The latest mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school reignited the debate over gun ownership rights and further highlighted the role that mental illness plays in these tragic episodes of gun violence in the United States. Last Wednesday, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle before he was apprehended by law enforcement. The weapon used in the shootings was purchased legally about a year earlier.
With this latest tragedy, three of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred in the last five months.
While grabbing the most headlines, gun violence is not limited to mass shootings. Gun fatalities include homicides, accidents, and suicides. There were 38,658 firearm deaths in the United States in 2016. Of those fatalities, 22,938 were suicides, and 14,415 were homicides.
No part of the country has been spared mass shootings. The 10 deadliest incidents have occurred in Texas, California, Florida, Virginia, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Nevada.
When adjusted for the population size, five of the deadliest 10 states are in the South, and six are among the 10 poorest U.S. states. In all but five states, more than half of all firearm fatalities were suicides.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on gun violence by state based on the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracks the number of gun-related deaths in each state.