Graph depicting Gun Deaths by State
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Description: This chart compares the number of gun deaths the states have per 100,000 people. The lists show the 20 states with the most gun deaths per 100,000 people and the 20 states with the fewest gun deaths per 100,000 people. The blue rows indicate states that voted for President Obama in 2012 and the red rows indicate states that voted for Governor Romney in 2012.

Sources: Kaiser

Last updated: October 1, 2015

 

Gun Deaths Per 100,000 by State



Discussion: 17 of the 20 states with the fewest gun deaths per capita are blue and 18 of the 20 states with the most are red. The worst state- Alaska- has more than 6 gun deaths per capita for every one the best state- Hawaii- does.

Generally speaking, the most densely populated states tend to have low gun deaths, but many sparsely populated states also appear on the list for the fewest gun deaths.

The states with the fewest gun deaths tend to be the states with the most liberal gun control policies and the states with the most gun deaths tend to be the states with the most conservative gun control policies. However, gun control policies do not actually differ that dramatically between most of the states on the 'best' list and the states on the 'worst' list. For example, what freedom do gun owners in Wyoming have that gun owners in Iowa do not? Given how starkly the lists split along partisan lines, it is hard to imagine that policies do not play a significant role in determining the number of gun deaths in a state.

Note that this statistic represents all gun deaths- not just murders. Suicides, accidental shootings, and non-murder intentional killings are all counted. Some people contend that including suicides is misleading. Certainly you should be clear about what this data is and what it is not. However, in my view, suicides are an important number to consider. Suicide rates are dramatically higher in states with higher levels of gun ownership. Many studies have found that people with a gun in the house are more likely to attempt suicide and far more likely to die from a suicide attempt, suggesting that gun policy can significantly affect the number of suicides.


See more graphs about: Guns