Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New CAP Fact Sheet Highlights Rural America’s Gun Violence Problem
Press Release

RELEASE: New CAP Fact Sheet Highlights Rural America’s Gun Violence Problem

Washington, D.C. — While politicians and the media have largely focused their attention on gun violence in major U.S. cities, the rising rate of gun-related deaths in rural communities is often overlooked. A new fact sheet released today by the Center for American Progress illustrates rural America’s gun violence problem, showing that levels of violence in rural communities often match or outpace those in urban areas. Weak gun laws and a higher concentration of gun ownership has contributed to this trend, causing further stress on local law enforcement and communities alike.

“It’s easy for pro-gun political leaders to point fingers at urban, Democrat-led cities,” said Nick Wilson, senior director for Gun Violence Prevention at CAP and co-author of the fact sheet. “But the reality is that rural communities within several Republican-led states are experiencing a rate of gun homicides that exceeds their urban neighbors. Political leaders need to show their communities that their lives matter and push for basic, sensible gun violence prevention measures.”

Several notable findings include:

  • From 2016 to 2020, 13 of the 20 U.S. counties with the most gun homicides per capita were rural.
  • In 2020, the total gun death rate for rural communities—when age-adjusted per 100,000 people—was 40 percent higher than it was for large metropolitan areas. 
  • From 2016 to 2020, gun homicide rates in rural North Carolina were 76 percent higher than they were in large North Carolina metropolitan areas.
  • States with higher levels of gun ownership—which are overwhelmingly rural—tend to experience higher levels of gun violence.

Read the fact sheet:Gun Violence in Rural America” by David Correa and Nick Wilson

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Tricia Woodcome at [email protected].

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