New data from the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control shows that Louisiana ranks fifth in the nation among states with the highest per capita gun death rates in 2018. The states with the highest rates are Mississippi, Alabama, Wyoming, Missouri followed by the Bayou State. Violence Policy Center Legislative Director Kristen Rand explains what these states have in common.

“Well the states with the highest rates all share very weak gun violence prevention laws and high rates of household gun ownership,” said Rand.

Rand says there are several studies that show a correlation between areas that have stronger gun violence prevention laws and lower rates of gun deaths. Also, a key factor is lower exposure to firearms as represented by household gun ownership in having lower death rates.

“With respect to Louisiana, what we’re seeing with the trend there is very concerning in that your rate has been steadily climbing since 2009,” said Rand.

The nationwide average for gun deaths is 12 per 100-thousand, in Louisiana the death rate is 21 per 100-thousand, significantly above the national average. Rand says Louisiana needs to be proactive.

“I think it’s very important for your state to at least make an effort to start studying what’s going on, both with your homicide and suicide and firearm death rates,” said Rand.

Gun death rates include all deaths involving a firearm.