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

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

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

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

WASHINGTON - States
with higher gun ownership rates and weak gun laws have the
highest rates
of overall gun death according to a new analysis by the Violence
Policy
Center (VPC) of just-released 2007 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, Mississippi, Alaska, Alabama, and Nevada. Each of
these states
had a per capita gun death rate far exceeding the national per
capita
gun death rate of 10.34 per 100,000 for 2007. Each of the
top-ranking
states 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 Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut,
and New
York. (See rankings below for top and bottom five states. See http://www.vpc.org/fadeathchart10.htm

for a ranking of all 50 states.)

VPC
Legislative Director
Kristen Rand states, "The equation is simple. More guns lead to
more gun
death, but limiting exposure to firearms saves lives."

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
19.87 50 Hawaii 9.7
percent
2.82
2 Mississippi 54.3
percent
18.32 49 Rhode
Island
13.3
percent
3.51
3 Alaska 60.6
percent
17.62 48 Massachusetts 12.8
percent
3.63
4 Alabama 57.2
percent
17.55 47 Connecticut 16.2
percent
4.27
5 Nevada 31.5
percent
16.21 46 New
York
18.1
percent
5.07

The VPC
defined states
with "weak" gun laws as those that add little or nothing to
federal restrictions
and have permissive laws governing the open or concealed
carrying of firearms
in public. 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 restrictive laws governing
the open
and concealed carrying of firearms in public. State gun
ownership rates
were obtained from the September 2005 Pediatrics article
"Prevalence of
Household Firearms and Firearm-Storage Practices in the 50
States and
the District of Columbia: Findings From the Behavioral Risk
Factor Surveillance
System, 2002," which is the most up-to-date, comprehensive
source for
state gun ownership rates.

###

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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