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Gun Deaths Increase in Mississippi

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Gun Deaths Increase in Mississippi
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(L-R) Roger Stringer, his late son Justin and Zachary.
Roger Stringer Facebook

Mississippi ranks among the top five states in the country with high rates of gun deaths according to a recent analysis. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.

The Violence Policy Center says Mississippi is number four, for the highest rates of gun deaths based on recently released 2016 data. It shows more than half of Mississippi households own a gun. The study also shows out of every 100,000 people in Mississippi, twenty are killed by firearms. That includes suicide, homicide, and unintentional shootings.

Roger Stringer is the father of Zachary, who was 15 when he unintentionally shot and killed his younger brother Justin. Stringer says if he had not owned guns, his son would still be alive.

"My oldest son had gotten a gun out, it was loaded and he stood up off the couch. When he stood up off the couch, the gun went off. Well, it killed his little brother," said Stringer.

Kristen Rand, with the Violence Policy Center, believes tightening Mississippi's gun laws could help prevent related deaths.
"Your rates are much much higher than the states with the lowest rates. So, it's clear that the two factors of having stronger gun laws and lower rates of household gun ownership contribute to overall lower gun death rates.

In 2016, there were 587 gun deaths in Mississippi.