Guns alone are not the problem

Published 11:18 pm Monday, June 22, 2009

Being ranked second at something isn’t always a good thing. We learned recently some unsettling news: the state of Alabama ranks second in the nation when it comes to the number of gun-related deaths per capita.

A study conducted by the Violence Policy Center found the above statistic as well as that a majority of Alabama households have guns.

The top five states on the list were listed as follows: Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi and Nevada.

Alabama’s rate of 16.99 deaths per 100,000 residents was significantly higher than the national average of 10.32 per 100,000.

In 2006, when Alabama had a population of close to 4.6 million, the state had 780 gun-related deaths, including 400 suicides and 333 homicides.

But what is the answer to this problem? On the surface, it might seem like a good idea to reduce the number of guns in households. But efforts to accomplish this have often resulted in the opposite effect.

Part of the solution lies with gun owners themselves. We must be responsible gun owners, especially in cases where there are children in the same household. That means seeing that children do not have access to these weapons. It also means educating our kids to respect firearms.

Sadly, when guns are part of the equation in domestic violence cases, the result is often tragic.

The study also found that many of the high-ranked states added little teeth to federal gun laws. Perhaps it’s time to take a deeper look into this issue.