Alabama ranks second nationally to Louisiana in gun deaths per capita, reports the Montgomery Advertiser. Also in the top five are Mississippi and Nevada, according to the Violence Policy Center. A gun store cited Alabama’s culture, history and wide expanses of rural areas. The VPC study showed that 57.2 percent of Alabama households own guns.
The study found that high gun ownership coupled with what it called weak gun laws makes for a dangerous combination. In states that fit that definition, gun death rates far exceed the national rate of 10.32 per 100,000 residents, according to federal statistics. Alabama’s rate was 16.99. Conversely, states with strong gun laws and low rates of gun ownership had far lower rates of firearm-related deaths. Last in the nation was Hawaii, followed by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York.