Which states see the most gun-related deaths?

On July 20, 2012, a lone gunman killed 12 and injured dozens more in a Colorado movie theatre, during a screening of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. The tragedy has drawn renewed attention to the United States' unique relationship with firearms. Civilians in the US own an estimated 270 million guns, a higher number than any other country.


Unlike in almost all other developed countries, gun laws in the US tend to be lax. The US Constitution's Second Amendment protects the "right of the people to keep and bear arms", explaining that "a well regulated Militia" is "necessary to the security of a free State". The Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that the Second Amendment should be interpreted as protecting an individual's right to bear arms.

Gun ownership and gun death rates vary greatly by state: In Wyoming, more than 60 per cent of people own guns; whereas in Washington, DC, fewer than 4 per cent own guns. The gun death rate is also highest in Washington, DC, and lowest in Massachusetts.


Note that the gun death rate includes deaths from suicides and accidents as well as homicides.


Hover over the different states on the map to learn more.

  
The US leads in gun ownership.

Guns owned per 100 people


The US has more guns per person than any other country in the world. The Small Arms Survey estimated that in 2007, there were 88 guns owned for every 100 Americans.


Although exact figures are difficult to come by, the Arabian Peninsula state of Yemen - which has a deeply ingrained gun culture - probably has the second-highest number of guns per capita.


Switzerland's requirement that most of its male citizens serve in a militia helps it maintain third-highest rate in the world. And Finland, in fourth place, has a robust hunting culture. Guns have also traditionally been important in rural Serbia, which has the fifth-highest number of firearms per person.


All mentioned figures come from a Small Arms Survey report published in 2007.


Surging gun and ammo purchases.
Public opinion is more pro-gun.

Amount of firearms and ammunition tax collected Source

Total number of NICS background checks Source

When campaigning in 2008, Obama said, "I believe in people's lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won't take your handgun away."


Nevertheless, since Obama was elected president, firearms and ammunition sales have surged. The surge may have occurred at least in part because of conservatives' fears that Obama would implement an anti-gun agenda.

Gun dealers are required to run a criminal background check on buyers of firearms. Since 2003, the number of background checks performed has risen each year. The amount of taxes collected on firearm and ammunition sales has also risen continuously since 2003.

Percentage of Americans supporting stricter gun laws

Number of violent crimes reported

78%

1990

43%

2010

1.2 million

1.8 million

Since 1990, public opinion surveys carried out by pollster Gallup have found that Americans increasingly oppose stricter gun control measures. Today, fewer than half of Americans say they want laws to become stricter. In 1990, more than three-quarters wanted tougher laws.


One possible reason for this trend may be the fact that over the same time period, the number of gun-related homicides dropped precipitously, as part of an overall decrease in crime in the US.

West Virginia

Gun death rate: 13.79 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 57.9%
Rank: 13 Rank: 6

Hawaii

Gun death rate: 3.63 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 9.7%
Rank: 49 Rank: 50

Alaska

Gun death rate: 14.89 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 60.6%
Rank: 9 Rank: 3

Florida

Gun death rate: 12.54 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 26.0%
Rank: 19 Rank: 41

New Hampshire

Gun death rate: 6.72 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 30.5%
Rank: 42 Rank: 39

Michigan

Gun death rate: 10.98 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 40.3%
Rank: 23 Rank: 27

Michigan

Gun death rate: 10.98 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 40.3%
Rank: 23 Rank: 27

Vermont

Gun death rate: 9.65 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 45.5%
Rank: 30 Rank: 14

Maine

Gun death rate: 9.25 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 41.1%
Rank: 33 Rank: 24

Rhode Island

Gun death rate: 5.32 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 13.3%
Rank: 45 Rank: 47

New York

Gun death rate: 4.9 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 18.1%
Rank: 47 Rank: 45

Pennsylvania

Gun death rate: 10.7 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 36.5%
Rank: 27 Rank: 31

New Jersey

Gun death rate: 4.72 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 11.3%
Rank: 48 Rank: 49

Delaware

Gun death rate: 8.59 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 26.7%
Rank: 36 Rank: 40

Maryland

Gun death rate: 10.28 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 22.1%
Rank: 29 Rank: 42

Virginia

Gun death rate: 10.61 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 35.9%
Rank: 28 Rank: 34

Ohio

Gun death rate: 8.59 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 32.1%
Rank: 36 Rank: 37

Indiana

Gun death rate: 11.44 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 39.0%
Rank: 22 Rank: 30

Illinois

Gun death rate: 8.19 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 19.7%
Rank: 39 Rank: 43

Connecticut

Gun death rate: 4.92 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 16.2%
Rank: 46 Rank: 46

Wisconsin

Gun death rate: 8.08 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 44.3%
Rank: 40 Rank: 20

North Carolina

Gun death rate: 11.85 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 40.8%
Rank: 20 Rank: 26
National firearm death rate: 10.19 per 100,000

Source: Violence Policy Center

Percentage of Americans who own firearms: 34

Source: Gallup

Massachusetts

Gun death rate: 3.14 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 12.8%
Rank: 50 Rank: 48

Tennessee

Gun death rate: 15.34 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 46.4%
Rank: 8 Rank: 12

Arkansas

Gun death rate: 16.09 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 46.4%
Rank: 6 Rank: 12

Missouri

Gun death rate: 13.73 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 45.4%
Rank: 14 Rank: 15

Georgia

Gun death rate: 12.69 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 41.0%
Rank: 17 Rank: 25

South Carolina

Gun death rate: 13.9 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 45.0%
Rank: 12 Rank: 17

Kentucky

Gun death rate: 12.98 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 48.0%
Rank: 15 Rank: 11

Alabama

Gun death rate: 17.63 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 57.2%
Rank: 3 Rank: 7

Louisiana

Gun death rate: 18.03 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 45.6%
Rank: 1 Rank: 13

Mississippi

Gun death rate: 16.5 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 54.3%
Rank: 5 Rank: 9

Iowa

Gun death rate: 6.42 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 44.0%
Rank: 43 Rank: 21

Minnesota

Gun death rate: 6.38 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 44.7%
Rank: 44 Rank: 18

Oklahoma

Gun death rate: 14.46 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 44.6%
Rank: 11 Rank: 19

Texas

Gun death rate: 10.86 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 44.6%
Rank: 25 Rank: 19

New Mexico

Gun death rate: 14.88 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 39.6%
Rank: 10 Rank: 29

Kansas

Gun death rate: 10.75 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 43.7%
Rank: 26 Rank: 22

Nebraska

Gun death rate: 7.35 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 42.1%
Rank: 41 Rank: 23

South Dakota

Gun death rate: 9.23 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 59.9%
Rank: 34 Rank: 4

North Dakota

Gun death rate: 9.12 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 54.3%
Rank: 35 Rank: 9

Wyoming

Gun death rate: 17.64 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 62.8%
Rank: 2 Rank: 1

Montana

Gun death rate: 17.03 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 61.4%
Rank: 4 Rank: 2

Colorado

Gun death rate: 11.6 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 34.5%
Rank: 21 Rank: 36

Idaho

Gun death rate: 12.68 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 56.8%
Rank: 18 Rank: 8

Utah

Gun death rate: 9.34 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 45.3%
Rank: 32 Rank: 16

Arizona

Gun death rate: 12.98 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 36.2%
Rank: 15 Rank: 32

Nevada

Gun death rate: 15.36 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 31.5%
Rank: 7 Rank: 38

Oregon

Gun death rate: 10.9 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 39.8%
Rank: 24 Rank: 28

Washington

Gun death rate: 9.35 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 36.2%
Rank: 31 Rank: 32

California

Gun death rate: 8.37 per 100,000 Rate of firearm ownership: 19.5%
Rank: 38 Rank: 44