The analysis reveals that the five states with the highest per capita gun death rates per 100,000 were Alaska (20.64), Mississippi (19.32), Louisiana (18.47), Alabama (17.53), and Wyoming (17.45). Each of these states had a per capita gun death rate far exceeding the national per capita gun death rate of 10.38 per 100,000 for 2008. Each state has lax gun laws and higher gun ownership rates.
This spring the Brady Campaign released a 100-point scorecard ranking all 50 states on the basis of laws that can prevent gun violence. Alaska scored zero on the scorecard. Louisiana scored two, Mississippi six, Wyoming eight and Alabama 16.
By contrast, states with strong gun laws and low rates of gun ownership had far lower rates of firearm-related death. Ranking last in the nation for gun death was Hawaii (3.18), followed by Massachusetts (3.42), Rhode Island (4.18), and New York and New Jersey (4.95).
The total number of Americans killed by gunfire rose to 31,593 in 2008 from 31,224 in 2007.
See ranking for all 50 states: http://www.vpc.org/fadeathchart11.htm