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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2009
11:27 AM

CONTACT: Violence Policy Center

Phone: (202) 822 8200

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

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

WASHINGTON - May 6 - 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 list below or chart at http://www.vpc.org/press/0905gundeath.htm for top and bottom five states. See http://www.vpc.org/fadeathchart09.htm for a ranking of all 50 states.)

States with the Five HIGHEST Per Capita Gun Death Rates

Louisiana--Rank: 1; Household Gun Ownership: 45.6 percent; Gun Death Rate: 19.58 per 100,000.

Alabama--Rank: 2; Household Gun Ownership: 57.2 percent; Gun Death Rate: 16.99 per 100,000.

Alaska--Rank: 3 (tie); Household Gun Ownership: 60.6 percent; Gun Death Rate: 16.38 per 100,000.

Mississippi--Rank: 3 (tie); Household Gun Ownership: 54.3 percent; Gun Death Rate: 16.38 per 100,000.

Nevada--Rank: 5; Household Gun Ownership: 31.5 percent; Gun Death Rate: 16.25 per 100,000.

 

States with the Five LOWEST Per Capita Gun Death Rates

Hawaii--Rank: 50; Household Gun Ownership: 9.7 percent; Gun Death Rate: 2.58 per 100,000.

Massachusetts--Rank: 49; Household Gun Ownership: 12.8 percent; Gun Death Rate: 3.28 per 100,000.

Rhode Island--Rank: 48; Household Gun Ownership: 13.3 percent; Gun Death Rate: 4.43 per 100,000.

Connecticut--Rank: 47; Household Gun Ownership: 16.2 percent; Gun Death Rate: 4.95 per 100,000.

New York--Rank: 46; Household Gun Ownership: 18.1 percent; Gun Death Rate: 5.20 per 100,000.

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.

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The Violence Policy Center is a national tax-exempt educational organization working for a safer America through research, investigation, analysis, and advocacy. The VPC provides information to policymakers, journalists, organizations, advocates, and the general public.


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