Reality Check: 11 U.S. States With The Highest Firearm Fatalities

All the news about recent shootings can always stir and reignite the national gun control debate. That said, such tragedies have brought to light a CDC report, which shows just how pervasive gun violence is in each state. This post aims to show the ones with the worst firearm fatality rates.

1. Mississippi

A pusher boat in the Mississippi River near the Vicksburg Bridge in Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA.
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Mississippi ranks as the deadliest state for firearm deaths per capita. A combination of poverty, cultural factors, and a significant presence of firearms contributes to the state’s concerning statistics. In 2021, Mississippi witnessed 962 deaths caused by firearms, resulting in a rate of 33.9 deaths per 100,000 residents.

2. Louisiana

New Orleans
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Louisiana reported the second-highest firearm death rate in the nation. Poverty, urban crime, and lenient gun control regulations are contributing factors. In 2021, Louisiana reported a staggering 1314 firearm deaths, translating to 29.1 deaths per 100,000 residents.

3. New Mexico

New Mexico
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The sixth most sparsely populated territory in the country ranked third, with 27.8 deaths per 100,000 residents. New Mexico reported 578 firearm deaths. New Mexico has started improving its gun laws in recent years, and lawmakers are hopeful this will translate to lower firearm deaths in the state.

4. Alabama

mobile alabama skyline
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kevin Ruck

Known for its strong gun culture, Alabama experiences a high rate of firearm-related deaths. Relaxed gun laws, socioeconomic challenges, and limited access to mental health resources are contributing factors. Alabama recorded 1315 firearm fatalities, just one more than the second worst state Louisiana, accounting for 26.4 deaths per 100,000 residents.

5. Wyoming

JACKSON HOLE, WY –1 AUG 2020- View of the Western town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, United States.
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Wyoming’s small population and high prevalence of firearms contribute to its position among the most dangerous states. The state’s vast rural areas and limited access to emergency medical services exacerbate the risk faced by victims of firearm incidents. In 2021, Wyoming recorded 155 firearm deaths, accounting for a rate of 26.1 deaths per 100,000 residents.

6. Alaska

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The vastness of Alaska’s remote areas and its high gun ownership rate contribute to its significant firearm fatality statistics. Limited access to emergency medical services and long response times increase the risk for victims. In 2021, Alaska witnessed 182 firearm deaths, resulting in a rate of 25.2 deaths per 100,000 residents.

7. Montana

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Montana has long been considered one of the most dangerous states due to its lax gun laws and low population density. The state reported a firearm death rate of 25.1 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2021, with 280 fatalities occurring throughout the year.

8. Arkansas

little rock arkansas
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Despite being a relatively rural state, Arkansas struggles with firearm fatalities due to various factors. Limited access to mental health services, poverty rates, and cultural influences contribute to the concerning statistics. In 2021, Arkansas witnessed 698 firearm deaths, resulting in a rate of 23.3 deaths per 100,000 residents.

9. Missouri

Kansas City MO
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Missouri‘s lax gun laws and high prevalence of firearm ownership place it among the most dangerous states in terms of firearm fatalities. The presence of firearms in domestic violence incidents and the opioid crisis contributes to the alarming statistics. In 2021, Missouri reported 1414 firearm deaths, equivalent to a rate of 23.2 deaths per 100,000 residents.

10. Tennessee

Downtown Nashville
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Tennessee experiences a concerning rate of firearm fatalities, attributed in part to high gun ownership rates and limited gun control regulations. Urban areas like Memphis and Nashville report higher incidents of gun violence. In 2021, Tennessee reported 1569 firearm deaths, translating to a rate of 22.8 deaths per 100,000 residents.

11. South Carolina

Georgetown, South Carolina. Panoramic aerial view at sunset.
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Without a doubt, South Carolina is one of the most dangerous states in terms of firearm fatalities due to its very weak gun control laws. The state had a total of 1,136 deaths in 2021, resulting in a rate of 22.4 per 100,000 residents.

The Worst States for Firearm Fatalities

The city of Biloxi on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
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Empirical evidence has objectively verified that firearm fatalities are an unsolved problem in the United States, particularly in certain states. The data discussed in this blog post provides a number of eye-opening insights into the prevalence and particularities of these tragedies in each state.

To reduce lives lost to gun violence, top priority must be placed on developing meaningful policies within these ten most dangerous states—policies that will consider factors such as mental health awareness efforts, access to education, crime rates, local legislation, and culture—that can help citizens lead safer lives. It is our duty to come together, take actionable steps, and curb needless gun deaths across America.

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