These are the states with the most gun violence
After the recent mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, President Barack Obama made a statement from the White House, rattling off the names of other communities where similar gun violence has occurred. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Ft. Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Navy Yard, Isla Vista, Charleston and now Roseburg – all have become familiar touchstones in America's complex relationship with guns, violence and regulations.
As he has done previously, Obama asserted that the Roseburg shootings meant Congress and state governments need to reexamine laws that deal with gun safety and background checks. Using data from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign, InsideGov looked at how gun laws differ by state.
The two groups, which both advocate for more effective gun laws, rate states on a scale of 0 to 100 according to how stringent their firearm laws are, with 0 being not strict and 100 being the strictest.
In the above graph, points that are higher up along the Y axis indicate more gun deaths, and points further to the right along the X axis indicate stricter gun laws. The data confirms that, on the whole, stricter gun laws do result in fewer gun deaths.
But some cases run counter to the overall trend. Take California, for example, which sports the highest gun law score at 89. The Golden State has 7.9 deaths per 100,000 – the eighth-lowest in the country. But when consulting an L.A. Times list of the deadliest mass shootings in the U.S., the most instances occurred in California. Nine mass shootings have taken place in California since 1984 (Texas comes in second, with four occurrences).
Although California is among the largest and most populated states, the total number of mass shootings there is an outlier. For example, California's population is almost two times that of Florida, but Florida has been the site of only one mass shooting in the last 34 years.
While an overall look at the data suggests that stricter gun laws mean fewer gun-related deaths, exceptions like the number of mass shootings in California are important to note. Perhaps more than anything, the California exception shows just how complicated a topic this is for Americans – and shows why finding consensus on appropriate gun legislation continues to be a challenge.
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