Gun fatalities database paints a deadly picture

You are more than five times likely to be killed in some states than in Massachusetts or Hawaii

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Guns and gun violence have been high-profile topics in the U.S. since last December's horrendous shootings at an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Conn. Efforts by the Obama Administration and other federal officials to pass more stringent firearms regulations have met with vehement opposition from the National Rifle Association.

Given the current heated debate, I thought it might be interesting to look at some statistics on gun-related deaths on a state-by-state basis. I found them at a site called Statehealthfacts.org, a project of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

The data is from 2009 and includes murders, suicides, accidental shootings and police shootings. Source of the data is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics report from December 2011.

The chart on Statehealthfacts. org lists states and the District of Columbia by firearms death rate per 100,000 people.

Two states -- Wyoming and Louisiana -- share the dubious honor of being tied for the highest rate of gun-related deaths with 18.1 per 100,000 residents. The next three are:

Alabama -- 17.4
Mississippi -- 16.8
District of Columbia -- 16.6

And here are the five states with the lowest firearms death rates:

Massachusetts -- 3.1
Hawaii -- 3.6
New Jersey -- 4.7
New York -- 4.8
Connecticut -- 4.9

So if you live in Wyoming or Louisiana, you are nearly six times more likely to be killed by a gun than if you live in Massachusetts.

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