laws and a lower rate of gun ownership.


  1. Interesting how Minnesota with its lax gun laws and high gun ownership seems to rank higher than the gun control nirvana of California.

    1. I wonder if population density has any effect on those numbers? Comparing Calif. to Minnesota, the population density is huge.

    2. That would suggest that there are other factors that the VPC didn't include in their "analysis". Nothing new when talking about findings from that group.
      But then if you look at population density, you see many states at the top of the list with a density even lower than Minnesota, such as Alaska.
      The VPC appears to be doing a version of Lott's study without resorting to math and titling it "More Guns, More Crime"

    3. That ASSumes all people everywhere have a predetermined behavior pattern. I wouldn't count on that.

  2. Hmm . . . there are more shooting deaths in states with high gun ownership rates than in states without? Shocking! Next, you'll be telling me that more people die of hypothermia in Alaska than do in Florida.

  3. ...but not more murder.

    Why do you keep posting this stuff? I thought you conceded to me long ago that the "gun death" stat is baloney.

    1. Well, I don't know if I ever actually said it's baloney. Thanks to you, I never look at these types of reports without noticing that we need to also check the overall murder rates plus the overall suicide rates. I wonder if maybe that's where we've gone wrong before. The "gun deaths" numbers include suicides.

    2. I remember saying that if most murders and suicides are committed with guns, then it stands to reason that high gun states would also have high murder and suicide rates. Let's take this to another post.