OPINION | Barry Richard: Enforce Existing Gun Laws
The most guns seem to be where there are fewer people and fewer incidents of gun violence.
It is very difficult to say exactly how many guns there are in America and who owns them. In 2015, the industry journal "Injury Prevention" conducted a nationwide survey of 4,000 adults to try and gauge as best as possible where the majority of gun owners live. The representative survey found that Delaware had the fewest gun owners, roughly 5.2 percent of the population. The national average is 29.1 percent.
How did the Northeast states fare in the study? Check the following results:
- Rhode Island 5.7%
- New York 10.3%
- New Jersey 11.3%
- New Hampshire 14.4%
- Connecticut 16.6%
- Massachusetts 22.6%
- Maine 22.6%
- Vermont 28.8%
Here are the top ten states for gun ownership:
- Hawaii 45.1%
- North Dakota 47.9%
- Alabama 48.8%
- New Mexico 49.9%
- Montana 52.3%
- Wyoming 53.8%
- West Virginia 54.2%
- Idaho 56.9%
- Arkansas 57.9%
- Alaska 61.7%
By comparison, gun ownership in the northeast is well below the national average while in many states where animals far outnumber people it is way above average. Funny, most of the states with high gun ownership are seldom in the national news for gun related violence.
I am not a fan of guns, but I do support the 2nd Amendment and defend anyone's legitimate right to own a gun.
I do believe that where law abiding citizens are allowed to carry guns the threat of mass violence diminishes. Many churches have begun arming themselves in recent years as the number of parishioners being targeted has increased. Some school districts have allowed trained personnel to carry concealed weapons in order to defend their charges.
Simply demanding "gun control" when acts of violence occur is not the answer. Enforcing existing laws and better coordinated data can go a long way to reducing gun violence. The Texas church massacre several weeks ago was at the hands of a man who should have never had a gun, yet he was allowed to purchase four weapons in two states.
The way to reduce gun violence is to do a better job of preventing the criminal, the insane and anyone else not entitled to gaining possession of a weapon from doing so, not by over regulating law abiding citizens or striping their right to own guns.
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
Source information: Injury Prevents, CBS News