Based on a Violence Policy Center analysis of newly available data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Control and Prevention, CT now has the 4th lowest rate of gun deaths in the nation. For the previous year, we had ranked sixth.
The VPC analysis also indicates that 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. However, even in these states the human toll of gun violence is far above the gun death rate in other industrialized nations.
The VPC analysis refers to overall gun death rates in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available. A table of the states with the five highest gun death rates and the five lowest gun death rates is below. For a list of gun death rates in all 50 states, click here.
States with the Five Highest Gun Death Rates
The five states with the highest per capita gun death rates in 2013 were Alaska, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Wyoming. Each of these states has extremely lax gun violence prevention laws as well as a higher rate of gun ownership. The state with the lowest gun death rate in the nation was Hawaii, followed by Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Each of these states has strong gun violence prevention laws and a lower rate of gun ownership.
The nationwide gun death rate was 10.64 per 100,000. The total number of Americans killed by gunfire rose to 33,636 in 2013 from 33,563 in 2012.
According to the Violence Policy Center research, America’s gun death rates — both nationwide and in the states — dwarf those of other industrialized nations. In 2011, the gun death rate in the United Kingdom was 0.23 per 100,000 and in Australia the gun death rate was 0.86 per 100,000. (Data for these countries is available at GunPolicy.org, hosted by the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney in Australia.)
The VPC defined states with “weak” gun violence prevention laws as those that add little or nothing to federal law and have permissive laws governing the open or concealed carrying of firearms in public. States with “strong” gun violence prevention laws were defined as those that add significant state regulation that is absent from federal law, such as restricting access to particularly hazardous and deadly types of firearms (for example, assault weapons), setting minimum safety standards for firearms and/or requiring a permit to purchase a firearm, and restricting the open and concealed carrying of firearms in public.
According to the Violence Policy Center press release, “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 recent comprehensive published data available on state gun ownership.”