Leslie Turk

La. has highest gun death rate

by Leslie Turk

First is Louisiana, then Alabama, Alaska and Mississippi (tie), and Nevada. Each of these five states has a per capita gun death rate that far exceeds the national rate of 10.32 per 100,000 for 2006 — the most recent year available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Louisiana’s per capita gun death rate is 19.5.

Why us? Some say the evidence points to high gun ownership rates in Louisiana and other top-ranking states.

The Violence Policy Center, a Washington D.C.-based gun-control advocacy group, maintains that states with higher gun ownership rates and weak gun laws have the highest rates of gun death. By contrast, it claims states with strong gun laws and low rates of gun ownership had far lower rates.

Hawaii, with its strong gun laws, has the lowest gun death rate in the nation. Only 9.7 percent of Hawaii households own guns, and the islands had a per capita gun death rate of 2.58 per 100,000 people in 2006 - all of which appears to support VPC's claims.

Not so fast, James L. Moses, president of the Alabama State Rifle and Pistol Association, tells Mobile’s Press-Register. Read more on the debate here.