Washington Post details homicide and suicide gun deaths by state

OK, this might not be the cheeriest thing to read on a Sunday morning, but The Washington Post has some fascinating numbers and an excellent interactive graphic here: Gun suicide and homicide: statistics shaped by race.

Among blacks, Georgia has a rate of 102 gun homicides per year for every 1 million residents (lower than the national average). Among whites, the number falls to 20 homicides (higher than the national average).

For suicide gun deaths, the numbers are starkly different — with 98 suicides by whites for every 1 million residents (considerably higher than the national average). For blacks, the number is 32 (slightly higher than the national average).

Georgia’s white residents are about five times more likely to kill themselves with a gun than to be killed by someone else with one. Georgia’s black residents are about three times more likely to be killed with a gun than they are to take their own lives with one. (The data says nothing about the race of the assailants.)

There are some fascinating details in the data. Wyoming, for example, has virtually no gun homicides, but a white gun suicide rate of 162 per million. Wyoming also leads the nation with 61 percent of adult residents having a gun in the home. The states most closely behind Wyoming are also ones with relatively low population density.

Washington, D.C., and Missouri have the highest gun homicide rates among blacks.

From the accompanying article:

Gun deaths in urban areas are much more likely to be homicides, while suicide is far and away the dominant form of gun death in rural areas. States with the most guns per capita, such as Montana and Wyoming, have the highest suicide rates; states with low gun ownership rates, such as Massachusetts and New York, have far fewer suicides per capita.

Suicides and homicides are highly charged human dramas. Both acts shatter families, friends and sometimes communities. But the reactions are as different as black and white, and those differences shape the nation’s divided attitudes toward gun control.

For instance, African Americans tend to be stronger backers of tough gun controls than whites. A Washington Post-ABC News poll this month found that about three-quarters of blacks support stronger controls, compared with about half of whites. The poll also found that two-thirds of city dwellers support stronger gun controls, while only about a third of rural residents back them.