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Southern Cities Have Highest Gun Homicide Rates, Report Finds

The cities with the highest firearm homicide rates are clustered in the South, generally in red states with less restrictive gun laws, finds an analysis by the left-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund, Axios reports. The report argues that the findings refute Republican narratives that progressive policies stoke more crime in cities. In fact, there's a distinct gap between urban firearm homicide rates in blue states — which tend to have stronger gun safety laws — and those in red states, the report concludes. The analysis used data from the Gun Violence Archive on the 300 most populous U.S. cities. It comes amid a growing push to treat gun violence as a public health crisis, including New Mexico's controversial use of a public health order to ban open and concealed carrying. The analysis shows "we're really seeing two different Americas when it comes to gun violence," said Chandler Hall, the report's author.

"There's already a lot that cities are trying to do to address gun violence locally … but when they're hamstrung by state policies and can't control the flow of guns or how guns are carried in their cities, there's only so much city officials can do," Hall added. What's more, some blue-state cities, like Chicago, are bordered by red states with looser gun laws. St. Louis had the highest gun homicide rate in 2022, followed by Birmingham, Ala., New Orleans, Jackson, Miss., and Baltimore. The average gun homicide rate in blue-state cities was 7.2 per 100,000 residents from 2015 to 2022. In red-state cities, the rate was 11.1 deaths per 100,000. Gun homicide rates were higher overall in blue cities — as defined by the mayor's party affiliation — than in red ones. The report argues that blue cities differ from red cities when it comes to factors like population size, poverty rate and inequality, and that contrasting them doesn't yield meaningful conclusions.


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