US States With the Highest Level of Gun Violence

According to the Center for Diseases Control, these states experience the highest level of gun violence.

Gun related violence accounts for more than two-thirds of homicides in the United States. In 2013, nearly 34,000 people died in gun-related violence. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the organization that keeps a record of gun-related deaths per state in the United States. Fatalities include homicide, suicides, and accidents. The frequency of gun related fatalities varies significantly across the country. In 2013, Hawaii was the state with the fewest firearm-related deaths with 2.6 deaths per 100,000 people while Alaska was the state with the most gun-related violence with 20 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. Below is an analysis of some of the states that had the most gun-related violence.

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In Alaska, there is no permit required for one to possess a firearm. In 2013, Alaska had the most violence related deaths with 20 deaths per 100,000 people with the majority of the deaths caused by suicide. A study by the CDC showed that there were high cases of reported suicide in places where there is easy access to guns. Despite relating gun-related violence to the less wealthy states, Alaska is of a different caliber as most of its occupants are wealthy. According to CDC, Alaska had the highest level of gun violence in 2015 with a firearm death rate at 23.4 deaths per 100,000 people.


As the case is with other states on this list, gun owners in Louisiana do not require permits to purchase firearms and they do not need to register their weapons. Louisiana reported the highest rate of Gun-related homicide in the country in 2013 at 9.7 fatalities per 100,000. There were 18.8 gun-related deaths in Louisiana that year, coming second only to Alaska. According to CDC, Louisiana’s gun-related death rate was at 20.4 murders per 100,000 people.


As per the 2015 data by CDC, Alabama experienced firearm related violence at the rate of 19.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. The high level of firearm-related violence in Alabama is associated with the lack of regulations restricting the purchase and ownership of guns. Poverty levels are also directly associated with crime. Alabama had 19% of its residents living below poverty line in 2013, and this was attributed to being one of the leading causes of gun violence. The state is also among the ones with the worst educational attainment which may have been another contributor to the high levels of gun-related violence. In 2013, an average of 16.6 people died through firearm related violence. As per the reports by the Center for Diseases Control in 2015, Alabama’s firearms related deaths accounted for a rate of 19.6.


From the above analysis, the lack of regulations pertaining ownership and use of firearms is the most common factor contributing to the high rates of gun violence in these states. Most of the states on the list do not require permits for the purchase of firearms. The lack of regulations makes it hard for the government to account for the people in possession of these dangerous weapons. To reverse the trend of increasing gun-related deaths, states should come up with rules that provide guidelines for purchasing and owning firearms.

US States With the Highest Level of Gun Violence

RankStateFirearm Death Rate (Source: CDC)
7New Mexico18.6
10South Carolina17.3
17West Virginia14
19North Dakota12.8
23North Carolina12.5

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