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Posted On: July 1, 2009 by Steven D. Eversole

Alabama Gun Owners: Avoid Injuries and Accidental Deaths by Locking Up Firearms

Looking around Alabama, I see many opportunities to reduce the number of injuries and even deaths that occur in the course of our daily activities. From Huntsville to Birmingham all the way down to Mobile, I’ve heard so many personal injury horror stories it’s amazing that more people aren’t hurt or killed simply by going about their life.

From cleaning gutters without taking the proper safety precautions to home electrocutions as a result of not installing ground fault circuit interrupter devices, many of these accidents can be prevented with a little forethought. And I won’t even go into industrial accidents and work-related injuries.

Even with all this, something got me thinking the other day when I heard a very grim statistic in the news. Did you know that Alabama is number two in the nation when it comes to gun-related deaths? We shouldn’t be surprised, since the number of gun accidents directly correlates to total gun ownership. Although most gun owners in our state are conscientious, we could still do a better job in regard to gun safety.

As a Birmingham personal injury lawyer, I must state that there are few events more devastating to a family and a community as a child hurt or killed by a family’s firearm. These are not toys, though kids don’t always know the difference, especially the young ones. Gun ownership is a right, but that right comes with a huge responsibility to your family, your neighborhood and society in general.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at the statistics. According to the National Education Association Health Information Network, the rate of firearm deaths among children under the age of 15 is nearly 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized nations combined. And sadly, American children are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than in all these other countries combined.

Some people may say they can’t prevent gun-related homicides involving kids, but there is an area that needs real attention. Deaths from family-owned firearms. Fact: American kids under 15 years old are 11 times more likely to commit suicide using a gun, and nine times more likely to die from a firearm accident than children in those other industrialized countries.

How do the numbers stack up? Louisiana has the highest rate of gun deaths -- almost 20 per 100,000 of the population -- with Alabama a close second at about 17 gun-related fatalities per 100,000 people. No surprise there, since 57.2 percent of Alabama households have guns, according to a spokesperson for the Violence Policy Center. Alaska, Mississippi and Nevada are the runners up in this gloomy assessment of firearm safety.

The bottom line, Alabama: Unload your guns and lock them up when not in use. Gun owners are the first line of defense against the senseless tragedies we read about in the news every day.

Alabama ranks second in gun deaths, TimeDaily.com, June 16, 2009

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