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OpinionColumnistsLane Filler

Is there a link between gun violence and restriction?

Rene Aguilar and Jackie Flores pray at a

Rene Aguilar and Jackie Flores pray at a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas on Sunday. Photo Credit: AP/Andres Leighton

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was all over the radio dial Monday morning in the wake of massacres in Texas and Ohio, saying New York gun laws are among the most restrictive in the United States. He demanded similar laws at the federal level.

Appearing on Long Island News Radio with host Jay Oliver, Cuomo said of the Democratic presidential candidates, “I’d put the question to them – it’s very simple – New York has the best gun laws in the nation. Will you pass the New York laws? And let the American people decide in the presidential [election] what they want to do about guns.”

Later Monday morning on 1010 WINS with host Sonia Rincon, Cuomo targeted President Donald Trump, who condemned white nationalism and made some vague calls for gun control over the past several days. “He’s very good at doing executive orders. Let him sign an executive order that says, ‘I declare an emergency in the United States of America because innocents are getting gunned down, and here’s my policy – ban assault weapons, ban high-capacity magazines, [have] universal background checks, [have] red flag laws. Let the Congress say he doesn’t have the authority and challenge it. But frame the issue.”

Those are among the most important restrictions New York has placed on guns, but is there a connection between gun violence in high- and low-restriction states? According to the Centers for Disease Control, New York’s rate of firearm fatalities was 3.7 per 100,000 residents in 2017, tied for second safest with Massachusetts. Hawaii had the lowest rate at 2.5 deaths per 100,000 residents. The numbers include homicides, suicides and accidents.

But even more compelling is that the gun-death rate for pretty much all states appears to be predictable by politics and the level of gun restrictions:

The states were divided by 2017 gun-death rates. The deadliest states, those with gun death rates of 14.1 to 18.5 deaths per 100,000 people, were Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada and Tennessee.

All of those states have fairly loose gun laws and all went to President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

The safest states, with death rates from 2.1 to 6.6 per 100,000 residents, included Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. All of these except New Hampshire have fairly or extremely restrictive gun laws. All went to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

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