Special Report

The 10 States With the Worst Gun Violence

10. Oklahoma
> Firearm deaths per 100,000 people:
15.8 per 100,000
> Total firearm deaths 2005-2014: 5,963 (23rd highest)
> Violent crime rate: 406.0 per 100,000 (14th highest)
> Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
> Poverty rate: 16.6% (14th highest)

For every 100,000 Oklahomans, there were 15.8 firearm-related fatalities in 2014, the 10th highest gun death rate of all states. Like most states with high gun fatalities, gun regulations in Oklahoma are relaxed compared to other states. Despite the established correlation between fewer gun regulations and more gun deaths, guns in Oklahoma recently became even less regulated. In March, the Oklahoma House adopted legislation permitting gun owners to carry weapons openly without a license from the state. While owners still need to obtain a gun permit, they no longer need to receive safety training, according to the new rule.

9. South Carolina
> Firearm deaths per 100,000 people:
15.9 per 100,000
> Total firearm deaths 2005-2014: 7,228 (18th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 497.7 per 100,000 (7th highest)
> Permit required to carry handgun: Yes
> Poverty rate: 18.0% (11th highest)

There were 15.9 firearm-related fatalities for every 100,000 South Carolinians in 2014, the ninth most of any state. As is the case across the nation, suicides compose the vast majority of gun deaths in South Carolina. Firearms were used in 479 suicides in the state in 2014, significantly more than the state’s 266 gun homicides. Still, South Carolina’s gun homicide rate of 5.5 per 100,000 residents is fourth highest in the nation.

Like most states with the most gun violence, South Carolina’s gun laws are not especially restrictive. Weak gun laws may partially explain the gun violence, and they certainly explain the gun trafficking. According to research from the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress, the low level of gun control has led to South Carolina becoming a major source of illegal weapons.

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