A report by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank, shows that New Mexico has the seventh-highest rate of gun violence in the United States.
One thing that New Mexico has in common with other states at the bottom of the rankings is weaker-than-average gun laws.
New Mexico has been given an “F” rating by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
The study examined rates of gun violence including firearm homicides, firearm suicides and overall firearm deaths. Most data was from 2010, though some data was as recent as 2011.
“From 2001 through 2010, 2,932 people were killed by guns in New Mexico,” the New Mexico fact sheet in the report states (pdf). “That is more than 70 percent more than the number of U.S. combat deaths in the Afghanistan war.”
At a total of 14.62 gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2010, New Mexico ranked 10th in the country in rate of gun deaths. From 2001-2010, New Mexico ranked 11th with 15.07 gun deaths per 100,000 people.
One area where New Mexico ranks very high is gun deaths among children. New Mexico had 3.12 firearm deaths among children from ages 0-17 between 2001 and 2010; this is fourth-highest in the nation.
On most other rankings used in the report for an overall ranking, New Mexico was in or around the top-ten.
As for New Mexico’s gun laws, the report says that the lax background check laws make New Mexico a target for gun traffickers to purchase guns. This includes allowing private sales at gun shows to go without background checks — a proposal to close this loophole ran out of time in the legislative session.
The report finds, “In 2009 New Mexico’s ‘crime-gun exports’ — guns later recovered in crimes in other states that were originally sold in New Mexico—were exported from the state at a rate of 54 percent above the national average.”
The report calls this a “key marker of gun trafficking.”
From the report:
While many factors contribute to the rates of gun violence in any state, our research clearly demonstrates a significant correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws and the prevalence of gun violence in the state. Across the key
indicators of gun violence that we analyzed, the 10 states with the weakest gun laws collectively have a level of gun violence that is more than twice as high—104 percent higher—than the 10 states with the strongest gun laws.
The full report is embedded below: