As Tennessee prepares again to allow guns in restaurants that serve alcohol, a nationwide survey by gun-control advocates said the state ranked seventh in gun-related deaths, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel. The legislature has voted to override Gov. Phil Bredesen’s veto of the latest bill that would allow holders of gun-carry permits to take their weapons inside any restaurant selling alcohol, although individual restaurant owners could still ban guns on their property.
The survey by the Virginia-based Violence Policy Center said Tennessee had a gun-related death rate of 15.03 per 100,000 people. That’s above a national average of about 10 gun deaths per 100,000, according to the survey. Louisiana topped the list, with a death rate of 19.87 per 100,000 and a household gun ownership rate of 45.6 percent. Hawaii came in last, with a death rate of 2.82 per 100,000 and a household gun ownership rate of 9.7 percent. Gun-rights advocates called the numbers skewed. They said the survey fails to account, for example, for the nationwide drop in violent crime since the 1970s that parallels a rise in gun ownership, or the cases when criminals flee at the sight of an intended victim’s gun.