Fueled in part by the pandemic and national unrest in the wake of incidents of police brutality, gun sales hit an all-time high in the United States in 2020 — a trend that shows no sign of slowing so far in 2021. Gun control advocates are concerned that the growing number of firearms in circulation, many of which are in the hands of first-time owners, will result in increasing rates of gun violence — an all too familiar problem in the United States.
Even in 2019, before the most recent surge in firearm sales, there were an estimated 39,707 people killed by guns in the United States, or 12.1 deaths for every 100,000 people. Gun violence varies considerably by state, however, and some parts of the country are far safer than others.
Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the most gun violence.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the states with lower levels of gun violence tend to be those with stronger gun control laws. These states tend to have regulations on gun ownership that include universal background checks, waiting periods, limits on magazine capacity, restrictions on both open and concealed carry, and ownership bans for those with certain mental health issues. Meanwhile, states with the highest rates of gun violence typically have very few, if any, of these regulations. Here is a look at the states with the best and worst gun laws.
In the United States, mass shootings are the most publicized and often most horrific form of gun violence. So far this year, there have been nearly 300 recorded mass shootings nationwide. However, the deadliest form of gun violence is suicide. Nearly 24,000 Americans took their own lives with a firearm in 2019, compared to about 14,400 homicides that were carried out with a gun.
To determine the states with the most gun violence, 24/7 Wall St. examined 2019 firearm-related deaths data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We also considered violent crime rates from the FBI’s 2019 Uniform Crime Report. Data on annual background checks is from the FBI’s National instant Criminal Background Check system