by David Mendez
Last week, Slate published this short news item, looking at how firearm deaths have begun to outpace motor vehicle deaths in ten states, including Arizona. Using data from 2009, Washington, D.C.'s Violence Policy Center released a report in May that shows Arizona had 856 gun-related deaths to 809 vehicle-related deaths that year.
This led me to wonder what the gun-death numbers are in Arizona from year to year, and how those relate to national figures—and the answer, found via the CDC's Fatal Injury Report database, didn't surprise me.
Between 2001 and 2010, Arizona has had 9,117 gun deaths—a rate of 15.48 deaths per 100,000 over that time span. The national average over the same time was 10.33 per 100,000. In 2010 alone, Arizona's gun death rate was 14.57, compared to the national rate of 10.26.
The thing is, 2010 was a bounce-back year for gun-related deaths: the 931 deaths reported that year reversed the trend of decline that we had experienced since the high of 982 gun deaths in '06, dropping to a low of 856 deaths in '09.
2010 was also the year that Arizona began to allow permit-less concealed carry—an interesting coincidence.
We won't know more about the possible relationship between Arizona's gun deaths and the CCW law until mid-2013, when the CDC will release 2011's statistics. Maybe it's an aberration—but then again, maybe not. 'Til then, just some food for thought.