Special Report

Ohio Has Ranked Among the Worst States for Gun Crime for Over a Decade

Matthew Hatcher / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Firearm sales have hit historic highs in the U.S. in recent years, and the ongoing proliferation of firearms may be fueling a rise in gun crime.

When firearms are recovered at a crime scene or taken from a suspect, they are often reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives for tracing. In these cases, the ATF assists in criminal investigations by using serial numbers and other markings to determine when and where a firearm was originally purchased — and over the last 12 years, firearm-related offenses have been taking up a growing share of federal resources.

Between 2010 and 2022, the number of guns traced by the ATF surged by 174%, from 145,600 to 399,400, climbing by anywhere from 3% to 18% in a single year. Most homicides in the U.S. are committed with a firearm, and over the same period, the national homicide rate climbed by over 50%.

While not all guns traced by the ATF were used in a crime — and not all firearms used for illicit purposes are traced — federal tracing data offers valuable insight into trends and geographic patterns related to gun violence in the United States.

Mirroring the national trend, gun tracings are up sharply in Ohio. The ATF traced 17,477 seized firearms in the state in 2022, compared to 6,646 in 2010. Adjusting for population, gun crime has long been more common in Ohio than it is across the U.S. as a whole. In each of the last 13 years, the number of firearm tracings for every 100,000 people in the state was above the comparable national rate.

As of 2022, the most recent year of available data, the ATF traced 149 seized firearms for every 100,000 people in the state, the 12th highest gun-tracing rate among states.

2010: 6,646 firearms traced by the ATF

  • Firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio, 2010: 57.6 per 100,000 people (12th highest)
  • Firearms traced by the ATF nationwide, 2010: 47.1 per 100,000 people
  • Ohio homicide rate, 2010: 4.2 per 100,000 people (24th lowest)
  • U.S. homicide rate, 2010: 4.8 per 100,000 people

2011: 6,575 firearms traced by the ATF

  • Firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio, 2011: 57.0 per 100,000 people (11th highest)
  • Firearms traced by the ATF nationwide, 2011: 47.9 per 100,000 people
  • Ohio homicide rate, 2011: 4.3 per 100,000 people (24th highest)
  • U.S. homicide rate, 2011: 4.7 per 100,000 people

2012: 6,700 firearms traced by the ATF

  • Firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio, 2012: 58.0 per 100,000 people (16th highest)
  • Firearms traced by the ATF nationwide, 2012: 49.8 per 100,000 people
  • Ohio homicide rate, 2012: 4.1 per 100,000 people (25th highest)
  • U.S. homicide rate, 2012: 4.7 per 100,000 people

2013: 7,676 firearms traced by the ATF

  • Firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio, 2013: 66.3 per 100,000 people (14th highest)
  • Firearms traced by the ATF nationwide, 2013: 52.6 per 100,000 people
  • Ohio homicide rate, 2013: 4.1 per 100,000 people (25th highest)
  • U.S. homicide rate, 2013: 4.5 per 100,000 people

2014: 7,602 firearms traced by the ATF

  • Firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio, 2014: 65.6 per 100,000 people (12th highest)
  • Firearms traced by the ATF nationwide, 2014: 53.4 per 100,000 people
  • Ohio homicide rate, 2014: 4.0 per 100,000 people (25th lowest)
  • U.S. homicide rate, 2014: 4.4 per 100,000 people

2015: 7,582 firearms traced by the ATF

  • Firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio, 2015: 65.3 per 100,000 people (17th highest)
  • Firearms traced by the ATF nationwide, 2015: 59.3 per 100,000 people
  • Ohio homicide rate, 2015: 4.5 per 100,000 people (25th lowest)
  • U.S. homicide rate, 2015: 4.9 per 100,000 people

2016: 8,115 firearms traced by the ATF

  • Firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio, 2016: 69.9 per 100,000 people (18th highest)
  • Firearms traced by the ATF nationwide, 2016: 65.4 per 100,000 people
  • Ohio homicide rate, 2016: 5.9 per 100,000 people (20th highest)
  • U.S. homicide rate, 2016: 5.4 per 100,000 people

2017: 10,154 firearms traced by the ATF

  • Firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio, 2017: 87.1 per 100,000 people (14th highest)
  • Firearms traced by the ATF nationwide, 2017: 73.4 per 100,000 people
  • Ohio homicide rate, 2017: 6.4 per 100,000 people (14th highest)
  • U.S. homicide rate, 2017: 5.3 per 100,000 people

2018: 10,391 firearms traced by the ATF

  • Firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio, 2018: 88.9 per 100,000 people (16th highest)
  • Firearms traced by the ATF nationwide, 2018: 77.9 per 100,000 people
  • Ohio homicide rate, 2018: 5.1 per 100,000 people (22nd highest)
  • U.S. homicide rate, 2018: 5.0 per 100,000 people

2019: 11,215 firearms traced by the ATF

  • Firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio, 2019: 95.9 per 100,000 people (18th highest)
  • Firearms traced by the ATF nationwide, 2019: 82.0 per 100,000 people
  • Ohio homicide rate, 2019: 5.0 per 100,000 people (23rd highest)
  • U.S. homicide rate, 2019: 5.1 per 100,000 people

2020: 14,072 firearms traced by the ATF

  • Firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio, 2020: 120.5 per 100,000 people (13th highest)
  • Firearms traced by the ATF nationwide, 2020: 93.9 per 100,000 people
  • Ohio homicide rate, 2020: 7.0 per 100,000 people (19th highest)
  • U.S. homicide rate, 2020: 6.5 per 100,000 people

2021: 18,085 firearms traced by the ATF

  • Firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio, 2021: 153.5 per 100,000 people (7th highest)
  • Firearms traced by the ATF nationwide, 2021: 108.9 per 100,000 people
  • Ohio homicide rate, 2021: 8.0 per 100,000 people
  • U.S. homicide rate, 2021: 7.7 per 100,000 people

2022: 17,477 firearms traced by the ATF

  • Firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio, 2022: 148.7 per 100,000 people (12th highest)
  • Firearms traced by the ATF nationwide, 2022: 119.8 per 100,000 people
  • Ohio homicide rate, 2022: 6.5 per 100,000 people (25th lowest)
  • U.S. homicide rate, 2022: 7.3 per 100,000 people

 

Year Firearm tracings per 100,000 people in Ohio Firearm tracings per 100,000 people in the US Total firearms traced by the ATF in Ohio Total firearms traced by the ATF in the US
2022 148.7 119.8 17,477 399,397
2021 153.5 108.9 18,085 361,587
2020 120.5 93.9 14,072 306,686
2019 95.9 82.0 11,215 269,250
2018 88.9 77.9 10,391 254,700
2017 87.1 73.4 10,154 239,175
2016 69.9 65.4 8,115 211,384
2015 65.3 59.3 7,582 190,538
2014 65.6 53.4 7,602 170,344
2013 66.3 52.6 7,676 166,426
2012 58.0 49.8 6,700 156,346
2011 57.0 47.9 6,575 149,276
2010 57.6 47.1 6,646 145,604

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