Center for American Progress

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

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

Washington, D.C. — A new Center for American Progress report released today has found that Mississippi ranks third in the nation for the overall rate of gun violence. Mississippi also ranked particularly high in a few individual categories of gun violence, ranking second in the nation for rates of gun-related homicides and third for rates of law enforcement officers killed with a gun. 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 Mississippi.

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 Mississippi’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 Mississippi should strongly consider strengthening gun laws in order to reduce gun deaths and make all of Mississippi’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.

“Finally, Mississippi ranks number three in a national report, but unfortunately it’s in a new national ranking of states with the worst gun violence,” said Oleta Garrett Fitzgerald, executive director, Children’s Defense Fund’s Mississippi office. “This should come as no surprise when we see the proliferation of guns in the hands of young people and gun violence in our communities at astronomical rates. Where and how are these children getting these guns? By way of Mississippi’s lax gun laws and turning a blind eye to gun purveyors in low income communities.”

The report offers commonsense recommendations that policymakers in Mississippi 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.