Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Finds Strong Link Between Alaska Weak Gun Laws and a High Rates of Gun Violence
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Finds Strong Link Between Alaska Weak Gun Laws and a High Rates of Gun Violence

Report shows that the 10 States with Weakest Gun Laws Collectively Have Three Times More Gun Violence than the 10 States with the Strongest Gun Laws

Washington, D.C. — A new Center for American Progress report released today has found that Alaska ranks second in the nation for the overall rate of gun violence.  Alaska also ranked particularly high in a few individual categories of gun violence, ranking first in the nation for rates of gun-related suicide and second for rates of gun deaths among people younger than 21. The Center for American Progress has also published an interactive map that links to state specific fact sheets providing detailed information about gun violence in Alaska.

The report analyzes 10 specific indicators of gun violence in all 50 states and found that the 10 states with the weakest gun laws collectively have levels of gun violence that are more than three times higher than  the 10 states with the strongest gun laws.

“There is an unquestionable link between the strength of Alaska’s gun laws and the rates of gun violence in the state,” said Chelsea Parsons, Vice President for Guns and Crime Policy at CAP. “While strong gun laws are certainly not the only factor impacting levels of gun violence, it is undeniable that Americans in states with stronger gun laws are safer from gun violence than those in states with weaker laws. Lawmakers in Alaska should strongly consider strengthening gun laws in order to reduce gun deaths and make all of Alaska’s communities safer.

The report looks at 10 critical indicators of gun violence in the United States, including overall gun deaths; gun suicides, homicides and accidents; mass shootings; intimate partner gun homicides of women; gun deaths of people younger than age 21; law enforcement feloniously killed with a gun; fatal shootings by police; and the rate at which crime guns are exported. By comparing the data from all 50 states to the corresponding grade from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s “2015 State Law Scorecard”—which rates the strength of state gun laws—the report found a striking correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws and the rates of gun violence in that state.

“This report should be a call to action for every Alaskan that wants to reduce gun violence in our state,” said Alaska Rep. Geran Tarr (D). “The painful reality is that for years our rates of gun related suicides have put us at the top of the list with rates 137 percent times the national average. And, while we frequently discuss our high rates of domestic violence rarely does that discussion acknowledge that Alaska also is in the top-10 for the number of gun related murders by intimate partners. We can both support the Second Amendment and make commonsense changes that will help reduce gun violence in our state and make all Alaskans safer.”

The report offers common sense recommendations that policymakers in Alaska should consider to reduce gun violence, including closing the private sale loophole and requiring background checks for all gun sales, prohibiting domestic abusers and stalkers from gun possession, banning or more strictly regulating assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and investing in community-based violence prevention programs.

Click here to read the report.

View an interactive map.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at tcaiazza@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7141.