Friday, May 29, 2015


The ICD code for “accidental discharge of firearms” clearly does not cover all forms of death caused by a gun, but it also does not cover all accidental deaths caused by gunfire. Several other categories, including “other and unspecified nontransport accidents,” “discharge of firearms, undetermined intent,” include these types of accidents. 

Despite this drawback in this sort of determination, Alabama’s age-adjusted mortality rate from accidental discharge of firearms is 3.5 times higher than the national rate. Ten other states (Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wyoming) have rates at least twice the national average, with the largest difference represented by Louisiana’s 3.9.

The leading causes of death tend to be the same across the country. A majority of deaths are due to heart disease, followed by cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease. However, some causes of death affect some state residents far more than others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a report, “The Most Distinctive Causes of Death by State, 2001-2010,” detailing causes of death most out of proportion to national rates. In some states, the results are intuitive. In others, unusually common causes of death are much more surprising.