Gun-Related Crimes Are Surging in These States

About a third of all American adults own at least one firearm. And the vast majority of American gun owners have firearms for legitimate reasons, including personal protection, target shooting, and hunting. But, the U.S. is the only country in the world where civilian owned firearms outnumber people, and with so many guns, some inevitably fall into the wrong hands.

Between 2020 and 2021, active shooter incidents climbed by over 50%, according to the FBI. Additionally, the number of all violent crimes that involved a firearm increased by more than 30% over the same period. (Here is a look at the states where mass shootings happen most often.)

With gun violence on the rise, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives reported a year over year surge in firearm trace requests from aw enforcement agencies across the country. Guns that are traced by the ATF are typically those found at crime scenes and are that have either been used, or are suspected to have been used, to commit a crime. 

More than 453,500 firearms were traced by the ATF in 2021, compared to 389,300 one year earlier. Using gun tracing data from the ATF as a proxy for gun crime levels, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where gun crime is rising fastest. States are ranked by the percent change in the number of firearms traced from 2020 to 2021. In each of the 24 states on this list, the number of guns traced by the ATF increased by more than 10% year over year. 

The most commonly traced firearms in the U.S., and in many states on this list, are chambered for 9mm, .40 caliber, and .22 caliber ammunition. These calibers are common in handguns, which, over the last decade, have become the most popular firearm type in the United States by a wide margin. Typically more discreet and easily concealable than rifles or shotguns, handguns are more likely than other firearms to be linked violent crime. (This is the law for carrying firearms in public in every state.)

Click here to see 24 states where gun-related crimes are surging.

Click here to read our detailed methodology.

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