Guns in the U.S.: 20 Years of State & Federal Data Gun & Firearm Statistics & Trends, 2000-2020

By: SafeHome.org Research Published: December 7, 2020

Firearms are central to any discussion around safe homes, public safety and personal protection. SafeHome.org’s research team has compiled and analyzed state and federal data on firearms from 2000 to 2020. Where possible, we have presented both national and state-level statistics.

Sections:

Where this data comes from:

Data sources are cited throughout the report, and include:

FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System, NICS Firearm Checks, Month/Year by State, U.S. Census Bureau population by single year of age, 2000-09 and 2010-2019, Gallup, Guns to Carry, Giffords Law Center, Rand Corporation, Centers for Disease Control, FBI UCR Crime Reports, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, The Violence Project, EdWeek, K-12 School Shooting Database, and the Washington Post.

If you would you like more information:

If you are researching this topic, and would like additional information, feel free to reach out to us and we will connect you with our research team. 

Further SafeHome Research:

Gun Ownership and Perception of Safety

Residential Crime Trends During COVID-19

Gun Sales Estimates
Projections Indicate Sales Up by 30 Percent

As we cover in our section on background checks, the number of guns actually purchased differs from the number of checks processed through NICS, so it’s not fair to say that the 31 million NICS checks requested equates on a one-to-one basis with the number of guns purchased.

There are a number of reasons for this discrepancy. For one, not everyone who submits to a federal background check will end up purchasing a gun. Many will not purchase a gun at all, while many others will purchase more than one gun. Also, in many states, private sellers are not required to conduct background checks on those wanting to purchase firearms.

However, a formula that’s widely accepted in the industry can help us estimate the number of gun purchases made through federally licensed firearms dealers. This formula takes the number of background checks for handguns and long guns, adds double the number of multiple background checks, which is a check for at least one handgun and one long gun, and then multiplies the result by 1.05.

Using this formula, more than 18 million firearms were purchased in the U.S. through the first 10 months of 2020, breaking the record set in 2016 — with the holiday shopping season still ahead. All told, the past 20 years have seen upwards of 237 million firearms purchased through federally licensed gun dealers. Our analysis further indicates that by the time the year is out, more than 19 million guns will have been purchased, an increase of more than 40 percent from 2019. 

Source: FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System, NICS Firearm Checks, Month/Year by State

Note: Totals exclude U.S. territories but include the District of Columbia; Hawaii is included in totals, but data from the state is limited because of how checks are reported by state officials to the FBI. Also, November 2020, December 2020 and 2020 annual totals are based on projections using the past five years of data, including background checks and population figures. Per-capita calculations use annual totals of adults 21 and older, and the 2020 figure is a projection based on the past five years of Census population data.

Gun Sales in Your State

Annual firearms sales have more than doubled in the U.S. overall since 2000, using the formula we’ve established. In 2000, our analysis shows that about 7.5 million firearms were purchased through federally licensed dealers, and if past years’ trends hold, that means 2020’s annual sales will represent a 158 percent increase.

Source: FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System, NICS Firearm Checks, Month/Year by State, U.S. Census Bureau population by single year of age, 2000-09 and 2010-2019

Note: This table excludes U.S. territories and Hawaii from national totals and per-capita estimates of gun sales. Also, November 2020, December 2020 and 2020 annual totals are based on projections using the past five years of data, including background checks and population figures. Per-capita calculations use annual totals of adults 21 and older, and the 2020 figure is a projection based on the past five years of Census population data.

Total Sales

For 2020, no state has had more firearms sales than Texas, though Florida isn’t far behind. Our analysis finds those two states will combine to account for just over 3 million firearms sales. One other state, California, should break 1 million, putting the state in third place nationally.

On the other end of the spectrum, the District of Columbia has by far the lowest number of firearms sales, though that’s not surprising, given the district’s gun restrictions. Several other states are on pace for fewer than 100,000 gun sales this year, and those are mostly low-population states. However, these figures don’t necessarily mean gun ownership is low in these places. Additionally, variations in gun laws mean that many private purchases don’t require background checks, so actual gun sales may be higher in places like Iowa and Nebraska than at first glance.

We’ve also excluded Hawaii entirely from this analysis based on the way the state reports background checks to the FBI’s system. Excluding Hawaii and U.S. territories, the average state looks to have just over 380,000 firearms sales based on numbers through the end of October.

Per Capita

Looking at total projected sales tells only part of the picture because of differences in population. California, Texas and Florida are the top three states by population and by estimated projected firearms sales in 2020, though not in the same order. 

After adjusting for differences in population, though, things change dramatically. Wyoming, which ranks 43rd nationally for total projected firearms sales in 2020, moves into the top spot based on sales per adult 21 and older. The second-ranked state, Montana, comes in at No. 37 for total projected gun sales this year.

And those top-ranked states by the raw sales figures? Texas moves from No. 1 to No. 35, while Florida drops from No. 2 to No. 30. D.C. once again has the lowest per-capita gun sales figure.

Trends

We mentioned earlier than annual firearms sales appear to have more than doubled since 2000 in the U.S., and this number has also risen in every state for which we have available data (again, this excludes Hawaii).

Several states have seen enormous growth in the number of annual firearms sales through federally licensed dealers — so large, in fact, that we had to put our thumb on the scales to produce a result that would even fit in a chart. 

In the District of Columbia, for example, annual gun sales have risen more than 900 percent since 2006, and if we were to include the increase between 2000 and 2020, it would be more in the 16,000 percent range. But for the figures we’re reporting here, we’ve set D.C.’s first year as 2006, which was after a series of court rulings and the first year when NICS checks began to rise rapidly in the district.

Similarly, legal changes in Connecticut preceded a huge increase in NICS checks, and thus gun sales, between 2000 and 2001, so Connecticut’s growth rate (287 percent) is based on data starting in 2001.

The majority of states have seen triple-digit increases in the number of annual gun sales over the past two decades, though not every state has had such a dramatic rise in firearms sales. In Iowa and Nebraska, for example, gun sales rose between 2000 and 2020, but by just about 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively. And both states saw their per-capita gun sales rate fall in that time, making them the only two states with a decline in that figure since 2000.

Exactly half the states have seen their most active sales months for firearms in 2020 — 16 of them in March, presumably in connection with the early stages of coronavirus lockdowns and widespread panic. Other months in which multiple states saw their gun sales peak include December 2012, the month of the Sandy Hook shooting, and December 2015, the month of the San Bernardino shooting. Another 16 states posted their single-month firearm sales peak in December 2012, while six had their biggest single months in December 2015. And 2020 is on pace to be a record year for gun sales in 39 states, with many states likely already there based on year-to-date background check figures. 

State-by-State Analysis

Alabama

2020 Projected Total Sales: 619,304 (9th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.171 (3rd)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 162% (24th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 126% (19th)

Alabama ranks in the top 10 for gun sales, both in overall figures and after adjusting for population. The state is projected to report more than 600,000 firearms sales this year, which would be a record in Alabama. Its previous high came in 2015 when we estimate Alabama saw just over 517,000 gun sales. Interestingly, Alabama’s gun sales levels had fallen in 2017 and 2018 to levels not seen since the start of the century.

Alaska

2020 Projected Total Sales: 85,523 (42nd)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.168 (4th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 99% (39th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 61% (40th)

Alaska ranks fourth overall in projected per capita gun sales, which is notable for a low-population state. It’s also reported positive but not extreme growth in gun sales over the past 20 years. While 2020 looks to be an increase over 2019 in Alaska gun sales, the state’s record came in 2013, and this year is expected to fall well short of that mark.

Arizona

2020 Projected Total Sales: 550,281 (13th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.101 (27th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 285% (9th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 152% (17th)

Arizona’s 2020 gun sales are projected to be well above the average state, and it’s posted the ninth-largest increase in total sales since 2000, as sales have risen by nearly 300 percent in the state. If trends hold or sales speed up, Arizona’s total sales figure by the end of 2020 will represent a 64 percent increase over 2016, the state’s previous record year.

Arkansas

2020 Projected Total Sales:255,403 (27th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.116 (19th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 47% (48th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 25% (46th)

Like the majority of other states, Arkansas is expected to have a record year for gun sales, with 2020 likely to surpass the state’s previous record in 2013. Total sales this year in Arkansas should be just below the average state, while per capita sales are slightly above average, and increases over the past couple of decades are near the lowest.

California

2020 Projected Total Sales:1,099,345 (3rd)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.038 (43rd)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 66% (45th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 32% (45th)

The most populous state in the country, California ranks third for overall gun sales, but it comes in near the bottom of the list after adjusting for its large population. While 2020 looks to represent a clear increase over the past few years of gun sales (about a 42 percent increase over 2019), California’s record year for gun sales came in 2016, and the state has posted relatively modest increases in total and per capita gun sales since 2000.

Colorado

2020 Projected Total Sales: 548,598 (14th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.127 (15th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 64% (46th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 15% (48th)

This is likely already a record year for gun sales in Colorado, and if trends hold, 2020 will represent an increase of about 14 percent over the previous record set in 2016. Colorado ranks in the top 15 for both total projected gun sales and per capita sales, though growth in these numbers has been relatively low, putting the state near the bottom in both metrics.

Connecticut

2020 Projected Total Sales: 95,530 (41st)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.036 (44th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change*: 287% (8th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change*: 254% (6th)

Legal changes early in this century seem to have had major effects on the popularity of gun buying in Connecticut, but the state remains near the bottom of the list when it comes to both total and per capita gun sales this year. And 2020 does not look to be a record year for gun sales in Connecticut; the state’s high-water mark was set in 2015. That said, Connecticut has had huge increases since

* Because of legal changes, the growth rates reported for Connecticut are from 2001-2020.

Delaware

2020 Projected Total Sales: 68,114 (45th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.092 (29th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 319% (6th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 215% (9th)

Our estimates show 2020 has already been a record year for gun sales in Delaware, with the next-closest year (2016), nearly 30 percent below the projected number of sales through the end of this year. That said, per capita sales are relatively low in Delaware, though the state’s increases in both total and per capita sales over the past 20 years rank in the top 10.

District of Columbia

2020 Projected Total Sales: 2,893 (50th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.005 (50th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change*: 985% (1st)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change*: 755% (1st)

Strict gun laws in the District of Columbia mean the city ranks at the very bottom of the list (excluding Hawaii) for both total sales and population-adjusted sales. However, 2020 is on pace to be a record year for firearms sales in the district, and if trends hold, sales will nearly double over the 2019 figures, which is in keeping with the major increases in gun sales D.C. has had since 2000.

* Because of legal changes, the growth rates reported for D.C. are from 2006-2020.

Florida

2020 Projected Total Sales: 1,489,420 (2nd)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.089 (30th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 457% (2nd)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 292% (4th)

Florida is expected to have the second-highest overall number of firearms sales in 2020, and the state ranks in the top five for increase in overall sales as well as the rise in per capita sales. However, Florida ranks in the bottom half for 2020’s projected per capita sales rate despite the fact that 2020 is expected to be a record year for gun sales in Florida.

Georgia

2020 Projected Total Sales: 580,538 (12th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.075 (38th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 152% (26th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 85% (33rd)

Georgia ranks just outside the top 10 for the projected number of firearms sales in 2020, though it ranks near the bottom after adjusting for population differences. This is expected to be a record year for gun purchases in Georgia, with sales projected to be about 40 percent higher than the previous record recorded in 2016. This tracks with increases in sales since 2000, and if trends hold, this year will represent a one-year increase of nearly 75 percent.

Hawaii

2020 Projected Total Sales: 22 (NR)

2019-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: -46% (NR)

For the majority of the past 20 years, Hawaii has not reported adequate data to the FBI’s NICS database for us to reliably estimate the number or rate of gun sales in the state. That said, using the available data, Hawaii does look to be on pace for a 46 percent decline in firearms sales between 2019 and 2020. But in most of the past 20 years, the state hasn’t reported adequate information to make estimates, so we’re not including Hawaii in our rankings.

Idaho

2020 Projected Total Sales: 189,514 (30th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.147 (8th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 165% (23rd)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 78% (36th)

Given Idaho’s low population, the state ranks in the bottom half for total gun sales expected this year, but after adjusting for the number of people who live there, Idaho jumps into the top 10. This is expected to be a record year for gun sales in Idaho, beating the high-water mark set in 2019 by almost 50 percent.

Illinois

2020 Projected Total Sales: 529,840 (15th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.057 (40th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 225% (17th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 200% (12th)

Gun sales had been trending downward in Illinois for several years, and while 2020 isn’t on track to be a record year (Illinois’ record for gun sales was in 2016), 2020 looks to be the second-highest year for firearms sales in Illinois. The state ranks 15th for total gun sales, but after factoring for its large population, Illinois falls to No. 40, though sales have climbed dramatically over the past two decades.

Indiana

2020 Projected Total Sales: 585,896 (11th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.119 (18th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 385% (3rd)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 318% (3rd)

Gun sales in Indiana are expected to be high in 2020, with the state ranking just outside the top 10 for overall sales and near the top quarter after adjusting for population. Projections indicate Indiana will post a record year for gun sales, as 2020 is on track to beat the 2016 number by about 15 percent, and Indiana ranks third for its increase in both total sales and per capita sales.

Iowa

2020 Projected Total Sales: 46,344 (48th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.020 (49th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 4% (49th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: -7% (49th)

Iowa is projected to have a one-year increase in total gun sales of nearly 40 percent, but 2020’s sales figure is well off the pace of the state’s record year of 2012. Iowa ranks near the bottom in all gun sales-related metrics, and sales had been trending lower since 2016, though the state hasn’t seen the wild swings that many others have, maintaining similar sales levels for the past 20 years.

Kansas

2020 Projected Total Sales: 215,669 (29th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.104 (25th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 108% (36th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 86% (29th)

Kansas ranks in the bottom half for all four of our gun sales metrics, but 2020 is on pace to be a record gun sales year in the state with a one-year increase of about 40 percent over 2019. The state’s previous record was in 2012, and 2020 looks to be a modest increase of about 5 percent over that rate.

Kentucky

2020 Projected Total Sales: 416,643 (18th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.127 (14th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 69% (43rd)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 48% (43rd)

Kentucky’s projected total firearms sales this year are above the state average, and the commonwealth jumps into the top 15 after adjusting for population. This year is on pace to break Kentucky’s previous record year (2013) by about 26 percent, and the commonwealth is expected to have a one-year increase of nearly 50 percent over 2019.

Louisiana

2020 Projected Total Sales: 373,652 (22nd)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.110 (23rd)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 101% (38th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 80% (34th)

Louisiana ranks near or in the bottom half of all four metrics, but 2020 does appear to be a record year for gun sales in the state with a one-year increase projected of nearly 40 percent. That said, 2020 is expected to just barely surpass the previous record year of 2013, an increase of just over three percent.

Maine

2020 Projected Total Sales: 120,285 (38th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.114 (20th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 151% (27th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 121% (21st)

This is on pace to be a record year for gun sales in Maine, with the state posting a one-year increase since 2019 of more than 38 percent. The state’s previous record sales year was 2013, and 2020 is on pace to beat that by about 10 percent. Maine ranks near the bottom in total sales but jumps into the top half of the country after adjusting for population differences.

Maryland

2020 Projected Total Sales: 187,154 (31st)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.042 (42nd)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 268% (11th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 208% (11th)

Maryland ranks near the bottom both in total sales and population-adjusted sales, but it’s seen some of the largest increases in gun sales over the past 20 years. Still, 2020 is not expected to be a record year for gun sales in Maryland, with 2013 continuing to stand out by a wide margin, though a one-year increase of more than 65 percent is projected.

Massachusetts

2020 Projected Total Sales: 118,196 (39th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.022 (47th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 341% (5th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 285% (5th)

Massachusetts ranks in the bottom quarter of states for total and per capita gun sales in 2020, but the commonwealth has seen massive increases in these numbers since 2000, ranking in the top five for both figures. The record year for gun sales in Massachusetts was 2016, and this year isn’t projected to break that record, though it should represent about a 32 percent increase over 2019.

Michigan

2020 Projected Total Sales: 650,382 (8th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.087 (32nd)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 247% (13th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 221% (8th)

Total gun sales in Michigan in 2020 are expected to be high enough to put the state in the top 10, though it falls into the bottom half after adjusting for population differences. Michigan has seen gun sales rise by higher-than-average rates, and the state ranks in the top 10 for its increase in per capita gun sales, while 2020 looks to be about twice as high as any other year for total firearms sales.

Minnesota

2020 Projected Total Sales: 342,599 (24th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.082 (34th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 113% (35th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 75% (37th)

Minnesota’s total projected gun sales for this year are just under the national average, but the state ranks in the bottom half after adjusting for population differences. While sales have risen over the past 20 years, the rates of increase are both near the bottom when compared to all other states. But 2020 is expected to be a record year for firearms sales in Minnesota, beating the previous record posted in 2016 by just over 10 percent.

Mississippi

2020 Projected Total Sales: 324,425 (26th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.151 (7th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 86% (41st)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 67% (38th)

Total gun sales in Mississippi for 2020 are projected to come in just below the national average, but the state vaults into the top 10 after adjusting for population. Firearms sales in Mississippi had remained relatively steady for the first 12 years of the century, rising rapidly in 2012 and sticking near that level for the next seven years. But 2020 is on pace to set a record for firearms sales in Mississippi, beating the previous record (2016) by nearly 25 percent.

Missouri

2020 Projected Total Sales: 607,549 (10th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.134 (10th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 200% (18th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 159% (16th)

Missouri ranks in the top 10 both for total firearms sales projected in 2020 and the population-adjusted rate of sales. The state is also in the top half nationally when it comes to changes in these numbers since 2000, while 2020 is expected to set a new record for firearms sales in Missouri. The previous record year was 2016, and 2020 looks to beat that rate by just over seven percent.

Montana

2020 Projected Total Sales: 137,723 (37th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.171 (2nd)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 81% (42nd)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 42% (44th)

Montana is the No. 2 state for population-adjusted rates of firearms sales, though it ranks near the bottom in total sales. This is expected to be a record year for gun sales in Montana, though it’s not projected to be considerably higher than the previous record of 2012 (a difference of about five percent). Total sales had fallen in Montana every year between 2016 and 2019, and 2020 sales are expected to represent a one-year increase of nearly 30 percent.

Nebraska

2020 Projected Total Sales: 32,074 (49th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.023 (46th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 3% (50th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: -12% (50th)

Estimated gun sales in Nebraska have maintained a remarkably consistent rate over the past 20 years, and the state ranks near the bottom in both total projected sales and population-adjusted purchases from federally licensed firearms dealers. While 2020 sales are on track to represent a 30 percent increase from 2019, the state is not expected to break its single-year record, which was posted in 2012, and since 2000, total sales have fallen slightly.

Nevada

2020 Projected Total Sales: 177,481 (33rd)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.076 (37th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 230% (16th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 103% (27th)

Nevada ranks near the bottom of the list both for projected total sales and population-adjusted firearms sales. While the state has seen the number and rate of gun purchases grow since 2000, it ranks near the middle compared to all states. But 2020 is on pace to set a clear record, beating the previous record set in 2012 by more than 30 percent.

New Hampshire

2020 Projected Total Sales: 140,806 (36th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.133 (11th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 238% (15th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 181% (15th)

New Hampshire ranks near the bottom nationally in the absolute number of firearms purchases, but after adjusting for population, the state leaps into the top 12. It also ranks in the top quarter for the projected change since 2000 of total and population-adjusted gun sales. This year is expected to be a record-breaker for firearm purchases in New Hampshire, with projections indicating the state will end the year with about 17 percent more sales than in 2016.

New Jersey

2020 Projected Total Sales: 148,106 (35th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.022 (48th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 275% (10th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 241% (7th)

New Jersey ranks near the bottom when it comes to total and population-adjusted firearms sales, but the state has seen both figures rise rapidly over the past 20 years. In fact, New Jersey ranks in the top 10 in both of those measures, and 2020 is well ahead of the pace needed to become the biggest single year for gun sales in the state. The previous high, recorded in 2016, is about 18 percent what’s projected through the end of 2020.

New Mexico

2020 Projected Total Sales: 183,820 (32nd)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.120 (17th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 104% (37th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 64% (39th)

While New Mexico ranks toward the bottom of the country when it comes to total projected gun sales, it rises to the middle of the pack after adjusting for population differences. Annual gun sales had risen steadily over the first part of this century, but a major increase in 2012 set a new typical range for gun sales in New Mexico. And 2020 looks to be on pace to set another new range, as sales for 2020 should finish about 18 percent higher than the previous record in 2016.

New York

2020 Projected Total Sales: 391,438 (21st)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.027 (45th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 240% (14th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 213% (10th)

New York’s total projected firearms sales for 2020 are just above the national average, but after adjusting for the state’s high population, New York falls to near the bottom of the nation. The past four years had seen steady declines in total firearms sales in New York, but 2020 is expected to beat the previous record year of 2016, though the increase is expected to be only a handful of percentage points. Still, New York’s increase in gun sales is clear, with the state ranking in the top 10 both in total sales and population-adjusted sales rates.

North Carolina

2020 Projected Total Sales: 332,405 (25th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.043 (41st)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 68% (44th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 24% (47th)

North Carolina ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to total projected firearms sales, but the state drops to near the bottom when factoring for population. Sales had been relatively steady before a big jump in 2012, but after rising for a few years, sales had been slowly declining in North Carolina. The state is expected to set a gun sales record in 2020, or about 17 percent over the previous record set in 2013.

North Dakota

2020 Projected Total Sales: 72,412 (44th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.132 (13th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 128% (34th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 86% (30th)

Total gun sales in North Dakota in 2020 put the state in the bottom quarter, but adjusting for population, North Dakota ranks just outside the top 10. Sales remained quite steady for most of the past 20 years before surging in 2012. Recent years saw the state return to pre-2012 levels, and while 2020 is not expected to be a record year (that mark was set in 2013 in North Dakota), sales this year are on pace to have a one-year rise of nearly 25 percent.

Ohio

2020 Projected Total Sales: 746,118 (5th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.086 (33rd)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 154% (25th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 134% (18th)

Ohio, the seventh most populous state, ranks fifth for projected firearms sales in 2020, but on a per capita basis, Ohio is well below average. This is projected to be a record year for gun purchases in Ohio, though the number is just over a percentage point over the previous record year, 2016. But 2020 does represent a huge jump over 2019, with sales projected to rise by about 46 percent.

Oklahoma

2020 Projected Total Sales: 407,824 (20th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.143 (9th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 142% (31st)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 104% (26th)

Oklahoma is projected to come in 20th nationally for total firearms sales in 2020, but it should rank in the top 10 after adjusting for population differences. Annual sales figures had been relatively steady in Oklahoma for the first part of the 21st century, but sales rose rapidly in 2012 and have remained near that level for most of the past decade. While 2020 is expected to break gun sales records in Oklahoma, the year should be only a few percentage points more active for gun sales than the previous record year of 2016.

Oregon

2020 Projected Total Sales: 410,113 (19th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.126 (16th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 184% (20th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 113% (24th)

Firearms sales in Oregon in 2020 are projected to be above average, and the state ranks in the top half when it comes to the population-adjusted rate of sales. Firearms sales have been on a consistent upward trend in Oregon, with a big jump in 2012. Since then, gun purchases have remained at a relatively consistent level, though 2020 is expected to set new records for Oregon gun sales, with a one-year increase of nearly 35 percent projected.

Pennsylvania

2020 Projected Total Sales: 999,790 (4th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.103 (26th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 96% (40th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 79% (35th)

Projections place Pennsylvania at No. 4 for firearms sales in 2020, which isn’t surprising, considering Pennsylvania is the sixth most populous state. The commonwealth drops to the middle of the pack after factoring for population differences, though, and the total increase in sales since 2000 are among the slowest in the country. That said, projections for 2020 would set a new record and would mean a 34 percent one-year change since 2019.

Rhode Island

2020 Projected Total Sales: 49,627 (47th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.062 (39th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 355% (4th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 325% (2nd)

While Rhode Island ranks near the bottom of the country for how 2020 is shaping up when it comes to firearms sales, the state has had some of the biggest increases since 2000, ranking second for change in per capita sales since 2000. Gun sales in Rhode Island were relatively steady through 2012, when they rose by just over 40 percent, and the state’s remained largely at that level ever since. But projections show that 2020 will smash gun sales records in Rhode Island, with a single-year increase of nearly 90 percent over 2019 levels.

South Carolina

2020 Projected Total Sales: 367,761 (23rd)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.095 (28th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 186% (19th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 109% (25th)

Total gun sales had risen steadily in South Carolina over the first part of the 21st century before surging in 2012, and today, the state is expected to have total sales that are about average when compared to all states. This year is projected to set a new gun sales record in South Carolina after a one-year increase of about 55 percent over 2019. The previous record, set in 2016, represents a nearly 40 percent change.

South Dakota

2020 Projected Total Sales: 96,134 (40th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.151 (6th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 147% (29th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 101% (28th)

Though it ranks near the bottom of the country for total projected gun sales in 2020, South Dakota vaults into the top 10 after adjusting for population differences. As in most states, total and population-adjusted gun sales have risen, though growth in South Dakota puts the state in the bottom half of the country, and 2020 does not look to be a record year for sales.

Tennessee

2020 Projected Total Sales: 678,833 (7th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.133 (12th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 172% (22nd)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 116% (22nd)

Tennessee ranks in the top 15 both for total and population-adjusted sales, though the increase in these rates since 2000 is solidly in the middle of the pack. Still, 2020 looks to be a record year for gun sales in Tennessee, reflecting a 37 percent increase since 2019 and a 17 percent jump over the previous record, set in 2016.

Texas

2020 Projected Total Sales: 1,702,474 (1st)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.082 (35th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 172% (21st)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 85% (32nd)

Texas is the top overall state for gun sales, but after adjusting for population differences, it falls into the bottom half. Additionally, while sales have risen in Texas since 2000, the changes haven’t put the state among the national leaders. This year is on pace to break records in Texas, with a 44 percent increase since just 2019 and an increase of about 20 percent over the previous record, set in 2013.

Utah

2020 Projected Total Sales: 172,131 (34th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.079 (36th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 141% (32nd)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 54% (42nd)

Utah ranks near the bottom for both total and per capita gun sales, and while these numbers have risen since 2000, Utah isn’t among the states with the largest increases. Sales had been relatively steady before a big jump in 2012, and 2020 is on pace for a one-year increase of almost 75 percent, which would be one of the biggest increases in the country. If projections hold, 2020 will easily break the previous record set in 2016 — by about a 44 percent margin.

Vermont

2020 Projected Total Sales: 53,644 (46th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.112 (22nd)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 150% (28th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 126% (20th)

Vermont ranks near the bottom nationally in total gun sales projected for 2020, though the state rises to the middle of the pack when adjusting for population. Like most states, Vermont has seen high positive growth in sales since 2000, but increases in Vermont aren’t among national leaders. Still, 2020 is expected to break gun sales records in Vermont, with a projected one-year increase of 46 percent, and 2020’s gun sales projections are about 26 percent higher than the previous record year of 2018.

Virginia

2020 Projected Total Sales: 710,812 (6th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.113 (21st)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 256% (12th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 187% (14th)

Virginia ranks sixth in total gun sales, according to our projections for 2020, which isn’t terribly surprising given the commonwealth’s position as the 12th most populous state. But Virginia falls to the middle of the pack after adjusting for population differences. Still, Virginia is among the national leaders for its increase in gun sales since 2000, and 2020 would be a record year for firearms sales if projections hold. In fact, gun sales are on pace to rise by 33 percent in Virginia over the previous annual record, set in 2016.

Washington

2020 Projected Total Sales: 504,494 (16th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.088 (31st)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 315% (7th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 199% (13th)

Washington is expected to have above-average total gun sales in 2020, though the state drops to well below average when adjusting for population differences. Still, gun sales have risen considerably in Washington, enough to put the state in the top 15 for both growth metrics we projected. This year is expected to be a record for gun sales in Washington, representing a modest 12 percent increase over the previous record year of 2016.

West Virginia

2020 Projected Total Sales: 219,997 (28th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.162 (5th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 61% (47th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 57% (41st)

West Virginia is on track to have a below-average number of total gun sales in 2020, but the state vaults into the top five after adjusting for population differences. Gun sales rose steadily for the first few years of this century in West Virginia before a major single-year increase in 2012, and sales remained near that level for the next several years before falling in each of the past four years. Projections indicate that 2020 will not be a record year for gun sales in West Virginia (that’s a distinction held by 2013), though 2020’s figure is expected to be about a 20 percent increase over 2019.

Wisconsin

2020 Projected Total Sales: 467,728 (17th)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.108 (24th)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 147% (30th)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 114% (23rd)

Wisconsin is expected to have an above-average number of firearms sales this year, though the state will slide several places after adjusting for population differences. Gun sales have increased in Wisconsin since 2000, though the increases aren’t among the highest in the nation. Wisconsin’s gun sales levels rose steadily before a huge single-year increase in 2012, and sales have remained largely at that level since then. It’s projected that 2020 will be a record year for gun sales in Wisconsin, with an expected 42 percent single-year increase over 2019 and an increase of 26 percent over the previous record year (2016).

Wyoming

2020 Projected Total Sales: 76,976 (43rd)

2020 Projected Per Capita Sales: 0.183 (1st)

2000-2020 Projected Total Sales Change: 128% (33rd)

2000-2020 Projected Per Capita Sales Change: 85% (31st)

Wyoming ranks near the bottom in absolute projected firearms sales but vaults to first place in the country after factoring for population differences. The state has recorded positive growth in gun sales since 2000, but it still ranks among the bottom half in those metrics. Gun sales in Wyoming climbed steadily for the first decade or so of this century before a dramatic increase in 2012, and they’ve been near or below that level since then. But 2020 is projected to set a new gun sales record in Wyoming, representing a single-year increase of about 34 percent and an increase of about 14 percent over the record set in 2013.

Background Checks
2020 Already Record Year for Gun Background Checks

While it’s not a one-to-one comparison, data on federal background checks requested for gun purchases can provide a window into consumer demand for firearms. So far, 2020 looks to be a banner year for gun purchases, according to data from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Nearly 4 million background checks were requested from NICS in June 2020, about 200,000 more than any other month on record. The next closest month? March 2020. Through October, more than 31 million NICS requests were processed, already a record number.

Eight of the 10 months over the past 20 years with the highest number of checks requested from the NICS have occurred this year. The top three months and four of the top five months are from 2020.

Source: FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System, NICS Firearm Checks, Month/Year by State

Note: Totals exclude U.S. territories but include the District of Columbia

What Impacts Background Checks?

While 2020 has already seen record-breaking numbers of gun background checks, it’s long been shown that major mass shootings and news events that dominate headlines are tied to increases in these checks.

For example, December 2015 ranks No. 4 for NICS background checks, the only non-2020 month in the top five. That month was the previous record-holder for background checks, which could be connected to the holiday shopping season. However, multiple news events around this time are also believed to have had an impact.

On Dec. 2, 2015, a gunman killed 15 people in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, while just a month earlier, a coordinated terrorist rampage killed 130 in Paris. Major mass shootings are often followed by a surge of gun background checks, most likely because of the perception that lawmakers will respond to gun violence with measures that might make it more difficult to purchase firearms.

Another peak occurred in December 2012, which was the same month as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which killed 27 people, most of them young children.

How do other major news events impact requests for federal gun purchase background checks, in your state and others?

Source: FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System, NICS Firearm Checks, Month/Year by State; news archives

Note: Totals exclude U.S. territories but include the District of Columbia

Gun Laws
U.S. Faces Patchwork of Legal Restrictions

Few political issues are used more effectively to drive action than gun laws. The typical conservative position favors reducing restrictions on gun ownership, while the average liberal position is to increase these restrictions.

One need look no further than the enormous sums of money spent lobbying candidates and sitting politicians in one direction or the other. Over the past 20 years, nearly $200 million has been spent by gun control groups, gun rights groups and gun manufacturers on lobbying at the federal level.

Spending by gun rights groups dwarfs all other spending, though. Groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) spent a combined $11 million in 2019, several times more than was spent by the other types of groups, according to OpenSecrets.org, which is operated by the nonpartisan nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. 

As divided as their elected representatives seem to be on the issue of guns, for their part, Americans are in agreement on some issues: About 64 percent say laws on the sale of firearms should be more strict, while about 70 percent say background checks should be required for all gun purchases, according to a Gallup survey. But the appetite for major changes in gun laws, such as total bans on certain types of weapons, vary. Only about 29 percent believe handguns should be banned, while just over half say they oppose a ban on weapons like the AR-15. 

States are similarly divided when it comes to the laws they’ve enacted governing the sale of firearms, including licensure, age limitations, concealed carry restrictions and more. States may have specific carve-outs in the law that affect a small number of residents, but state gun laws generally cover a range of topics, including:

  • Private sales: Federal background checks don’t necessarily cover private sales, so in 18 states, laws require private sellers, in addition to federally licensed dealers, to conduct a background check.
  • Concealed and open carry: In most states, gun owners are allowed to carry a handgun on their person, whether open or concealed. Some states ban this, while others require permits depending on if the gun is a handgun or long gun.
  • Registration: Five states require all firearms to be registered, though many requirements apply depending on whether the firearm is a handgun or long gun.
  • Self-defense: The castle doctrine is a common-law principle that says that a person may escape criminal liability if they use deadly force against a threat inside their home, lessening their duty to retreat from a potentially dangerous situation. Some states expand on this by extending the protected area to a person’s home, place of work or other spaces, while others have enacted stand-your-ground laws, which eliminate the duty to retreat in all cases regardless of where an incident occurs.
  • Age limitations: Most states have established minimum ages at which a person can legally purchase or own a gun, though these may vary depending on the type of firearm. 

Use of Firearms
Gun-Related Deaths Rise by 30 Percent

Firearms & Deaths

The most recent polling in this area estimates that about 30 percent of American adults own at least one firearm. A higher percentage (43 percent) say they live in a household with at least one gun.

We know that background checks and gun purchases have risen, but what about the use of firearms? How commonly are guns used in crimes, what are the rates of people using firearms to take their own lives, and how common are other incidents involving guns?

In 2018, the most recent year for which the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has released complete data on what kills Americans, guns were involved in slightly more deaths than motor vehicles. 

U.S. Overall

Using the CDC’s WONDER database, which lists detailed causes of death for Americans, we analyzed the number and rate of deaths related to firearms across several methods of death — assault, suicide, legal intervention, and others, including accidents or incidents where the specific cause was unknown. 

While total gun deaths have risen by more than one-third over the past couple of decades, 2018 was the first year since 2014 in which gun deaths fell, though the drop was slight. After adjusting for population and age, the rate at which gun deaths occur also has risen nationally since the end of the last century, though the rate fell slightly between 2017 and 2018.

We should note the limitations of analyzing this CDC data, the most important of which is that for privacy reasons, the agency does not make publicly available every bit of data surrounding people’s causes of death. This is most notable in discussions of gun deaths by suicide, where in many cases, the agency has suppressed these values in the data it’s made available.

Between 1999 and 2018, the age- and population-adjusted rate of gun deaths rose by about 15 percent, while total gun deaths climbed by more than 37 percent. For the first time since 2014, total gun deaths fell in 2018, though it’s impossible to tell what the past two calendar years have held since the CDC has not yet made that data available. But the rate of gun deaths generally has been on the increase over the past several years, with the biggest single-year rate increase over the past 20 years coming between 2015 an2016. 

Source: CDC WONDER database query

Note: For privacy reasons, if the number of deaths related to a specific cause in a given state (or the country) are under a particular amount, those figures are suppressed. Because of this, state figures may not match national totals. Causes of death used in our analysis include intentional and unintentional deaths involving firearms as well as those with unknown intention that involved firearms.

In 2018, nearly two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States were the result of people taking their own lives. The share of gun deaths caused by suicide has risen over the past 20 years, while the share of assault-related gun deaths have fallen.

Notably, legal intervention was the cause of just over one percent of gun deaths in the U.S. in 2018. While this is a tiny sliver of the nearly 40,000 firearm deaths reported that year, this share has climbed by nearly 40 percent since 1999.

Source: CDC WONDER database query

Note: For privacy reasons, if the number of deaths related to a specific cause in a given state (or the country) are under a particular amount, those figures are suppressed. Because of this, state figures may not match national totals. Causes of death used in our analysis include intentional and unintentional deaths involving firearms as well as those with unknown intention that involved firearms.

Additionally, among incidents in which details were available about the type of firearm used, which accounts for only about one-third of all gun deaths reported by the CDC, handguns were used in nearly 70 percent of deaths in 2018, and handguns’ share of known firearms connected to deaths has risen from 57 percent in 1999.

Source: CDC WONDER database query

Note: For privacy reasons, if the number of deaths related to a specific cause in a given state (or the country) are under a particular amount, those figures are suppressed. Because of this, state figures may not match national totals. Causes of death used in our analysis include intentional and unintentional deaths involving firearms as well as those with unknown intention that involved firearms.

Gun Deaths in the States

Nationally in 2018, gun deaths occurred at an age- and population-adjusted rate of about 11.8 per 100,000 people, but many states have rates nearly double that level. The highest gun death rate in the U.S. in 2018 was in Mississippi (22.9), followed closely by Alabama (21.8) and Wyoming (21.5). Massachusetts, Hawaii and New York had the three lowest rates.

Most states have seen their rate of gun-related deaths rise over the past two decades, with the exception of eight states where this number has fallen — Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maryland, Nevada, New York and Rhode Island.

Source: CDC WONDER database query

Note: For privacy reasons, if the number of deaths related to a specific cause in a given state (or the country) are under a particular amount, those figures are suppressed. Because of this, state figures may not match national totals. Additionally, in many cases, state data was suppressed for most years, and in those cases, we’ve omitted those states from change-over-time analysis. Causes of death used in our analysis include intentional and unintentional deaths involving firearms as well as those with unknown intention that involved firearms.

Outside of a handful of states, gun suicide rates are far higher than gun assault rates. In Delaware, D.C., Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi and New Jersey age- and population-adjusted rates of deaths from gun assaults are higher than for gun suicides, though data for gun suicides in D.C. was not fully available, so the comparison may not be fair.

Still, in all but seven states, gun suicides are more common than murders or other intentional homicides involving firearms, and all but nine states have seen their adjusted rates of gun suicide rise over the past two decades. This finding largely tracks with other CDC reporting that suicide has become far too common in the U.S. 

Additionally, in all but a few states with available data, many more deaths are attributed to handguns than to rifles, shotguns and other large firearms. Again, though, it’s important to note that in the majority of gun-related deaths, it’s not known or reported what type of firearm was used, while in other states, data limitations may be skewing the analysis.

For example, in some states, upwards of 80 percent of firearms-related deaths in which the type of weapon was known involved handguns. This is far higher than the overall national rate of less than 70 percent. Most states with available data also have seen a rise in the ratio of handguns to rifles and shotguns as a percentage of known firearms used in deaths.

Most States See Increase in Guns Used in Crimes

Firearms & Crime

Another important aspect to understanding how the use of firearms impacts the country is examining their connection to crime. To be sure, not every use of a gun, even against another person, is a crime. 

But firearms are used in an average of about half of murders, robberies and aggravated assaults, and this rises to nearly three-quarters when considering only murder. Even as the murder rate has decline over the past couple of decades, the use of guns in these crimes has climbed.

According to the FBI’s 2019 Crime in the U.S. report, the murder rate dropped by nearly 10 percent between 2000 and 2019, while the percentage of murders committed by firearm rose by just over 12 percent. In the same time, the percentage of robberies involving a gun fell, while the percentage of aggravated assaults involving a firearm rose rapidly.

Source: FBI Crime in the U.S. 2019 and FBI Crime in the U.S. 2000

Note: Firearm crime rate represents calculation of firearm-involved crimes per 100,000 population

On the state level, the rate at which firearms are used in murders ranges from extremely high (in Illinois) to well below the national rate for 2019 (in places like Hawaii, Idaho and South Dakota). Similarly, the percentage of murders that involve firearms varies dramatically, from a high of about 86 percent in Missouri to a low of about 28 percent in Hawaii. 

For some states, these figures track with overall murder rates, such as in the District of Columbia, which has the highest population-adjusted murder rate and the second-highest rate of gun-involved murders. Other states have a much higher gulf between where they rank when it comes to all murders vs. only those involving guns. Both West Virginia and neighboring Pennsylvania, for example, rank 10 or more positions lower for their overall murder rate than for those involving firearms.

In robberies across the nation, guns are involved in about 37 percent or 29.1 per 100,000 people, and as one would expect, these rates vary considerably by state. The population-adjusted rate of gun-involved robberies is highest in D.C., which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the district’s dense population, and next-highest in Illinois, and rates in both places are several times that of the U.S. overall.

Aggravated assault, which is the most common violent crime overall, occurs nationally at a population-adjusted rate of about 66.3, which is a fraction of the rate in nation-leading Illinois but far higher than the single-digit rate in North Dakota.

Sources: FBI Crime in the U.S. annual reports, Florida Department of Law Enforcement UCR Offense Data

Notes: Several states provided limited data for the rate and percentage of firearms involved in violent crimes for 2019. Data for Florida included here was reported by the state. For Alabama’s rate and percentage of firearm-involved robberies and aggravated assaults, we’ve substituted the 2018 data, as 2019 was limited. Alabama’s rate of gun-involved murders was not provided to the FBI and not available from the state.

State-by-State Rankings and Details

Alabama

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: NA*

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 75.0% (18th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 59.2 (6th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 64.8% (1st)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 99.8 (13th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 24.1% (27th)

* Detailed data on weapons involved in murders in Alabama was not available

Alaska

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 6.0 (13th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 63.8% (36th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 22.9 (27th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 20.2% (49th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 114.6 (11th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 19.2% (32nd)

Arizona

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 3.4 (25th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 63.2% (37th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 35.0 (14th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 36.5% (28th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 82.5 (20th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 25.8% (23rd)

Arkansas

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 7.1 (10th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 76.6% (15th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 26.0 (22nd)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 48.2% (11th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 146.2 (7th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 31.7% (16th)

California

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 2.9 (28th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 68.0% (28th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 31.4 (15th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 23.8% (43rd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 44.7 (30th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 16.9% (36th)

Colorado

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 2.8 (29th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 64.6% (34th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 25.9 (23rd)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 38.5% (26th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 82.8 (19th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 32.2% (15th)

Connecticut

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.9 (35th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 62.5% (38th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 16.5 (34th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 30.9% (32nd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 19.8 (46th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 19.5% (31st)

Delaware

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 4.1 (19th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 83.3% (5th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 29.7 (17th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 36.5% (29th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 113.5 (12th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 37.2% (9th)

District of Columbia

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 19.3 (2nd)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 81.9% (8th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 127.1 (1st)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 33.1% (30th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 154.3 (6th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 26.1% (22nd)

Florida

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 4.0 (21st)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 76.1% (16th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 28.9 (18th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 38.2% (27th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 80.3 (21st)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 31.1% (17th)

Georgia

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 12.1 (4th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 82.5% (7th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 30.1 (16th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 56.1% (7th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 70.1 (23rd)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 34.4% (12th)

Hawaii

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 0.8 (50th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 28.1% (51st)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 14.0 (37th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 15.7% (51st)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 19.2 (48th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 13.8% (46th)

Idaho

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 0.9 (48th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 45.7% (48th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 2.0 (51st)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 22.6% (44th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 29.9 (37th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 17.6% (35th)

Illinois

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 444.0 (1st)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 83.9% (3rd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 87.2 (2nd)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 45.0% (17th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 379.5 (1st)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 42.9% (6th)

Indiana

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 6.2 (12th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 74.9% (19th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 26.9 (21st)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 44.0% (20th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 38.0 (32nd)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 20.8% (29th)

Iowa

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.4 (42nd)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 62.1% (41st)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 13.0 (38th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 41.6% (23rd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 31.1 (36th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 14.4% (43th)

Kansas

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 3.1 (27th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 60.2% (42nd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 23.6 (26th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 46.5% (14th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 126.7 (10th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 33.5% (13th)

Kentucky

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 3.9 (23rd)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 78.7% (10th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 22.6 (28th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 46.7% (12th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 48.5 (27th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 37.7% (8th)

Louisiana

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 10.9 (7th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 83.0% (6th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 46.2 (11th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 49.0% (10th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 142.9 (8th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 34.9% (11th)

Maine

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.0 (46th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 65.0% (33rd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 3.0 (50th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 21.3% (47th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 5.4 (50th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 8.7% (50th)

Maryland

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 7.6 (9th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 83.5% (4th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 66.5 (3rd)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 43.7% (21st)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 47.0 (28th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 18.1% (34th)

Massachusetts

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.3 (44th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 58.9% (44th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 11.7 (40th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 22.0% (46th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 24.8 (40th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 10.2% (49th)

Michigan

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 4.0 (20th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 68.8% (27th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 24.0 (24th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 43.4% (22

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 94.7 (15th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 30.7% (18th)

Minnesota

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.5 (40th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 69.3% (25th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 16.7 (33rd)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 29.3% (34th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 33.5 (35th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 24.8% (24th)

Mississippi

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 12.0 (5th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 81.0% (9th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 48.0 (9th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 60.9% (3rd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 91.3 (16th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 48.0% (2nd)

Missouri

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 11.4 (6th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 85.9% (1st)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 61.3 (5th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 57.6% (4th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 184.8 (3rd)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 43.0% (5th)

Montana

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.9 (34th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 59.3% (43rd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 5.4 (47th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 24.1% (42nd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 45.2 (29th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 12.7% (47th)

Nebraska

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 2.0 (32nd)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 77.8% (12th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 20.0 (30th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 45.2% (16th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 49.1 (26th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 24.6% (26th)

Nevada

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 3.2 (26th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 63.9% (35th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 44.3 (12th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 40.1% (24th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 88.0 (17th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 28.1% (19th)

New Hampshire

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.2 (45th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 48.5% (47th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 5.8 (45th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 24.9% (41st)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 15.9 (49th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 18.7% (33rd)

New Jersey

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 2.0 (31st)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 67.2% (29th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 18.6 (31st)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 28.8% (36th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 19.5 (47th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 15.9% (40th)

New Mexico

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 6.5 (11th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 65.8% (32nd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 61.4 (4th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 44.1% (18th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 167.2 (5th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 26.5% (21st)

New York

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.6 (39th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 54.2% (45th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 16.0 (35th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 16.5% (50th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 24.7 (41st)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 10.3% (48th)

North Carolina

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 5.0 (16th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 74.2% (20th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 47.0 (10th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 56.7% (6th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 140.8 (9th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 51.0% (1st)

North Dakota

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.7 (37th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 50.0% (46th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 6.1 (44th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 26.1% (40th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 3.7 (51st)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 2.3% (51st)

Ohio

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 4.1 (18th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 73.3% (21st)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 27.2 (20th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 30.5% (33th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 72.0 (22nd)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 39.2% (7th)

Oklahoma

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 4.8 (17th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 71.6% (23rd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 28.2 (19th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 46.6% (13th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 85.5 (18th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 27.6% (20th)

Oregon

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.7 (38th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 62.2% (39th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 12.3 (39th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 21.2% (48th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 28.0 (39th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 14.9% (42nd)

Pennsylvania

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 13.0 (3rd)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 77.2% (13th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 17.9 (32nd)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 39.9% (25th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 29.2 (38th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 16.1% (39th)

Rhode Island

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 0.9 (47th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 40.0% (49th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 10.8 (41st)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 27.3% (39th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 21.5 (44th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 16.2% (37th)

South Carolina

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 8.2 (8th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 85.6% (2nd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 37.5 (13th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 57.5% (5th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 184.5 (4th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 47.2% (3rd)

South Dakota

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 0.9 (49th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 36.8% (50th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 5.5 (46th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 28.3% (37th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 33.9 (34th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 13.8% (44th)

Tennessee

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 5.9 (14th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 78.5% (11th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 57.1 (7th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 61.9% (2nd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 207.8 (2nd)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 45.0% (4th)

Texas

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 3.9 (22nd)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 77.2% (14th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 54.8 (8th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 52.3% (8th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 95.6 (14th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 35.5% (10th)

Utah

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.4 (41st)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 62.1% (40th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 10.5 (42nd)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 27.5% (38th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 24.0 (42nd)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 16.2% (38th)

Vermont

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.3 (43rd)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 72.7% (22nd)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 3.3 (49th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 29.0% (35th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 21.9 (43rd)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 15.2% (41st)

Virginia

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 3.8 (24th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 75.6% (17th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 20.9 (29th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 50.3% (9th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 42.1 (31st)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 32.7% (14th)

Washington

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.9 (33rd)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 69.6% (24th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 15.3 (36th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 22.2% (45th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 37.5 (33rd)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 20.5% (30th)

West Virginia

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 5.0 (15th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 66.7% (31st)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 6.2 (43rd)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 44.0% (19th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 49.7 (25th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 23.7% (28th)

Wisconsin

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 2.1 (30th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 66.9% (30th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 23.9 (25th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 46.4% (15th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 49.8 (24th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 24.8% (25th)

Wyoming

2019 Firearm-Involved Murders Per 100,000 People: 1.8 (36th)

2019 Percentage of Murders Involving Firearms: 69.2% (26th)

2019 Firearm-Involved Robberies Per 100K People: 3.9 (48th)

2019 Percentage of Robberies Involving Firearms: 32.3% (31st)

2019 Firearm-Involved Aggravated Assaults Per 100K People: 19.9 (45th)

2019 Percentage of Aggravated Assaults Involving Firearms: 13.8% (45th)

Generally, the percentage of violent crimes involving firearms has increased over the past two decades, though there are some notable exceptions. While most states have seen increases in the percentage of both murders and aggravated assaults involving firearms, in only half has the percentage of robberies involving guns climbed.

A total of 11 states have seen the proportion of murders involving firearms fall, led by a nearly 44 percent decline in Rhode Island. But the rest of the states posted an increase in that proportion, and some were quite high. In both South Dakota (+121 percent) and Iowa (+112 percent), the percentage of firearm-involved murders more than doubled.

Slightly more than half the states had a drop in the percentage of firearm-involved robberies. Alaska’s decline was the largest at nearly 50 percent, while both Iowa and Mississippi had increases in this rate of just over half.

Aggravated assault was the violent crime that saw the highest number of states post an increase to the percentage of crimes involving guns. Only five states saw this rate fall, led by Idaho and Pennsylvania, which each posted drops of more than 20 percent. On the flip side, six states more than doubled their rates, led by a 144 percent increase in Maine.

Sources: FBI Crime in the U.S. annual reports, Florida Department of Law Enforcement UCR Offense Data

Notes: Data on firearm-related murders for 2019 in Florida was provided by the state rather than the FBI. Data for robbery and aggravated assault in Alabama is from 2018 because 2019 data was not available. Figures from 2000 were not available for several states, so alternate years were substituted in several cases — Illinois figures for robbery and aggravated assault and D.C. murder numbers are from 1997, murder statistics for Kansas are from 2001, and murder statistics for North Dakota are from 1999.

Mass Shootings & School Shootings
Mass Shootings, Deaths, Injuries Increase Sharply

While shootings in public spaces, including schools, understandably dominate news coverage in the days and weeks after they occur, data shows mass shootings account for a small percentage of all gun-related homicides, less than one percent in a typical year.

But it’s clear the impact of mass shootings and school violence goes far beyond the raw numbers, as mass shootings not only claim lives but serve to erode the public’s sense of safety. In fact, a recent Gallup study found that nearly half of respondents said they were worried about themselves or a family member becoming a victim of a mass shooting. 

Mass Shootings

Legally, no distinction is made between murder or aggravated assault and these crimes that occur in connection with a mass shooting. But most researchers in the field of gun violence have settled on a standard definition of a mass shooting. It defines a mass shooting as an incident in which at least four people are killed, not including the shooter, in a single location or locations that are nearby, with no connection to another crime. 

Little official government data exists about these types of incidents, but The Violence Project (TVP), a nonpartisan nonprofit maintains a database of mass shootings that goes back to 1960. According to TVP’s research, the first known mass shooting event in the U.S. took place in 1903, when a man killed nine people and wounded 25 after firing into a crowd in Winfield, Kansas. 

TVP’s database shows a clear increase in the number of mass shootings in the U.S. since the 1960s. Most decades have seen a jump in the number of mass shootings, with numbers roughly doubling every decade from the 1960s to 1980s. 

The number of people killed in these incidents varies, though zooming out to see the decade-by-decade view, the number of lives lost has risen dramatically in most eras, more than doubling from the 2000s to the 2010s. 

Source: The Violence Project mass shooter database

Note: Includes incidents in which for or more people are killed using a firearm, not including the shooter, in events that occurred in a single location or multiple nearby locations but are unrelated to another criminal activity or domestic connection.

Only nine states don’t have a mass shooter incident on record. Texas, California and Florida have had the most incidents since the 1960s, though today those also happen to be the three states with the biggest populations. Deaths don’t always rise with the number of incidents, a phenomenon that’s related to the varying gravity of these shootings.

For example, Nevada had one mass shooting incident in 2017 but had by far the highest number of people killed in that year because of the Las Vegas shooting, which was the deadliest mass shooting incident in modern American history.

Source: The Violence Project mass shooter database

Note: Includes incidents in which for or more people are killed using a firearm, not including the shooter, in events that occurred in a single location or multiple nearby locations but are unrelated to another criminal activity or domestic connection.

Half of School Deaths Occur in Mass-Shooter Events

School Shootings

Similarly to the limitations that exist with regard to formal government data surrounding mass shootings, there isn’t a single official repository of federal data on school shootings or non-shooting incidents involving firearms inside schools.

Even the little government-aligned data that does exist, a database maintained by the Naval Postgraduate School, relies largely on news reports of incidents involving firearms in schools. Still, according to that database, the past 20 years have seen nearly 1,000 incidents involving guns being fired inside schools.

While the majority of incidents haven’t ended in fatalities, the fact remains that hundreds of lives have been lost to shootings at schools. Only 11 states have not had at least one fatal incident involving a gun being disharged in a school since 1999. In most states, deaths over the past 10 years are in the single digits, but these numbers are punctuated by some of the worst days in U.S. history. All 26 school shooting deaths in Connecticut happened on the same day and in the same place — Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. The vast majority of Florida’s 23 school shooting deaths occured in the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland in 2018, while 13 of Colorado’s 16 school shooting deaths occurred in the 1999 Columbine massacre.

More than half of the total deaths in school shootings over the past 20 years have occurred in mass-shooter events in which at least four people (not including the shooter) were killed.

Data viz rec: Interactive year by year plot of fatal incidents and number of fatalities. These are in separate tabs within US School Shootings workbook. On the Killed tab is a column for mass shooter events.

Sources: EdWeek, K-12 School Shooting Database, Washington Post (content is behind paywall, raw data downloaded here)

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