Special Report

The 10 States With the Least Gun Violence

10. Wisconsin
> Firearm deaths per 100,000 people:
> Total firearm deaths 2005-2014: 5,185 (25th highest)
> Violent crime rate per 100,000: 290.3 (21st lowest)
> Adult gun ownership rate: 34.7% (20th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.2% (19th lowest)

Wisconsin has one of the lowest rates of firearm deaths in the country at 8.5 yearly deaths per 100,000 people. Lower rates of gun violence tend to coincide with lower gun ownership rates. In Wisconsin, however, 34.7% of adults own a gun, higher than the national ownership rate of 29.1%. States with less gun violence also tend to have stricter gun regulations than states with more gun violence. Wisconsin, however, is one of just seven states in the country, and the only state on this list, that do not require a license to carry a handgun. Wisconsin residents do not need a license or a permit to buy or own a long gun or a handgun, nor is registration required for these weapons.

9. Iowa
> Firearm deaths per 100,000 people:
> Total firearm deaths 2005-2014: 2,307 (15th lowest)
> Violent crime rate per 100,000: 273.5 (16th lowest)
> Adult gun ownership rate: 33.8% (22nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.2% (15th lowest)

Iowa’s 7.8 gun-related fatalities per 100,000 people in 2014 is one of the lowest in the country. Over the last 10 years, the state had an even lower annual rate of gun violence, reporting less than 7.0 firearm deaths per 100,000 people.

Gun violence tends to be more common in states with higher rates of gun ownership, but roughly one-third of Iowa’s adults own a firearm, higher than the national share of 29.1%. The state also has a relatively high number of gun dealers. There are roughly 27 licensed firearm dealers per 1,000 establishments in the state, one of the higher proportions of all states and well above the national proportion of 18.7 per 1,000 establishments.

8. California
> Firearm deaths per 100,000 people:
> Total firearm deaths 2005-2014: 34,640 (the highest)
> Violent crime rate per 100,000: 396.1 (17th highest)
> Adult gun ownership rate: 20.1% (9th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.4% (17th highest)

California has more gun deaths each year than any state in the country. Gun homicides, suicides, and accidental death totalled nearly 35,000 people in the state over the last 10 years. This means that nearly 10% of all fatal firearm incidents nationwide happened in California over the last decade. However, adjusted for population, California actually has a relatively low incidence of gun deaths, at 7.58 per 100,000 residents, compared to the national rate of 10.5 gun deaths per 100,000 people annually.

Suicide accounts for, by far, the largest share of gun-related fatalities in the U.S. California’s gun suicide rate of 4.1 per 100,000 people is the sixth-lowest in the country. California has among the stricter gun laws in the country. The state, for example, has banned assault-style weapons, and firearm purchasers in California must pass a written firearm safety test.

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