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Old 12-10-2015, 10:39 AM   #15
Patriots-Lifer
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes statistics on firearm deaths and the death rate, which would be a fairer measure in comparing states of various populations. The death rate is the number of deaths per 100,000 people. The CDC also gives age-adjusted death rates, since such rates are influenced by the age of the population. This levels the comparison between different groups.
For 2013, the 10 states with the highest firearm age-adjusted death rates were: Alaska (19.8), Louisiana (19.3), Mississippi (17.8), Alabama (17.6), Arkansas (16.8), Wyoming (16.7), Montana (16.7), Oklahoma (16.5), New Mexico (15.5) and Tennessee (15.4).
The 10 states with the lowest firearm age-adjusted death rates were, starting with the lowest: Hawaii (2.6), Massachusetts (3.1), New York (4.2), Connecticut (4.4), Rhode Island (5.3), New Jersey (5.7), New Hampshire (6.4), Minnesota (7.6), California (7.7) and Iowa (8.0).
Firearm deaths, however, include suicides, and there are a lot of them. In 2013, there were a total of 33,636 firearm deaths, and 21,175, or 63 percent, were suicides, according to the CDC. Homicides made up 11,208, or 33 percent, of those firearm deaths. The rest were unintentional discharges (505), legal intervention/war (467) and undetermined (281).
Homicide data for 2013 don’t give us a clear picture of homicides only by firearm; however, 70 percent of homicides for the year were by firearm. The 10 states with the highest homicide rates were: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, Oklahoma, South Carolina, New Mexico, Missouri and Michigan. That lists includes six states that also have the highest firearm death rates.
The 10 states with the lowest homicide rates are: North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Utah, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts and Oregon.
The number of homicides that occurred in the first three states were so low that their death rates were zero. Wyoming is an interesting case, because it has one of the highest firearm death rates but a homicide rate of zero.
What role do gun control laws play in these statistics? It’s difficult to say. One news report that compiled these same CDC numbers on firearm death rates, by 24/7 Wall Street and published by USA Today, listed several reasons besides gun laws that these states might have high rates of gun deaths (suicides included). Many of the states also have higher rates of poverty, lower educational attainment and perhaps more rural areas that make getting to a hospital in time to save someone’s life difficult.
But that report also noted weaker gun laws were common among the states with higher gun death rates: “In fact, none of the states with the most gun violence require permits to purchase rifles, shotguns, or handguns. Gun owners are also not required to register their weapons in any of these states. Meanwhile, many of the states with the least gun violence require a permit or other form of identification to buy a gun,” reporter Thomas C. Frohlich wrote.
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