States with higher gun ownership rates and weak gun laws report the highest rates of gun death, says the Washington, D.C.-based Violence Policy Center, citing recently released 2008 national data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The five states with the highest per capita gun death rates were Alaska, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Wyoming. Each of these states had a per capita gun death rate far exceeding the national rate of 10.38 per 100,000 for 2008.
Each state has lax gun laws and higher gun ownership rates, the center said. By contrast, states with strong gun laws and low rates of gun ownership had far lower rates of firearm-related death. Ranking last for gun death was Hawaii, followed by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York and New Jersey (tied).