Arizona’s gun violence death rate is among the highest in the nation. Arizona ranked 10th out of the 50 states in its rate of violence-related gun deaths in 2003. (Violence refers to suicides, homicides, and legal intervention.) Arizona’s violence-related gun death rate of 14.7 per 100,000 was considerably higher than the national rate of 9.9 per 100,000.
A total of 8,815 Arizona residents died from the misuse of guns in the last decade (1995-2004). Fifty-seven percent of these deaths were the result of suicide; 37% were the result of homicide; 3% were the result of accidents; 2% were the result of legal intervention; and 1% were from an undetermined cause.
Although generally decreasing over the decade, gun-related deaths jumped 4% in 2004. These deaths increased from 834 in 2003 to 873 in 2004 — but overall gun-related deaths decreased from an all-time high of 1,010 in 1995.
Well over half of all homicides and suicides are committed with a gun. In 2004, 68% of all homicides and 59% of all suicides were committed with a gun.
Minority groups are disproportionately impacted by gun violence. African Americans had the highest gun-related death rate (24.9 per 100,000) and the highest gun-related homicide rate (18.8 per 100,000) among racial/ethnic groups in 2004. Latinos had the second highest gun-related death rate (17.3 per 100,000) and the second highest gun-related homicide rate (11.1 per 100,000). In contrast, whites had a lower gun-related death rate (14.1 per 100,000) but a gun-related suicide rate twice that of minorities (10.6 per 100,000).
More than 5 times the number of Arizona residents died from gun violence (873) than from HIV/AIDS (156) in 2004.