States Where Gun Deaths Are Increasing Fastest

Incidents of deadly gun violence recently hit a historic high in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48,830 Americans were killed by firearms in 2021, equal to about one death every 11 minutes. Due to an annual 8.3% jump in firearms suicides and 7.6% increase in gun homicides, 2021 now ranks as the deadliest year for gun violence in U.S. history, breaking the previous record set in 2020.

Many experts attribute the rising firearm fatality rate to the proliferation of guns during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to analysis from the nonprofit gun violence tracking group The Trace, Americans bought nearly 60 million firearms between 2020 and 2022 – double the annual gun sale rate of 15 years ago. Additionally, 15 million Americans became gun owners for the first time during the pandemic. (This is how hard it is to buy a handgun in every state.)

While firearm death rates vary across the country, nearly every state reported an increase in gun deaths from 2019 to 2021. Using data from the CDC, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where firearm fatalities are increasing the fastest. States are ranked by the change in the number of firearm fatalities over the three-year period from 2019, the year before the pandemic, to 2021, the latest year of available data. 

New Hampshire and Nebraska were the only states to report a decrease in firearm deaths from 2019 to 2021, and in Massachusetts, the number of gun deaths did not change. Meanwhile, in every other state, the number of people killed by firearms increased by anywhere from 1.7% to nearly 70% over the same period. 

Notably, the states with the largest three-year increase in deadly gun violence are not necessarily those with the highest gun death rates. In New York, for example, firearm fatalities surged by 34% from 2019 to 2021. Still, New York’s 2021 firearm death rate of 5.4 fatalities for every 100,000 people is the fourth lowest of the 50 states. (These are the states where the most crime-guns are traced by the federal government.)

Click here to see states where gun deaths are increasing fastest.

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