You’re Most Likely to Die From Gun Violence in These 15 States

It’s no secret the United States has a gun problem. According to a 2010 report by the American Journal of Medicine, the death rates from firearms — homicide, suicide, and unintentional — were significantly higher in the U.S. than other high-income countries. In fact, compared to the other high-income countries, “82% of all people killed by firearms were from the United States,” according to the report.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention measures causes of death by state each year, including death by a firearm. In 2015, the United States experienced 36,252 firearm deaths, according to the CDC, for a rate of 11.1 deaths per 100,000 people. Massachusetts had the lowest death rate, at 3 per 100,000 residents for 213 total deaths. But here are the 15 states on the other end of the scale, which had the highest firearm death rates in the country.

15. Idaho

Welcome sign on the boarder to Idaho

Idaho had the 15th highest firearm death rate in the U.S. | iStock.com/oscity

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 14.7

With 247 deaths in 2015, Idaho comes in at No. 15 for its firearm death rate, according to the CDC. To put that in perspective, the leading cause of death in the state for that year was cancer with 2,849 deaths. And though a direct link between firearm deaths and gun ownership hasn’t been proven, the journal Injury Prevention reports 56.9% of Idaho households owned a gun as of 2013.

Next: Firearm deaths outnumber diabetes deaths in this state

14. Nevada

Reno, Nevada, aerial view

Reno, Nevada | iStock.com/ddub3429

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 14.9

Nevada is next on the list with 446 firearm deaths in 2015, according to the CDC. But the leading cause of death in Nevada was heart disease with 6,114 deaths. Firearm deaths were lower on the list, sitting between diabetes (420 deaths) and chronic liver disease/cirrhosis (475 deaths). And according to Injury Prevention, 37.5% of Nevada households owned a gun.

Next: Nearly half of households in this state have a gun

13. Kentucky

Churchill Downs in Kentucky

Churchill Downs in Kentucky | Elsa/Getty Images

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 15.2

The CDC reports Kentucky experienced 694 firearm deaths in 2015. The leading cause of death in the state was cancer with 10,312 deaths, closely followed by heart disease with 10,077 deaths. And about 42.4% of Kentucky households had a gun, according to Injury Prevention.

Next: Tennessee

12. Tennessee

downtown Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee | iStock.com/Sean Pavone

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 16

Tennessee is next on the list with 1,075 firearm deaths in 2015, according to the CDC. The state’s leading cause of death was heart disease with 15,730 deaths, followed by cancer with 14,214 deaths. Injury Prevention reports 39.4% of Tennessee households owned a gun in 2013.

Next: Arkansas

11. Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas | iStock.com/csfotoimages

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 16.9

Arkansas experienced 520 firearm deaths in 2015. But its leading cause of death also was heart disease with 7,938 deaths. About 57.9% of households in Arkansas owned a gun as of 2013.

Next: South Carolina

10. South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina, statehouse

Columbia, South Carolina | iStock.com/Sean Pavone

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 17.3

South Carolina cracked the top 10 for its firearm death rate with 850 firearm deaths, according to the CDC. That puts firearms right between flu/pneumonia (848) and septicemia (854) for the state’s leading causes of death. According to Injury Prevention, 44.4% of households had a gun in 2013.

Next: Oklahoma

9. Oklahoma

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 18

The CDC reports Oklahoma experienced 706 firearm deaths in 2015. That number is similar to the state’s drug poisoning deaths (725), as well as deaths from flu/pneumonia (717) and suicide (790). About 31.2% of households owned a gun.

Next: Missouri

8. Missouri

St. Louis Arch

St. Louis | Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 18.1

In 2015, there were 1,094 people who died in Missouri from firearms, according to the CDC. The state’s leading cause of death was heart disease at 14,808 deaths. And 27.1% of households owned a gun, according to Injury Prevention’s 2013 data.

Next: New Mexico

7. New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico | iStock.com/alex grichenko

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 18.6

New Mexico experienced 390 firearm deaths in 2015, according to the CDC. Drug poisoning deaths in the state totaled 501, and its leading cause of death was cancer with 3,591 deaths. According to Injury Prevention, 49.9% of households owned a gun.

Next: Montana

6. Montana

Missoula, Montana

Missoula, Montana | iStock.com/Andy Kemmis

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 19.2

According to the CDC, Montana had 205 firearm deaths in 2015. That’s more than flu/pneumonia (183), chronic liver disease/cirrhosis (179), and drug poisoning deaths (138). The leading cause of death in the state was cancer with 2,130 deaths. About 52.3% of households owned a gun as of 2013.

Next: Wyoming

5. Wyoming

Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson, Wyoming | Town of Jackson via Facebook

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 19.6

Wyoming’s firearm death rate was good enough to place it in the top five highest for 2015. The state experienced 113 firearm deaths. Its leading cause of death, though, was heart disease with 1,030 fatalities. And about 53.8% of households owned a gun.

Next: Mississippi

4. Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi | iStock.com/SeanPavonePhoto

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 19.6

The CDC reports Mississippi had 589 firearm deaths in 2015. But the state’s leading cause of death was heart disease with 7,969 fatalities. According to Injury Prevention, 42.8% of households owned a gun as of 2013.

Next: Alabama

3. Alabama

scene of downtown Huntsville, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama | iStock.com

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 19.6

We head right next door to Mississippi for the No. 3 state. Alabama experienced 958 firearm deaths in 2015. But its leading cause of death was heart disease with 12,981 fatalities. About 48.9% of households owned a gun.

Next: Louisiana

2. Louisiana

Dusk falls over Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans

Bourbon Street in New Orleans | Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 20.4

We look to Mississippi’s other side for the No. 2 state. Louisiana saw 952 firearm deaths in 2015, landing between flu/pneumonia (753) and septicemia (991). The state’s leading cause of death also was heart disease with 10,665 fatalities. And about 44.5% of households owned a gun as of 2013.

Next: And the No. 1 state is …

1. Alaska

Byers Lake, Alaska, Denali

Denali in Alaska | iStock.com/mbarrettimages

Firearm death rate (per 100,000 residents): 23.4

We head to The Last Frontier for the state with the highest firearm death rate. Alaska experienced 177 firearm deaths in 2015, according to the CDC. That was more than deaths from diabetes, chronic liver disease/cirrhosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and homicide. But the state’s leading cause of death was cancer with 978 fatalities. According to Injury Prevention’s 2013 data, 61.7% of households owned a gun, the highest rate in the country.

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