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Massachusetts Ranks Third Lowest for Gun-Related Deaths in Nation

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Massachusetts ranks among the states with the least amount of gun-related deaths, ranking much lower than the national average.

According to a new study conducted by the Violence Policy Center, Massachusetts ranks 3rd lowest for gun-related deaths with 3.84 gun-related deaths per 100,000, which is much lower than the 10.38 national average. The Violence Policy Center concluded that states with better gun laws and lower gun ownership had fewer deaths than states with weak gun laws and higher ownership.

“Gun violence is preventable, and states can pass effective laws that will dramatically reduce gun death and injury,” states Violence Policy Center Executive Director Josh Sugarmann. “Our analysis also shows that states with weak gun violence prevention laws and easy access to guns pay a severe price with gun death rates far above the national average.”

Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana were the top five states on the list of most gun-related deaths. Rhode Island had the lowest amount of gun-related deaths with Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey following behind.

Not All Laws are Helpful

While this study shows that an increase of laws and regulations leads to fewer deaths, Jim Wallace – the Executive Director of the Gun Owners Action League – says that in Massachusetts, laws have not always been beneficial.

Wallace points to the gun-control legislation passed in 1998, which banned semi-automatic weapons, imposed strict licensing laws, and prevented those who had been convicted of a violent crime to carry or purchase a gun, as one piece of legislation that didn’t work out.

Although labeled as the toughest gun-control legislation in the country, evidence shows that crime has not decrease, but rather has increased, since the law was signed. Between 1998 and 2011, murders with firearms jumped from 65 to 122. Robberies with firearms increased rose 20.7-percent and aggravated assaults jumped 26.7-percent in the same time period.

“The problem with most of these laws is that they go after law abiding citizens and not criminals,” said Wallace. “It is pretty clear that creating additional laws does not make crime go down. Looking at the current gun bill, we are pairing up a lot of different issues n the same bill which makes it hard for anyone to agree to.”

Great Accomplishment, More to be Done

While having one of the lowest gun-related death ratings in the country is a huge accomplishment, many involved in creating more gun laws and regulations feel that there is more that can be done.

Sheila Decter, the Director of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, believes that more can be done on the safety and culture fronts for guns. Instead of standing still with the current accomplishment, Decter wants to see all gun-related deaths in Massachusetts eliminated.

“There are still young people who are being killed on the streets,” said Decter. “We shouldn’t be satisfied until we figure out how to improve safety and culture around guns. We want to make sure that the culture around guns is safer both in purchasing and in education.”


Related Slideshow: The Influence of Gun Money in New England States

New Data from The Sunlight Foundation shows state-by-state breakdowns for donations to groups on both sides of the gun debate. The money went toward candidates, political parties, and political action committees (PACs), but doesn't include donations to independent or so-called “super PACs”.


See how much money went to candidates in each of the New England States in the slides below.

Prev Next

Rhode Island

State Candidates

Control $: 0

Rights $: 229650

Federal Candidates

Control $: 19557

Rights $: 5612

Prev Next


State Candidates

Control $: 2850

Rights $: 20538

Federal Candidates

Control $: 54058

Rights $: 104579

Prev Next


State Candidates

Control $: 8325

Rights $: 51700

Federal Candidates

Control $: 27318

Rights $: 142505

Prev Next


State Candidates

Control $: 4076

Rights $: 56200

Federal Candidates

Control $: 43666

Rights $: 121596

Prev Next


State Candidates

Control $: 0

Rights $: 40330

Federal Candidates

Control $: 4500

Rights $: 7550

Prev Next

New Hampsire

State Candidates

Control $: 1500

Rights $: 22475

Federal Candidates

Control $: 34337

Rights $: 293560


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