10 states with the highest levels of gun violence

Published: Sunday, April 28 2013 11:30 p.m. MDT

States with the strictest and most lenient gun laws Next List » 11 of 11 « Prev

Also see the Deseret News' lists on the states with the strictest and most lenient gun laws.

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Oh My Heck!
Vernal, UT

Wow, with a couple of exceptions the states are pretty much in the southern part of the US. I would have thought New York or California, or other high crime places like Detroit might have been on the list. Not sure why this is.

Salt Lake City, UT

This list sure isn't populated by blue states.

Danbury, CT

Interestingly, the list is all the states that support and love the NRA. When will the GOP wake up and divorce themselves from this obnoxious, self-serving, money-grubbing, lobbyist, peddler of weapons? This is not about the 2nd amendment, folks. It's all about the money...

Moderate Thinking
Astana, Kazakhstan, 00

Very interesting. Surprisingly little overlap between this list and the other two lists (strictest and most lenient gun laws). None of the strict states appear, and only three of the lenient states are among the highest in terms of per-capita gun violence - Louisiana, Arizona, and Alaska.

I would be very interested to see what the contributing theory would be behind the other seven states - not to strict, not to lenient, yet higher in violence (Georgia, Arkansas, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama). Interesting that seven of the most violent states are in the South, only three in the West.

Danbury, CT

@Moderate Thinking,

If you take away the West Coast, which has stricter gun laws, you are only left with 7 states around the Rocky Mountains. That means almost half of the West is among the most violent states. Scary. CO is more strict since Aurora.

Owning a gun means someone you love is more likely to wind up a victim of gun violence.


I am originally from Louisiana. I love the place and it will always be considered my "home." My parents still live there and I visit every year. I graduated from LSU.

However, there is a reason I decided to raise my kids in Utah. Seeing Louisiana at at the top of that list does not surprise me at all. Sad to say, I don't see it getting any better.

Wayne Rout
El Paso, TX

There seems to be something in common with the demographics of those states. What could it be?

Farmington, UT

I can't speak for the other states, but having lived in Phoenix for 15 years I think I know why they are so high on the list: illegals/'coyotes' and Mexican drug cartels. A 'coyote' will bring in a dozen or so illegals, and another coyote (with some friends) will kidnap the entire group and hold them for ransom. All coyotes use guns. Occasionally a gun battle breaks out during the kidnapping. I bet all the victims are counted in these statistics.

The drug cartels are also involved in kidnapping and killing rivals. Phoenix is number 2 (behind Mexico City) in kidnappings in the WORLD.

orem, ut

You know what is really scary, people willing to give up their rights that the founders clearly laid out in black and white. Drunk drivers kill more people in America, but we don't get rid of cars and go completely to public transportation....I am a proud member of the NRA, I own 3 guns, and have owned guns since I was young. I am responsible, have my concealed carry permit, and lock up my guns. So tell me EastCoastCoug, how come non of my guns have ever killed anyone? It's really odd, because I keep getting told that my guns will eventually kill someone, but they just seem to lay around and not do that. Even when I carry at my job and there are lots of people around, it just won't shoot people....

I hate fish. I have tried fish several times, and I do not like fish. But guess what, I won't tell you not to eat the fish. Even though they are loaded with Mercury, and will kill you, if you want to eat fish, do so. Don't like guns, don't buy one. Leave me an my legally owned guns alone.

Cedar Hills, UT

Misleading article is misleading.
Once you factor out suicides, the list agenda largely falls apart. Ordered by gun murders, the list goes: Washington DC, Louisiana, Missouri, Maryland, South Carolina, Delaware, Michigan, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia. (according to Wikipedia) So it obviously isn't just a red state vs blue state thing.
Washington DC has extraordinary amounts of Gun Control, yet has more than 10 times the gun murder rate than Utah. CA has exceedingly strict gun laws, yet more than 4 times Utah's gun murder rate. New York has oppressive gun control laws yet more than 3 times Utah's gun murder rate. Massachusetts with its assault weapons ban has more than double Utah's gun murder rate.
I disregard suicides because the method used is largely irrelevant. The person committing suicide will use whatever is convenient at hand. In the absence of a firearm the person will use pills, engine exhaust, a rope, etc. Almost all the people who I've known that committed suicide did so with pills.

Beaverton, OR

This report is garbage. Data from this "non-partisan" and "progressive ideas" are contradictory terms. This data source cannot be trusted. Also, suicides must be excluded.



You make some very good points. Unfortunately, even by your metrics my home state of Louisiana, and South Carolina (where my sister lives) both still rank very high. I'm honestly surprised that SC does not rate higher. It is number 6 on the Deseret News list and number 5 on yours, but had someone asked me I would have guessed at number 2. I have traveled back and forth to Washington DC many times on business. I can honestly say I feel safer in DC than in many areas of Louisiana and South Carolina. I'm working on my sister trying to convince her she needs to move to Utah. She has two children and as I mentioned above Utah is a wonderful place to raise a family.

Danbury, CT


Your "Car Argument" has been oft-repeated and always refuted. Cars have many other purposes. Guns have only one. I need to register, pass a test and have a license to drive a car. Not so with guns (thanks to the aforementioned, $$-driven NRA). Congratulations on being a safe gun owner. Unfortunately, there are many who have access to guns that shouldn't and no way to restrict gun ownership. You people think everyone wants to take your guns away. We don't. We just wish you would be more sensible in regulation and registration of ownership as with all other potentially dangerous things out there. Like cars....

Tooele, UT

You mean Utah didn't even make the Top 10? Why not. After all, if what the gun control people say is true, that more guns means more murders, Utah should, at the very least, be in the Top Five.

Las Vegas, NV

Did the description in the Deseret News state the Center for American Progress is a "non-partisan" research institute? The Center for American Progress is a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization." (Wikipedia) The term "progressive public policy advocacy" means to promote "progressive politics." Progressive politics are synonymous with Marxism, Socialism, One World Government, Fabian Socialism, Eugenics and State-ism. Progressivism is clearly quite anti-American, anti-Bill of Rights, anti-constitutional law, anti-freedom. Progressive want a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT dictatorship. Please don't pretend this study has any validity whatsoever. As a former actuary I can completely discredit it by changing the measuring metrics to view crime rates in cities where "Gun Laws" and prohibitions infringing upon the 2nd Amendment are toughest.


@Tom in MS,

I believe I can clearly see where you think the problem stems from. I'd be fascinated to hear your solution to this problem. I'll bet you can sum it all up in 14 words.

Danbury, CT

@ Tom in MS,

Read the statistics. The vast majority of gun deaths are not street violence involving strangers. 80% of all deaths come from someone the victim knows: usually a jilted ex-husband or boyfriend, etc. Sure there is black on black violence, but that doesn't explain all of it.

I agree NRA members are not always the perps, but their stubborn insistence on free, unregistered access to guns by all - including the violent, mentally ill, etc. are what keeps guns so readily available to violent nut jobs and our death rate among the highest in the world (higher than Libya!). You said yourselves they solve their problems with guns rather than fists or knives (where fewer deaths would result). The NRA are the ones in La-La Land and it is driven by money!

Kaysville, UT

Could there be a correlation with poverty and lack of education?

Tom in MS
Madison, MS

Wow, you say the truth, what I see everyday, and everyone on here jumps down your throat! Don't think I'm naive. I grew up in California, in an extremely homogeneous area. I have lived in the south for six or seven years. How long have you lived in the south? Don't condemn what I say when you don't have the same experiences that I do. By the same token, I will respect your experience. I have seen differently than what you describe, and I spoke out about my experience and perspective. And by the way, I'm not a member of the NRA. But, don't be fooled by those who wish to encroach on the Second Amendment (or the First, Third, Fourth, or any of the others). You cannot change what the Constitution says by legislation or Executive Order. It will not pass Constitutional muster. Once the Supreme Court forgets that, we are in serious trouble as a country.

DN Subscriber 2

"Figures don't lie, but liars figure."

Consider the source, the progressive advocacy group, in cahoots with the hard core gun grabbers.

Consider the methodology- Cherry pick a list of factors and weight them to get the results you want, and then only highlight a select few in the media summary.

The biggest red herring is painting suicide as "gun violence."

HOw about someone doing some real research and running some correlations between actual gun violence perpetrators and some other factors. Like maybe- race, ethnicity, single parent or traditional family, illegal drug use, immigration status, heck, even throw in their party affiliation if they are registered voters.

Correlation is not causation, and these factors may or may not be any more causal than the factors cherry picked by the anti-gun activists.

By the way, how about a straight listing of criminal homicides by state compared to the "Brady Bunch" scores on having "good gun laws?"

Kaysville, UT

I agree that suicides need to be taken out of this so called un bias research. this test can be made to say what ever you want if you include and exlude enough facts. Utah is one of the most gun toting states around and has one of the lowest gun crimes/murders in the U.S. This article was written by a democrat for a democrat. complete nonsense.


Several people here have noted the need to pull suicides out of the list of criteria. If you notice Shane333's comment above, he did exactly that and showed a listing strictly by gun murders. I would like to see one with more info that just murders (ie. forcible rape, armed robbery, etc.). But Shane's list at least removes the suicide factor.

Eagle Mountain, UT

Washington DC, Louisiana, Missouri, Maryland, South Carolina, Delaware, Michigan, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia.

It would be better written "Washington DC, New Orleans, St. Louis-Kansas City, Baltimore, South Carolina, Spillover from Baltimore/Philly, Detroit, Spillover from New Orleans, Miami, Georgia.

The articles list would be almost the same with Phoenix added for AZ.

We can probably all agree that the problems are worst in the big cities. By that definition most big cities are dominated by Dem voters so if you want to point that finger then it is the anti NRA crowd that is causing all the gun violence.

However, when you ignore the politics a few well known truths are apparent - Crime is higher in warm cities, crime is higher in southern cities (border), crime is higher in big cities.

I am amazed that they could not find a way to get Dallas and Houston on their list.

Eagle Mountain, UT

Sorry, I meant Atlanta at the end of my list, not Georgia.


The real questions aren't being asked. Why are people killing one another? Wouldn't people just find another means to kill one another if they didn't have access to a gun?

I think it's more important to understand why violence is so high in the south than any other part of the country than to use this study to push your political agenda.

Orem, UT

I would say this list has a lot more to do with income levels than anything else. When you can't afford to put food on the table, you're more likely to be willing to kill to survive, I suppose. Probably a terrible assumption to make, but it seems like many lower-income states were on the list.

Salt Lake City, UT

Danbury, CT

Cars vs guns? You do realize that one is a privilege, one is a right? Know the difference? Besides, I do NOT need a license to own a car, or buy a car. It's only when I choose to drive it in public that I need a license. And have to pass a test. Same with a gun.

Provo, UT

Wow! Just what I've always known in my gut to be true--gun control doesn't work! Oh, wait, I guess that's NOT what this study says. Go figure.

orem, ut


LVIS is correct. The Constitution(law of the land) gives us the RIGHT to own firearms. And more specifically, any gun we want. If you want a Bazooka, you can have one(BTW, I don't know why you would need one, but it is your right) Driving is a privilege, and is not guaranteed. That is the fundamental difference. The Constitution is very clear on the right to own firearms. The RIGHT shall NOT be INFRINGED. It is my right to protect myself, and my family, from a predator, AND the GOVERNMENT.

BTW, I am a huge proponent of Education and firearms. My kids have all held guns and shot guns. They know what they are, what they can do, and how dangerous they are. They also know if they want to hold one, they can ask. They have no desire to find it, and play with it, thereby making sure the next generation in my family is well educated on firearm safety.


Fairfax, VA

Now repeat the "study" on a county level and see how the results suddenly paint a very different picture.
There are factors (mostly cultural) that have very strong correlation to violence. If you've lived in the world a bit, you know what they are.

Durham, NC

PP - your comments are very valid... except the biggest of the biggest cities - and states where these large cities dominate the overall state population... are under represented on this list.

For example... my neighbor state, South Carolina, has no big cities. None. It has no neighboring big cities unless you count Charlotte, NC. It just happens to have a very independent based populace... where the "rebel" attitude still lives strong. It is a state where only recently the rebel flag recently disappeared from state houses. This is in common with several other states on the list.

I don't mean this critically of these people, other than there is a larger segment of these populations per capita that have the attitude of settling issues themselves.... and deep sense of self reliance and independence. These are people who settle disputes themselves.

Doesn't explain it all... but it plays a factor. That and gun ownership/hunting is just part of life here. Democrat or Republican.... guns are owned by many.... and both sides defend the 2nd amendment equally.

Durham, NC

@technonerd.... what the heck does "The RIGHT shall NOT be INFRINGED. It is my right to protect myself, and my family, from a predator, AND the GOVERNMENT" mean?

What exactly are your going to protect your family from the GOVERNMENT from? A Sherif show up to your house... what are you going to do? Obama or someone like him gets elected... your going to do what? Your taxes go up.... you going to pull out your guns? What in the heck does this comment mean.

Under what circumstances are you prepared to move to violent means to protect yourself from the government?

I see this a lot.... ok... what triggers violent revolt..... ? What are you concerned about? Under what circumstances do you start using threat of physical violence against elected officials?

Aspen, CO

I, for one, find it fascinating how the anti-gun Center for American Progress names off some of the safest states in the union.

Alaska, they actually have Alaska listed. Tell me, exactly what street can a person not walk down at night in any city in Alaska? Is there even one? LOL

I can believe Georgia, there's a lot of unsavory areas where crime is rampant there, mostly out of the Democrat-run cities, of course.

New Mexico, another fairly safe state.

Oh yes, this study is unbiased and totally fair. California is not even listed, NY, IL aren't listed, and we know that NY and IL suffers from plagues of gun violence. They're always having issues of some kind of gun violence so often that it doesn't even make the news anymore unless it's some major catastrophe. DC is riddled with gun violence everywhere.

I really have to wonder how exactly they got their numbers.

Something tells me that the left needs us to believe gun violence is worse in states with less-strict gun-laws, and they're willing to pervert data-collection to do it.

Aspen, CO


The Founding Fathers didn't know when they needed to rise up against government either. The Germans didn't know when they needed to rise up against their government either, and as a result of their inability to mount a proper defense, they never did, and hundreds of thousands of people died in a horrifically blood war as a result. Oh, and Nuclear weapons came into play too . . . as a result of a people either unwilling or unable to defend themselves from their government.

All of Communism proved what happens when governments are not adequately opposed by their people. The Middle East even today proves how difficult it is to fight government, even when more people have access to proper weapons. Now, imagine they had none. Many of those leaders out there actually agree with Hitler on a lot, and they prove it.

We didn't know that Japan was about to raze the west coast. Thank God enough of us stil love Him because we should have lost the Pacific at Pearl Harbor. You think the military, the state militias would have been enough then?

Kill an army, then kill every household that owns a gun.

Aspen, CO


Also, it's not against elected officials.

Hugo Chavez, the great supporter of Obama won the last election too. So did Hitler and just about all the Communist regimes. They're all "elected" officials.

The Islamic regimes that are mere political terror networks, they're also often "elected" officials.

Indeed, all of the English Parliament were elected officials as they approved of the king mistreating and neglecting the U.S. colonies. However, they were actually elected, as far as we know.

Violence will be taken against the government that no longer has the authority to be government. That means a government that over-steps it's bounds, that violates their legal place, that seeks to take those unalienable rights to which they have no ownership or power to dictate.

You on the left are okay with government taking your rights, indeed, you cannot volunteer to give them to government fast enough. However, us on the right still believe in the foundational ideals of this nation. We do not want to live in the dictatorship you liberals clamor over anyone who gets in your way for.

Aspen, CO

LOLOLOLOL, non-partisan. I can't believe that they think that the common left is so bereft of critical thought, so easily brainwashed that they can claim non-partisanship and still have this line on their front page in the "about" under "act."

And I quote,
"Challenge conservative misinformation with the facts."

Yeah, they're non-partisan alright. Non-partisan in the fact that they believe that anyone can only ever believe the liberal view.

Fascists in Nazi Germany thought the same thing, only they called themselves what they were, fascists. At least Nazi's didn't pretend to be all liberal about freedom.

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