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More violence found in states with weak firearms laws

By Reuters
April 4, 2013

A 6-year-old boy prepares a gun before a hunt near Union Springs, Alabama. REUTERS/Michael Spooneybarger

A 6-year-old boy prepares a gun before a hunt near Union Springs, Alabama. REUTERS/Michael Spooneybarger

Many states with the weakest firearms laws have the highest rates of gun-related homicides and suicides, according to a study released on Wednesday by a liberal think tank.

Alaska had the most gun deaths, with 20.28 deaths per 100,000 people in 2010, twice the national average, the analysis by the Center for American Progress showed.

Louisiana and Montana, which followed with 19.06 and 16.58 deaths per 100,000 people, respectively, were among the 10 states with the weakest gun laws, according to the study, the latest to link gun laws to firearm deaths.

Eight of the states with the highest levels of gun violence were among the 25 with the weakest gun laws, said the report, citing a study last year by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

“This report – as others before it – demonstrates a strong link between state gun laws and gun violence,” it said, adding that this link didn’t imply cause and effect.

“Factors such as gun trafficking across state lines, overall crime patterns, and other socioeconomic issues in a state all play a role in gun-violence rates,” it said.

Louisiana, Alaska and Alabama have the highest levels of gun violence, based on measures that include firearm deaths, suicides, homicides, and police officials feloniously killed by guns.

Hawaii, Massachusetts and Connecticut had the lowest rates of gun violence, and were among the 10 states with the strongest gun laws, the study found.

Hawaii had the fewest firearm deaths in 2010, at 3.31 per 100,000 people.

Last month, researchers reported in the online journal, JAMA Internal Medicine, that more gun laws in a state were associated with lower firearm death rates.

Several states have moved to tighten gun laws following the massacre of 20 students and six adults at a Connecticut school in December.

President Barack Obama is seeking to pass the broadest gun control regulations in a generation, but faces stiff opposition from pro-gun groups.

The United States had about 31,300 firearms deaths in 2010, with two-thirds of them suicides, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the National Vital Statistics Report.

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Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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10 Responses to More violence found in states with weak firearms laws

  1. Mark Thomason

    April 4, 2013 at 10:27 am

    I went to the underlying reports. They mix together unlike things to get those numbers.

    For example, Alaska has a massive suicide problem. It happens especially during the long winters without sunlight. That mixed in then skews the other numbers.

    The report mixed unlikes, and from that extracted whatever most supported its preconceived conclusions.

    The bias is so all pervasive that we can’t know what an honest view of the data would show. The whole thing would need to be re-done.

    That is a shame, because an honest view might well support some of the same conclusions. Honest support would be more meaningful and effective.

  2. Pondering_It_All

    April 4, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Like the report said, there is no evidence of cause and effect between gun laws and gun deaths. I think both gun laws and gun deaths are more likely just characteristics of the social norms in each state: People who like guns do more shooting at each other. people who like guns and alcohol do a lot more shooting at each other. People who live in a place that is dark and deadly cold for several months out of the year do a lot more shooting at themselves. People who live in Hawaii are especially interested in everyone getting along despite their ethnic and cultural differences.

    There IS a cause, but the laws people support and the rate of gun deaths are both effects.

  3. Wayne K Dolik

    April 6, 2013 at 12:24 am

    I would like to see a study of psychotropic drugs and mass shootings in 50 states. Colorado Holmes the theater shooter was on Zoloft. Confirmed, Eric Harris the Columbine killer was also on Zoloft.

  4. Keith

    April 6, 2013 at 9:50 am

    As I’ve noted in other posts on this subject, I firmly believe that our US “wild west” culture…a culture that since our country’s founding, has officially enabled (if not encouraged) personal violence by allowing ordinary citizens to have easy access to lethal weapons and other firearms…has a lot to do with the fact that ours remains among the most violent cultures on the face of the planet.

    Perhaps a comparison of the rate of such violent crime in some of, for example, Canada’s “big cities” (a country where there are very strict limits and controls on the possession and use of firearms) versus the USA will better illustrate my point.

    In 2007 for example, the homicide rate for the Canadian city of Toronto was 3.3 per 100,000 people. Now, that’s a lot of homicides!

    However, that rate PALES in comparison to other US cities like Detroit (33.8), Atlanta (19.7), Chicago (15.5), San Francisco (13.6), Boston (10.3) and New York City (6.3). What’s more, Toronto’s homicide rate is only marginally higher when compared to other large Canadian cities like Vancouver (3.1) and Montreal (2.6).

    Toronto’s robbery rate also ranks low, with 207.1 robberies per 100,000 people, compared to Detroit (675.1), Chicago (588.6), Los Angeles (348.5), Vancouver (266.2), New York City (265.9), Montreal (235.3) and San Diego (158.8).

    The low crime rate in Toronto has resulted in that city having a reputation as one of the safer cities in North America. Recent data from Statistics Canada also shows that crime has been falling steadily in Toronto’s census metropolitan area since 1998, a total drop of 33% for all crimes reported between the period 1998–2008.

    Now, all of this begs the obvious question: WHY?

    What’s so different about the crime rate (and particularly the homicide rate) in a large Canadian city like Toronto, as compared with equally large American cities like Detroit, or Atlanta, or Chicago?

    I still contend a LOT of that difference has to do with the fact that the ownership of guns (particularly handguns) is highly restricted in Canada.

    And Canada isn’t the only place that enjoys a low crime rate because guns are outlawed.
    Singapore is well known for strict restriction on gun ownership. Gun ownership is restricted for sports shooting and owners are required to have their guns secured at the armory of a registered club.

    And, as Singapore (like Canada) has strict controls on firearms, hardly any crime is committed with guns. Indeed, Singapore’s overall crime rate is one of the lowest in the world.. In fact, their Regional Security Officer (RSO) recorded that the total cases of criminal homicide in the country at the end of 2007 was approximately…are you ready for this…

    EIGHT!

    That’s NOT eight hundred or eight thousand…that’s EIGHT! And THIS in a country of nearly 5 MILLION people!

    So, please don’t continue trying to make the case that widespread gun ownership is NOT a significant contributor to a country’s high homicide rate and that we, as private citizens, are somehow “safer” when we are all armed to the teeth.

    It would seem that these comparative statistics are telling us something else entirely.

  5. Wayne K Dolik

    April 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    “Toronto’s robbery rate also ranks low, with 207.1 robberies per 100,000 people, compared to Detroit (675.1), Chicago (588.6), Los Angeles (348.5), Vancouver (266.2), New York City (265.9), Montreal (235.3) and San Diego (158.8).”

    All the above citys are gun controlled jurisdictions. I rest my case.

    • Keith

      April 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      WHAT case, Wayne?

    • Jon

      April 7, 2013 at 6:26 am

      I’d rather be robbed than murdered.

      J.

  6. Wayne K Dolik

    April 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    My point is that, gun control zones are a magnet for mass murder. More people are killed in Chicago every year, than in Afganistan! Gun free zones in schools is a cruel joke on the American public.

    And, the silence on legal pharma drugs, like Zolof, is the big lie. Most of the mass shootings can be blamed on legal psychotropic drugs. Let the conversation begin.

    • Keith

      April 8, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Hmmmmm….

      Funny, but the “Gun Control Zone” that is the country of Canada doesn’t seem to be a “magnet for mass murder”.

      Indeed, it’s quite the opposite, as the statistics I’ve outlined above clearly show.

      All of which now begs the obvious question: If one needs to be armed to the teeth in the USA in order to feel “safe”, perhaps that’s because there are now 270 million firearms (or about 89 firearms per 100 people) in private hands in the USA versus a far smaller number in Canada.

      As far as persons on Zoloft is concerned, as I’ve said, we have our share of “nut cases” here in Canada as well. The key difference is that, in the USA, those people ALSO have relatively free access to firearms.

      Indeed, while guns alone don’t kill people, it still takes BOTH a person AND a gun to do the deed. Remove (or the other) from the equation and the deed (at least with a firearm) doesn’t happen.

      • Jon

        April 11, 2013 at 7:30 am

        “Guns are like lawyers: The only reason you need one is because the other guy’s got one”.

        Let the conversation end. Do the drugs pull the trigger? I thought not.

        J.