Isles lowest in gun deaths
Strict laws bring fewer fatalities, the Violence Policy Center says
Hawaii ranks the lowest of 50 states in gun deaths per capita, which is attributable to its tough gun laws and low rates of gun ownership, according to the Violence Policy Center.
"That is a glowing endorsement of Hawaii's strict enforcement of strict gun laws, which I wholeheartedly endorse," said city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle. "This is very good news, and we should keep following the path we've been following for years, which is intolerance when guns are used criminally."
The nonprofit Violence Policy Center, which advocates gun control, issued its analysis yesterday of data for 2005 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hawaii had 2.2 gun deaths per 100,000 population, well below the national per capita gun death rate of 10.32. Hawaii's household gun ownership is at 9.7 percent of households. Hawaii was followed by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York, in that order, for the lowest gun death rates.
The five states with the highest per capita gun death rates are Louisiana, No. 1, followed by Alaska, Montana, Tennessee and Alabama.
Maxwell Cooper, legislative co-chairman for the Hawaii Rifle Association, said, "I think that VPC has juggled the statistics to support themselves."
Cooper said, "Strict gun laws have no relationship to criminal abuse of firearms because criminals don't respond to laws."
He attributes Hawaii's low gun death rate to a law-abiding citizenry and its isolation, which he said makes it difficult for mainland criminals to infiltrate the state.