States with “weak gun violence prevention laws” and higher rates of gun ownership “have the highest overall gun death rates in the nation.”

That’s according to a Violence Policy Center analysis of 2011 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

The five states with the highest per capita gun death rates that year were Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Wyoming and Montana.

“Each of these states has extremely lax gun violence prevention laws as well as a higher rate of gun ownership,” according to a press release.

WWII USGI M1911 pistol

A World War II USGI M1911 pistol.

Flickr: Mitch Barrie

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.”

The state with the lowest gun death rate in the nation was Rhode Island, followed by Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.

When it comes to gun ownership, just 9.7 percent of households in Hawaii have firearms. Our gun “death rate” is just 3.56 out of 100,000.

By contrast, 45.6 percent of Louisiana households have guns and the state’s gun death rate is 18.81.

Compare the 50 states.


How much do you value our journalism?

Civil Beat focuses exclusively on the kind of journalism most at risk of disappearing – in-depth, investigative and enterprise coverage of important local issues. While producing this type of journalism isn’t cheap, you won’t find our content hidden behind a paywall. We also never worry about upsetting advertisers – because we don’t allow any. As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on donations from readers like you to help keep our stories free and accessible to everyone. If you value our journalism, show us with your support.


About the Author