How can there be more deaths in 2017 in California yet the rate of gun deaths is lower? The explanation for this apparent contradiction is related to population growth. The population in California grew at a faster pace than the number of people who died by guns. In other words, despite an increase of 13 total gun deaths over this ten-year period, the age-adjusted gun death rate is lower because the population is larger.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) Fatal Injury Reports. Total deaths and age-adjusted rates were used for each year between 2009 and 2018. Unintentional deaths, deaths related to shootings by law enforcement, and deaths of undetermined intent are not included in the visualization.