WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- States in the South and West with weak gun laws and high rates of gun ownership lead the nation in overall firearm death rates according to a new analysis issued today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. The new VPC analysis uses 2005 data (the most recent available) from the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The analysis reveals that the five states with the highest per capita gun death rates were Louisiana, Alaska, Montana, Tennessee, and Alabama. Each of these states had a per capita gun death rate far exceeding the national per capita gun death rate of 10.32 per 100,000. By contrast, states with strong gun laws and low rates of gun ownership had far lower rates of firearm-related death. Ranking last in the nation for gun death was Hawaii, followed by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New York. (See list below or chart at http://www.vpc.org/press/0804gundeath.htm for states with the highest and lowest gun death rates. See http://www.vpc.org/fadeathchart.htm for a ranking of all 50 states.) States with the Five HIGHEST Per Capita Gun Death Rates Louisiana--Rank: 1; Household Gun Ownership: 45.6 percent; Gun Death Rate: 19.04 per 100,000. Alaska--Rank: 2; Household Gun Ownership: 60.6 percent; Gun Death Rate: 17.49 per 100,000. Montana--Rank: 3; Household Gun Ownership: 61.4 percent; Gun Death Rate: 17.22 per 100,000. Tennessee--Rank: 4; Household Gun Ownership: 46.4 percent; Gun Death Rate: 16.39 per 100,000. Alabama--Rank: 5; Household Gun Ownership: 57.2 percent; Gun Death Rate: 16.18 per 100,000. States with the Five LOWEST Per Capita Gun Death Rates Hawaii--Rank: 50; Household Gun Ownership: 9.7 percent; Gun Death Rate: 2.20 per 100,000. Massachusetts--Rank: 49; Household Gun Ownership: 12.8 percent; Gun Death Rate: 3.48 per 100,000. Rhode Island--Rank: 48; Household Gun Ownership: 13.3 percent; Gun Death Rate: 3.63 per 100,000. New Jersey--Rank: 47; Household Gun Ownership: 11.3 percent; Gun Death Rate: 4.99 per 100,000. New York--Rank: 46; Household Gun Ownership: 18.1 percent; Gun Death Rate: 5.28 per 100,000. VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, "Blind allegiance to the Second Amendment comes at a deadly price. Many residents in pro-gun states cheer the possibility of a June Supreme Court ruling that could place gun controls across the nation at risk, never realizing that those states stand as proof of the need for such laws." The VPC defined states with "weak" gun laws as those that add little or nothing to federal restrictions and have permissive concealed carry laws allowing civilians to carry concealed handguns. States with "strong" gun laws were defined as those that add significant state regulation in addition to federal law, such as restricting access to particularly hazardous types of firearms (for example, assault weapons), setting minimum safety standards for firearms and/or requiring a permit to purchase a firearm, and have restrictive concealed carry laws. The Violence Policy Center (www.vpc.org) is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury.
SOURCE Violence Policy Center