United States Firearm Death Rates Ranked by State

As the number of guns owned in the United States increases, so do the number of fatalities.
As the number of guns owned in the United States increases, so do the number of fatalities.

Gun ownership in the United States has significantly increased over the last few decades. It is speculated that the number of guns in the US surpasses the country’s population. As the number of guns owned rises, so do the fatalities caused by the use of firearms. Despite the increasing number of deaths caused by gun related injuries, American citizens continue to buy and use firearms for various reasons. The United States Constitution protects its citizens' right to own firearms under the Second Amendment law. The state with the highest number of deaths from firearm injuries is Alaska. Other states that top the list include Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas.

United States Firearm Death Rates Ranked by State.


Alaska is the US’s largest state by land area. The state has the highest rate of deaths from gun injuries. As at 2015, it is estimated that 23 people per 100,000 residents died from firearm injuries. The high number of deaths can be attributed to the lenient laws on the purchasing and ownership of guns in the state. People in Alaska need no license or permit to purchase, own or carry any type of firearm. The only restriction is for buyers to be above 18 years of ago and have no criminal records with law enforcement for the past ten years. Guns are also banned in most public places, such as schools, courts, government buildings, and correctional facilities. Although Alaska abides by the federal gun laws, it is easier for people to obtain and use firearms in Alaska than in other US states.


The state of Louisiana has the second highest death rate resulting from firearm injuries. In 2015, 20 deaths were caused by gun related injuries per 100,000 people. These deaths were as a result of little regulation on gun ownership in the state. Louisiana is often known as the “gun loving state” due to its lenient gun laws. The state does not demand any permits or registration for gun owners. It is very easy for individuals to purchase a firearm in Louisiana in comparison to most other states. It is equally easy for gun dealers, as they encounter limited restrictions. Furthermore, the state does not restrict the bulk purchasing of firearms.


Alabama is located in the Southern United States and has the third highest number of deaths caused by the use of firearms. The state suffered 19 deaths related to gun injuries per 100,000 residents in 2015. Alabama is known for its liberal stance on gun regulation. In fact, Alabama’s constitution provides for every citizen of the state to own a firearm for self-defense or defense of the state. There are restrictions on gun ownership for convicted persons, people under 18 years of age, people suffering from mental illness, and domestic violence convicts. Additionally, firearm dealers are required to conduct background checks on all their clients and keep records of all buyers of hand guns.


The state of Mississippi ranks fourth in terms of the highest number of firearm deaths in the United States. In 2015, the state recorded 19 deaths by use of firearms for every 100,000 residents. Mississippi exercises a considerable amount of regulation on gun ownership. A license from Mississippi Department of Public Safety is required to carry a concealed firearm. The license expires after five years. In addition, concealing firearms are prohibited in public areas like schools, polling stations, recreational facilities and government buildings.

Use of Firearms in the United States

In the United States, firearms are acquired for variety of uses. Most people buy guns for self-defense. A record number of gun-owners acquire the firearms for outdoor activities. Nonetheless, there are individuals who buy guns for illegal, criminal purposes. In order to reduce the number of deaths from firearm injuries, the United States needs to implement laws that prevent or reduce firearm ownership by criminals.

United States Firearm Death Rates Ranked by State

RankStateFirearms Death Rate per 100,000 (Source: KFF, 2014)
8New Mexico16
10South Carolina15.5
14West Virginia14.6

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