Who’s Most at Risk: 11 Gun Violence Hotspots in the United States

2021 has been marked as the year when the number of gun violence incidents in the United States reached an all-time high. That means it surpassed 2019’s 39,707 gun-related deaths.

Gun violence is one of the severe problems America faces, but its prevalence varies across the country, with certain states experiencing higher rates than others—turning them into places people tend to avoid.

1. Mississippi

Downtown Vicksburg, Mississippi along the Yazoo River Diversion Canal and Mississippi River.
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Mississippi ranks first with the most gun violence in the United States, with a 33.9% death per capita, resulting in 818 gun deaths. It’s worthy of note that Mississippi has a high gun ownership rate.

2. Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA Downtown Skyline Aerial
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Louisiana, another southern state on the top chart, follows Mississippi closely, with a staggering 29.1% gun deaths per capita. Louisiana grapples with a complex blend of the drug trade and gang activity which though correlated, may not be causative to the degree of violence.

3. New Mexico

Historic Route 66 in Gallup, New Mexico, USA, 07-25-2019
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New Mexico is notable for its relaxed gun laws and a deep-rooted gun culture that makes firearms more accessible, leading to misuse and violence. New Mexico has 27.8% gun death per capita.

4. Alabama

mobile alabama skyline
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Fourth on the list, Alabama’s 26.4 gun death per capita is disturbing. Like in other states, gun laws here do not follow stringent rules.

5. Wyoming

RIVERTON, WYOMING, UNITED STATES - Jul 18, 2010: Annual hot air balloon festival in Riverton, Wyoming
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Wyoming contends with a significant number of gun-related events annually. The Gun Violence Archive pegs its death per capita rate at 26.1%. Wyoming also has the second-highest gun ownership rate in the United States, at 66.2%.

6. Alaska

Downtown Anchorage Alaska
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The remoteness of Alaska makes gun violence a highly proliferative crime in the state. Despite its small population, Alaska has a 25.2% gun death per capita. Sadly, issues of domestic violence are often the cause of gun violence in Alaska.

7. Montana

Drone view of the Montana State Capitol, in Helena, on a sunny afternoon with hazy sky caused by wildfires. The Montana State Capitol houses the Montana State Legislature.
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Gun violence-related death in Montana is nearly the same as that in Alaska, a disturbing percentile trend many believe is due to high gun ownership rates in the state. Montana is also reputable for having the highest gun ownership rate among these ten states at a staggering 66.3%.

8. Arkansas

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Arkansas’ rural areas face gun violence challenges that put its development in jeopardy. A 23.3% is considerably high for a state of its unique nature.

9. Missouri

gardens and fountains at Branson Landing in Branson, Missouri
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Missouri’s gun problems have been attributed to its proximity to states with fewer gun control rules, giving rise to illicit interstate gun trafficking. Missouri has a gun death per capita rate of 23.2%.

10. Tennessee

Downtown Nashville
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The tenth state in the United States with the most gun violence is not so different from most. Teeming in firearm incidents, albeit relatively lower than the rest, Tennessee has a 22.8% gun violence death per capita. Its urban areas, such as Memphis and Nashville, also experience relatively high gun violence than other Tennessee municipalities.

11. South Carolina

Downtown Greenville, South Carolina, USA.
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South Carolina has unfortunately gained a reputation as a hotbed for gun violence with a 22.4% death per capita rate. Shockingly, an average of 1,044 lives are lost each year due to gun-related incidents, leaving an additional 2,358 individuals wounded. It is disheartening, however, to note that a significant portion, 51%, of these tragic deaths are a result of suicides.

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