xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

For some politicians, guns are the solution for cutting crime, from school shootings to campus rapes. The facts tell us otherwise. But facts are meaningless to those who choose to ignore them, and to those who choose to place the gun lobby ahead of citizen safety.

A study by the Violence Policy Center confirmed, once again, a direct relationship between household gun ownership per state with gun death rates per state. For example, Wyoming has the highest proportion of gun ownership in the United States with 63 percent of households owning guns. It is also fifth in the nation for gun deaths with a rate of 17.5 per 100,000 residents. Alaska has the highest gun death rate of 19.6 per 100,000 residents and the second highest number of households with guns in the nation at 61 percent.

Advertisement

Louisiana is second (19.15 gun death rate) and Alabama is third (17.79). Other states in the top 10 gun death rates are, in order: Mississippi, Wyoming, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New Mexico and South Carolina with a 15.60 gun death rate.

On the other end of the spectrum, states with the lowest household gun ownership percentages have the nation's lowest gun death rates. Hawaii has the lowest household gun ownership percentage (9.7 percent) and the lowest gun death rate (2.7 per 100,000 residents). Massachusetts has the second lowest gun ownership percentage (12.8 percent) rate and the second lowest gun death rate of 3.2 deaths per 100,000 residents. Others states with the lowest gun death rates include: New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Minnesota and California with a gun death rate of 7.89 deaths per 100,000 residents.

The data clearly show that as household gun ownership increases from state to state across the United States, gun death rates increase. A complete list is found on the Violence Policy Center website, http://www.vpc.org.

Maryland has a gun death rate of 9.75 per 100,000 residents and is the 15th lowest in households with guns. This data, as well as the other data presented here, compares to the national gun death average rate of 10.64 per 100,000 citizens.

According to the Violence Policy Center, the number of Americans killed by guns was 32,351 in 2011 and over 33,000 in 2014. The American gun death rate of 10.64 per 100,000 citizens compares to a rate of 0.23 in Britain and 0.86 in Australia. Both Britain and Australia have strict gun control laws.

American politicians seem to be more concerned with protecting the NRA and gun manufacturers than they are about protecting American citizens. As stated by Kristen Rand of the Violence Policy Center, "Teddy bears get tested to make sure they can withstand use and abuse by kids, but guns don't get tested to make sure they don't go off when accidentally dropped."

Texas universities no longer have the option of declaring their campuses gun-free zones. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a bill allowing guns on campuses, an idea promoted by the NRA, even though he stated during his campaign that he would allow universities to make their own rules about guns. Abbott apparently cares more about getting a good grade from the gun lobby, and getting re-elected, than the safety of his state's students.

Many states are also pushing to allow guns in our elementary, middle and high schools. What could possibly go wrong? Some states, like Kansas, are pushing to rid us of gun registration altogether so that anyone can purchase and carry a gun. Background checks; who needs them?

Advertisement

The research is clear that communities with more guns suffer from more deaths from guns. But this research is not stopping politicians from pushing more guns into our communities, even when communities don't want them. Isn't it time to tell our politicians that the lives of our children are more important than their campaign gifts from the gun lobby?

Tom Zirpoli writes from Westminster. His column appears on Wednesdays. Email him at tzirpoli@mcdaniel.edu.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement