States With the Most Gun Violence

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10. South Carolina
> Firearm death rate: 14.8 per 100,000
> Firearm deaths 2002-2011: 6,132 (19th highest)
> 2011 Violent crime rate: 571.9 per 100,000 (3rd highest)
> Permit required to buy handgun: No
> Poverty rate: 18.3% (9th highest)

There were more than 700 gun-related deaths — including homicide, suicide, and accidents — in South Carolina in 2011, or 14.8 per 100,000 residents when adjusted for age. Overall crime rates were also particularly high in South Carolina. More than 570 violent crimes were committed per 100,000 people in South Carolina during 2011, behind only to Alaska and Tennessee. That year, there were 5.5 firearms related homicides per 100,000 residents in South Carolina, up slightly from the year before and more than in all but three other states. Firearm-related crimes are usually committed many years after the purchase of the associated weapon. In South Carolina, however, nearly 28% of crimes occurred within two years of the gun’s registration, among the higher rates in the nation for crimes committed so shortly after their purchase.

9. New Mexico
> Age-adjusted firearm death rate: 14.8 per 100,000
> Firearm deaths 2002-2011: 2,964 (20th lowest)
> 10 yr. annualized death rate: 15.1 per 100,000 (9th highest)
> 2011 Violent crime rate: 567.5 per 100,000 (4th highest)
> Permit required to buy handgun: No
> Poverty rate: 20.8% (2nd highest)

Like most of the nation, suicides accounted for the majority of gun-related deaths in New Mexico, where the firearm suicide rate was also particularly high. There were 10.5 suicides by firearm in 2011, more than in all but a handful of states. The state also reported 3.7 gun-related homicides per 100,000 residents that year, roughly in line with the national rate. Despite the relatively low gun-related homicide rate, violent crime has been an issue in the state. Nearly 570 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents were reported in New Mexico in 2011, more than in all but three other states. Poor socioeconomic conditions may partly explain the higher crime rates. More than one in five New Mexico residents lived in poverty in 2012, more than every state except for Mississippi.

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8. Alabama
> Age-adjusted firearm death rate: 16.0 per 100,000
> Firearm deaths 2002-2011: 7,713 (15th highest)
> 2011 Violent crime rate: 420.1 per 100,000 (16th highest)
> Permit required to buy handgun: No
> Poverty rate: 19.0% (7th highest)

While homicides accounted for less than half of all firearm-related deaths in Alabama, the homicide rate was among the highest in the nation. There were more than six gun-related homicides per 100,000 residents in Alabama, more than every state except for Mississippi and Louisiana. Yet, gun deaths due to homicide declined compared to 2007, during which there were eight deaths per 100,000, second-highest in the nation at that time. Overall deaths from firearms also decreased somewhat. In 2007, there were 17.2 gun-related fatalities per 100,000 residents versus 16.0 per 100,000 residents in 2011. Like a majority of states with the most gun violence, Alabama struggles with high poverty. In 2012, 19% of residents lived below the poverty line, more than in all but six other states.