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Gun Death Rates Down In Connecticut Despite National Jump

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A new analysis finds gun deaths in the U.S. have increased by 17 percent over the last decade. But Connecticut is among a small number of states that has seen a decline in gun death rates and researchers point to the state’s strict gun laws.

According to the Violence Policy Center, Connecticut had the fifth lowest gun death rate in the country in 2016. Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Center, wasn’t surprised.

“Connecticut had a very strong base of gun laws for decades,” Rand said. “And then after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, Connecticut was really the leader in responding with smart improvements to your gun laws. So Connecticut has always been at the forefront and you’re reaping the benefits.”

Rand said they consistently find higher gun death rates in states with lax gun laws and higher rates of gun ownership. Conversely, in the states with lower death rates, there are stronger gun laws and lower gun ownership rates.

Connecticut had approximately five deaths per 100,000 residents in 2016 and a gun ownership rate of about 22 percent. Compare that to Alaska, the state with the highest rate of firearm deaths, at about 24 per 100,000 and a gun ownership rate of more than 56 percent.

The rates include homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings.

Massachusetts had the lowest gun death rate in the nation followed by New York, Hawaii, and Rhode Island.

Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.

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