West Virginia Has More Gun Crime Than Most States

Study gives explanation for high numbers in the state.

West Virginia Has More Gun Crime Than Most States

A report by Center for American Progress has recently been announced. The report looked at 10 categories of gun violence. It found that West Virginia ranks among the top in several areas, including the export of guns later used in crimes, mass shootings, fatal gun accidents, gun-related suicides, police officers killed with a gun, fatal shootings by police, and gun-related murders of women by intimate partners. West Virginians are more likely than people in other states to use guns to kill wives and girlfriends, to kill people accidentally and to kill themselves, according to a new report released this week.

Sorry to our West Virginia friends. We’re not passing judgement, just reporting on the numbers that are out there. The study gave explanations for the high numbers in West Virginia and I’m wondering if people who live there agree with them.

The new report is a follow-up to a 2013 study by the same organization examining the connection between the strength or weakness of a state’s gun laws and rates of gun violence. West Virginia eliminated the concealed carry permit requirement this year.

The authors found that the 10 states with the weakest gun laws have an overall level of gun violence that is 3.2 times higher than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws. The “strength” or “weakness” of a state’s gun laws were determined by the “2015 Gun Law State Scorecard” prepared by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.


Among the study’s findings:

West Virginia had the highest rate of any state for the export of guns later used in crimes. With a rate of 52.1 per every 100,000 people, West Virginia had a rate of interstate crime gun trafficking that was 163 percent higher than the national average from 2010 to 2015.

West Virginia is considered a “source state” for surrounding states with more stringent gun laws, such as Maryland. Out-of-state drug dealers apparently use West Virginia guns as a source of currency.

West Virginia’s rate of fatal gun accidents ranked fourth in the country. That rate is 5.7 per 1 million people from 2005 to 2014, the second-highest rate in the country.

An Associated Press and USA Today investigation found that West Virginia ranked 14th in the nation for accidental shootings involving minors from Jan. 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016. The state had the seventh-highest rate of gun-related suicide. From 2005 to 2014, 1,972 people died in West Virginia by a gun-related suicide. The rate of 9.98 gun-related suicides per 100,000 people was 67 percent higher than the national average.
West Virginia ranked seventh for police officers killed with a firearm, and 11th for fatal shootings by police.
The state ranked 11th-worst in the nation for the rate of gun-related murders of women by intimate partners from 2005 to 2014, with a rate of 5.24 per 1 million women. From October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016, there were 25 domestic violence deaths, and 23, or 89 percent of domestic violence deaths involved guns. Ten of those were women killed by men, and nine were killed with a gun.
West Virginia had the 14th-highest rate of gun-related deaths of any state. From 2005 to 2014, 2,666 people were killed with guns in West Virginia. The rate of 13.94 gun-related deaths for every 100,000 people is 36 percent higher than the national average.
The state ranked 27th for gun homicides. The rate was 3.04 per 100,000 people.
West Virginia ranked 30th for gun deaths among people under age 21. The rate was 3.8 per 100,000 people under age 21. While African-Americans make up about 4 percent of the state population, they account for approximately 16 percent of gun-related homicide victims.