When I saw the table from the first source I thought "this doesn't jibe with what the anonymous internet commentators are posting!" The posts went something like "there's no such thing as gun violence and even if there was it's only a problem for libtard states with big cities". Everyone knows that when you see something wrong on the internet you must correct it at all costs. I know I wasn't going to change anyone's mind but I wanted to be able to make up my own mind with confidence. So I mashed the data from the first source with the data from the second source, ignoring third party votes because for this exercise it doesn't change anything.

After seeing the first graph I wanted to know if there was a correlation between how red/blue a state was with the firearms death rate so I created the second chart. It's a little harder to grok. On the x-axis is the percentage of Republican v. Democrat votes (100*rep/(rep+dem)). The blue states on the far left of the graph voted Democrat. Purple states in the middle and red states on the right.

Also interesting to note is that there are only three red states below the national average rate of 10.64. Surprising to me was see Texas (slightly) below and Utah above the national average. I was surprised to see Utah above average but it was well below what it's conservative voting record predicted (and no, I don't but any weight on a predictive model - I'm just observing!)

Correlation is not causation. This data isn't saying that if you vote Republican you are going to be shot, or vice versa. There is no information included about gun-control laws. I have no idea if Hawaii, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island have laws or something else that makes it difficult to obtain guns compared to Wyoming, Alaska, or Louisiana. The third source I site has some interesting discussion about factors that are not considered here - violent crime rates, suicide, and poverty, for instance.

Fun fact: Japan, home the world's largest urban area, Tokyo, had a gun homicide rate of 0.0 per 100,000 people in 2008.


firearms related death rate v. state voting record

Sources and additional information (14 September 2015):

  1. Gun Violence by State: http://www.vpc.org/fact-sheets/state-firearm-death-rates-ranked-by-rate-2013/
  2. Election Results: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/2012/popular-vote.html
  3. Japan Rate of Gun Homicide: http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/japan
  4. Additional Insights into the causes of Gun Violence: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/13/24-7-wall-st-states-most-gun-violence/71003050/

After playing around with the data I realized I could somewhat consolidate the two charts: