In my opinion, all American citizens have the right to own a gun to protect their families and also to hunt. Without any doubt, the U.S. Constitution guarantees all of us that right and it should never be taken away. Reasonable gun control is needed, but it can’t be allowed to go too far in violation of the Constitution. I believe there can be reasonable limits on gun purchases that work and protect the public. Gun control must never become solely a political issue. Unfortunately, it has in some circles and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
It was reported last month that states with higher gun ownership rates and weak gun laws have the highest rates of gun death. This is according to an analysis by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) of the 2006 national data (the most recent available) from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The analysis reveals that the five states with the highest per capita gun death rates were Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi and Nevada. Each of these states had a per capita gun death rate far exceeding the national per capita gun death rate of 10.32 per 100,000 for 2006.
Each state has what VPC calls lax gun laws and higher gun ownership rates. By contrast, states with strong gun laws and low rates of gun ownership had far lower rates of firearm-related death, according to the analysis. I don’t believe ownership of guns is the problem, but instead, it’s the unregulated sale of certain types of weapons that I see as the big problem.
Ranking last in the nation for gun death was Hawaii, followed by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York. The VPC defined states with “weak” gun laws as those that add little or nothing to federal restrictions and have permissive concealed carry laws allowing civilians to carry concealed handguns. States with “strong” gun laws were defined as those that add significant state regulation in addition to federal law, such as restricting access to particularly hazardous types of firearms such as assault weapons, set minimum safety standards for firearms and/or require a permit to purchase a firearm, and have restrictive “concealed carry laws.”
The Violence Policy Center is a national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals. The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related death and injury. If you want more information on the states’ rankings, go to http://www.vpc.org/fadeathchart09.htm.
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