Editor: In the wake of the horrendous Orlando massacre, there have been renewed cries for more gun control.
In opposition to this position, I have heard the claim made that more guns actually make us safer. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Were that true, states with higher rates of household gun ownership should have lower gun death rates, when adjusted for population. More guns, should be positively related to fewer gun deaths. In fact, the relationship is exactly opposite. In 2014, the five states with the highest rates of household gun ownership also had the highest rates of gun deaths. The five states with the lowest rates of household gun ownership also had the lowest rates of gun deaths.
In 2014, the states with the highest household gun ownership rates were Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Montana. The average rate of household gun ownership was 55.3 percent. The average gun death rate per 100,000 residents was 18.2. This is substantially higher than the average rate of gun deaths in the nation of 10.7 per 100,000 residents. The five states with the lowest rates of household gun ownership in 2014 were Hawaii, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut. The average rate of household gun ownership for those five states was 17.4 percent, while the average gun death rate was 3.8 per 100,000 residents.
The conclusion is clear: The prevalence of guns does not result in lower gun death rates, but result in gun death rates significantly higher than the national average.
Randy Ihara, South Riding