Alabama ranks No.4 in gun death numbers

Published 8:23 pm Monday, June 7, 2010

The Violence Policy Center has released new information linking lax gun laws to high rates of gun-related death, and Alabama has been ranked No. 4 on a national list.

The VPC is a national non-profit educational organization working to reduce firearm-related death and injury.

It has concluded that the states with the highest per capita gun death rates were Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Alabama, and Nevada.

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According to the VPC, “Each of these states had a per capita (per person) gun death rate far exceeding the national per capita gun death rate of 10.34 per 100,000 for 2007.”

Its findings also indicate that each of the states ranked in the top five have more relaxed gun laws and higher gun ownership rates.

Its statistics show that 57.2 percent of Alabama households, more than half, own guns, and the gun death rate per 100,000 equals about 17.55. Its numbers come from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

“The equation is simple,” said Kristen Rand, legislative director for the VPC.

“More guns lead to more gun death, but limiting exposure to firearms saves lives.”

Pike County has had very few gun related deaths in the last two years.

The most recent and gruesome gun related death involved an Ozark man, Thomas Junior McClain, taking the life of an Ozark woman, Debra S. Floyd, then taking his own life.

Moses Davenport, Brundidge police chief, says that there are rarely any gun related deaths in Brundidge.

“Occasionally, we do have some gun use, but seldom is anyone hurt,” he said. “It’s been years since someone was killed with a gun, at least seven years.”

Benny Scarbrough, of the Troy police department, said in Troy there were two gun related deaths in 2008, one in 2009 and none so far this year.

Alabama’s laws regarding gun control are seemingly relaxed.

The National Rifle Association lists various firearm rules by state.

According to the NRA’s records, Alabama does not require registration, permits to purchase or licensing of owners for rifles, shotguns and/or handguns.

However, the state does require a permit to carry, but only for handguns.

The state of New York, was actually one of the states ranked among the lowest in gun death rates.

18.1 percent of New York households owned guns, a 39.1 percentage point difference between it and Alabama.

Their gun death rate per 100,000 is 5.07.

Their state laws regarding guns are comparatively stronger.

Handgun owners must have a permit to to purchase and be licensed, as well as have their gun(s) registered.

Last year, Alabama was ranked No. 2 in states with the highest number of gun deaths, so the state improved its ranking.

However, this is not due to fewer deaths, but rather the increased death rate numbers in other states.