Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Gun Death Rates in Weak Gun Control States

Gunfire accounted for 45,222 deaths in the United States in 2020. This figure included homicides, suicides, accidents, and other incidents where a fatality was caused by a gun. Relative to the size of the U.S. population, that translated to a gun death rate of 13.7 deaths per 100,000 population. Breaking down gun deaths by region, New England had the lowest regional gun death rate, while the Southeast had the highest.  Unsurprisingly, nine of the ten U.S states that, according to research from the Giffords Law Center, had the weakest gun control laws (as of 10/1/22), also recorded gun death rates in 2020 that were above the national average.  Among the ten states with the weakest gun control laws, only South Dakota had a below-average gun death rate. The other nine states in the group had a 2020 gun death rate that was at least 24% above the national average.  Collectively, the ten states with the weakest gun control laws had a gun death rate that was almost 50% higher than the national average.  Mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics provides the following details about gun death rates in weak gun control states.

Gun Death Rates in Weak Gun Control States

** State Deaths Population Death Rate*
41 Alaska 175 731,158 23.9
42 Arizona 1,265 7,421,401 17.0
43 Kentucky 902 4,477,251 20.1
44 South Dakota 120 892,717 13.4
45 Mississippi 818 2,966,786 27.6
46 Kansas 494 2,913,805 17.0
47 Missouri 1,426 6,151,548 23.2
48 Idaho 321 1,826,913 17.6
49 Wyoming 154 582,328 26.4
50 Arkansas 673 3,030,522 22.2
    Sub-total 6,348 30,994,429 20.5
U.S. 45,222 329,484,123 13.7

(**) status of gun control laws ranked strongest to weakest
(*) number of gun-related deaths per 100,000 population

Report Period: 2020

Source: CDC Wonder. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2020 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released in 2021. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2020, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed on October 1, 2022

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