Southern states and gun deaths

Oct 27, 2011

Five Southern states are among the 10 in the nation with the highest rates of gun deaths, according to new 2008 data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

But what’s more compelling, according to an analysis by the Violence Policy Center, is that states with high gun ownership and weak gun laws have the highest rates of gun death.  States with strong gun laws and low rates of gun ownership tend to have lower rates of gun death, the Center said.

“The analysis reveals that the five states with the highest per capita gun deaths rates were Alaska, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Wyoming.  Each of these states had a per capita gun death rate far exceeding the national per capita gun death rate of 10.38 per 100,000 for 2008.”

Here is the ranking for Southern states, all of which were above the national average:

  • 2.  Mississippi (19.32 deaths per 100,000 people)
  • 3.  Louisiana (18.47)
  • 4.  Alabama (17.53)
  • 7.  Tennessee (15.78)
  • 8.  Arkansas (15.48)
  • 14.  South Carolina (13.66)
  • 15.  Kentucky (13.42)
  • 17.  Florida (12.67)
  • 18.  Georgia (12.14)
  • 27.  Virginia (10.48)

“The equation is simple.  More guns lead to more gun death, but limiting exposure to firearms saves lives,” said Violence Policy Center Legislative Director Kristin Rand.  The total number of Americans killed by gunfire in 2008 rose to 31,593, up from 31,224 the year before.

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