Report: Alabama has 2nd highest gun fatality rate in U.S.

State / Regional

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Sharp increases in firearm fatalities, as well as the aftermath of recent shootings in Jersey City, El Paso, and Dayton, have kept the issue of gun violence in the news.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that deaths due to gun violence rose by 16.5 percent between 2007 and 2017, countering a long-term downward trend. In 2017 alone, there were 39,773 firearm fatalities nationwide, a rate of 12 fatalities per 100,000 residents.

Most firearm fatalities are the result of suicide, homicide, unintentional injuries, or interactions with law enforcement (legal interventions). While the rates of unintentional injuries, legal intervention, and other less common forms of firearm fatalities have remained relatively flat over the past decade, the rate of firearm-related suicides and firearm-related homicides increased by a staggering 23.2 percent and 9.5 percent respectively since 2007. Suicide now represents nearly 60 percent of all firearm fatalities, accounting for 23,854 deaths in 2017.

Although gun violence is a nationwide issue, the firearm fatality rate varies widely by location. At the state level, certain Midwest and Southern states suffer firearm fatality rates that are 1.5 to two times the national average. Conversely, Northeast and West Coast states tend to experience lower levels of gun violence.

To find which individual states have the highest and lowest firearm fatality rates, researchers at U.S. Insurance Agents analyzed cause of death data from the CDC’s WONDER database. To make data comparable across states, all death rates are age-adjusted and expressed per 100,000 residents. Additionally, for each state, the researchers identified the 10-year change in firearm deaths, the most common cause of firearm death, the racial group with the highest firearm fatality rate, as well as the county with the highest firearm fatality rate.

The analysis found that Alabama has the 2nd highest gun fatality rate in the U.S. This is a summary of the data for Alabama:

  • Firearm death rate (age-adjusted): 22.9 per 100k
  • 10-year percent change: 32.4%
  • Total firearm deaths 2017: 1,124
  • Most common cause of firearm death: Suicide
  • Most impacted race/ethnicity: Black or African American
  • Most impacted county: Tie: Talladega County, Russell County (34.2 per 100k)

For reference, these are the statistics for the entire United States:

  • Firearm death rate (age-adjusted): 12.0 per 100k
  • 10-year percent change: 16.5%
  • Total firearm deaths 2017: 39,773
  • Most common cause of firearm death: Suicide
  • Most impacted race/ethnicity: Black or African American
  • Most impacted county: St. Louis city, MO*

These are the 10 states with the highest firearm death rates:

10 States with the Highest Firearm Death Rates:

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