From murders to suicides, Arizona is consistently among the most deadly states in the nation for gun violence, say federal records reported by the Arizona Republic. Over a nine-year span, the state's rate of gun deaths of all types ranked seventh in the United States and sixth for gun-involved slayings, finds an analysis of death reports compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rankings are based on data from 1999 to 2007, the most recent statistics available.
The rate of deaths specifically tied to guns surprises national experts. Crime-victimization patterns that measure factors such as age and racial demographics suggest that Arizona would figure to be among the states with a lower risk for violent crime. “That's much higher than I would expect the state to be,” said Franklin Zimring, a law professor at the University of California-Berkeley who studies demographic factors in crime. “The demographic-risk profile should keep Arizona lower. It's higher than expected. Now, the question is: Why?”