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RELEASE: CAP Report Finds Strong Link Between Louisiana’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 Louisiana ranks first in the nation for the overall rate of gun violence. A person is killed with a gun in Louisiana every 10 hours, and more people were killed with guns in the state from 2005 to 2014 than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in combat in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. 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 Louisiana.

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

Kim Sport, public policy chairman, United Way of Southeast Louisiana:

Louisiana being once again at the top of a “bad” list is disheartening at best, particularly considering that the Violence Policy Center recently found that Louisiana had jumped from fourth to second for states with the highest number of women killed by intimate partners. I am encouraged that none of these studies take into consideration crime statistics complied following Louisiana’s 2014 legislation which disarmed persons subject to protective orders or convicted of domestic abuse battery, but these laws will have little impact until our legislature creates a mechanism for the surrender and safekeeping of firearms owned by prohibited possessors. We also cannot ignore the senseless child deaths in our state due to firearms; certainly laws can be passed which keep guns out of the hands of children to prevent accidental deaths. The police deaths are personal to me since my grandfather was a sheriff’s deputy shot and killed in the line of duty, but every gun death is personal where a loved one has been lost. We live in Sportsman’s Paradise, where hunters undergo background checks to purchase legal firearms. If our legislature would listen to law-abiding gun owners, they would find overwhelming support to ensure the safety of its citizens, particularly women, children and police officers in Louisiana.

The report offers common sense recommendations that policymakers in Louisiana 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.