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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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Louisiana has the highest gun death rate in the United States

Louisiana has the highest gun death rate in the United States

The judge in the Colorado theater shooting case asked the jurors if they heard or read anything about the Lafayette theater shooting. He wanted to make sure that a possible copycat incident would not affect the jurors’ judgments either way.

Could the deaths of these two innocent people have been avoided if our gun culture were different?
Mayci Breaux, age 21 of Franklin, LA was a student at LSU Eunice and worked at a boutique. Jillian Johnson, age 33 of Lafayette, operated a gift and toy shop in Lafayette and played ukulele and guitar for a band called The Figs. Both were a tragic loss!

Unfortunately, this mass killing has put Louisiana into the national spotlight. Louisiana leads the nation with the Highest Gun Death Rate. While number of households having guns in the Pelican State is not the highest (45.6%, some are over 60%), we have the highest number of people dying from gun related occurrences: 18.91 per 100,000 people.

Mass shootings have also gone up. A Harvard research team that analyzed data from 1982 to 2011, showed that mass shootings occurred every 200 days on average. Since late 2011, they found that mass shootings have occurred at triple that rate – every 64 days on average.

Some people say, “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” However, statistics prove that the more guns that are available, the more people are killed by guns.

The states with the highest percent of households with guns have the most deaths per 100,000 people. The states with the lowest number of household with guns have the fewest number of deaths per 100,000 people. For example, in New York only 18.1% of households have guns and the death rate is 5.11 per 100,000 people. Compare that with Louisiana.

The United States is way ahead of any other civilized country in firearms assaults. We have five times more gun assaults than the next country, Portugal. The ratio is much higher for the other countries.

Gun suicides are becoming far more common than gun-related homicides, accounting for 64 percent of all gun deaths in 2012. Suicides have become especially common among older white men. This might be because Americans identify who we are by our jobs. When men retire, they become “nobodies”. They are not regarded as “elders” of the community with wisdom to share.

The number of deaths in the U.S. by motor vehicles is 33,804. The number of deaths in the U.S. by firearms is 33,636. A while back, motor vehicle death far exceeded gun deaths. Gun deaths will probably surpass motor vehicle deaths this year. Why are the figures going down for motor vehicles and up for guns?

The NRA has persuaded many people to believe that the right to bear arms is an absolute right.

In the majority decision of the Supreme Court in the Heller case, Antonin Scalia wrote: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

Why not treat guns the same way we deal with automobiles? Register all guns. Prohibit the transfer or possession of weapons from getting into the hand of criminals or the mentally ill. Impose a realistic waiting period for people trying to buy weapons so that they can make a thorough background check. Allow local governments to regulate firearms. Stop glorifying gun killings.

Some common sense Christian principles can change our violent culture. We have to ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”