Report: Louisiana has highest rate of gun deaths in the nation

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Friday, June 20, 2014 - 7:00am

A new report says Louisiana has a higher rate of gun deaths than every other state in the country.

According to the Violence Policy Center, a pro-gun control organization, Louisiana had a gun death rate of 18.91 per 100,000 people. They based their findings on newly-released data from 2011 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Baton Rouge has had a high murder rate the last few years, but it is falling. Based on unofficial statistics provided by the Baton Rouge Police Department, close to 20 people have died this in shootings inside the city. Last year at this time, the number was closer to 30. The drop is partly because of programs like the BRAVE Project, which targets gang violence around the city.

"The BRAVE unit alone so far this year has taken around 37 illegal guns off the street," stated Cpl. Don Coppola, a police department spokesman.

Nearly half of all families in Louisiana own a gun according to the most recent research, a study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2005. A large number of those are for hunting. People here are likely more used to seeing guns than they are in other parts of the U.S., but that also increases the need for gun education.

"Especially Louisiana, being the Sportsman's Paradise, a lot of children start at a young age, even hunting," Coppola noted. "Gun safety education is very important, and you can never have enough."

The report claimed that one reason for our high death rate is that our laws are not tough enough. The authors believe that things like lifetime concealed carry permits lead to additional deaths.

BRPD recently started offering training courses for people who want concealed carry permits.

"We've had a great turnout," Coppola stated. "The interest is booming for these classes.
So what better yet than get the training from the top-notch firearm instructors of the Baton Rouge Police Department?

"They go through the home safety aspect of it, the laws, and just a good, overall, gun safety in general."

Warning young people about the danger of guns is evident based on the shooting deaths reported in the city so far this year. The average age of the suspects in those cases is approximately 22 years old, and the average age of the victims in 30. 

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