RI has 2nd fewest gun deaths, policy group finds

Providence, R.I. – Rhode Island has the second lowest rate of gun deaths in the country. That word from the Violence Policy Center of Washington.

Of the 50 states, only Hawaii has fewer gun deaths per 100,000 residents than Rhode Island. The Violence Policy Center used 2007 crime data to draw its conclusions. The Center's legislative director, Kristen Rand, says the Ocean State has two thirds fewer gun deaths than the national average because so few Rhode Islanders own guns.

"Only 13.3 percent of Rhode Islanders own guns," Rand says. "And what we see is a very clear pattern that states with high rates of gun ownership, which also tend to have weak gun laws, have much higher rates of gun deaths than states with lower rates of gun ownership and stronger gun laws, which characterizes Rhode Island."

Joining Rhode Island in the bottom five firearm death states are Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. Louisiana ranked number one with nearly 20 deaths per 100,000 residents.