Local news reports
The Violence Policy Center has just released a report that says that in American in 2013, Louisiana was only second only to Alaska in the number of gun deaths per capita.
You might be inclined to put a positive spin on that news - because the
last report from the group put Louisiana at the very top of American
The VPC draws a strong correlation between rates of gun ownership and rates of gun deaths.
But that seems to be a rather obvious point: sort of like saying that
the number of children drowning inside their homes increased with indoor
plumbing. It's not necessarily shocking that the number of gun deaths
in a state jibe somewhat with the number of guns owned by residents of
Besides, relative to the other states that lead the nation in gun
deaths, Louisiana's gun-ownership rate is low. With a 45.6 percent rate
of household gun ownership, Louisiana trails Wyoming, Mississippi and
Alabama. Yet it has more gun deaths than all of them.
So, assuming the accuracy of the figures the Violence Policy Center
is using, there's something other than the mere presence of guns that's
driving deaths from guns.
What is it? I'm sure folks here - at least when they feel safe in
doing so - would say that it's the presence of black people that drives
up the rate of gun deaths. But there aren't many black folks in Alaska -
only 3.9 percent. And black people make up only 1.7 percent of the
population in Wyoming, the state that rounds out the top five in gun
deaths. The presence of those two states on the list should help us talk
about guns and gun deaths in a way that doesn't fixate on supposed