Study: Del. worse than average in gun murders and assaults

349px-Seal_of_DelawareDOVER — Delaware is in the middle of the pack among the 50 states when it comes to overall gun violence but is worse than average in gun murders and assaults, a new study finds.

A report from the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, ranks the state 29th in the country for gun violence rates.

The findings indicate Delaware has a high rate of gun homicides, although it ranks as better than average in terms of gun accidents and mass shootings.

The state had 867 gun deaths from 2005 to 2014, according to federal data analyzed by the center. Delaware ranks 15th among the states for gun-related murders, with 4.44 such deaths per 100,000 people from 2005 to 2014.

A total of 463 people in the state committed suicide with a gun in that timespan.

The state is third in aggravated assaults, with 92 incidents per 100,000 people, and it is 20th in gun deaths of people younger than 21, with 4.5 for every 100,000 people.
About three-quarters of those killed in shootings in Delaware are black.

Wilmington has been called “Murdertown” for its high rate of violent crimes, many of which involved firearms.

According to the Center for American Progress, states with less stringent gun laws tend to have more gun violence. In recent years, Delaware has passed legislation requiring background checks on private sales, providing a method for authorities to take guns from the mentally ill and limiting gun access for those given restraining orders.

“From impeding illegal straw purchases to closing the gun show and Charleston loopholes to getting guns out of the hands of dangerous domestic abusers, Delaware has made a lot of progress in recent years,” Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington, said in a statement. “But this report underscores the significance of the work that remains, particularly in the areas of suicide prevention and curbing gun violence in our largest cities.”

In a statement, Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence Executive Director Erik Raser-Schramm called for lawmakers and advocates to make further changes in an effort to reduce gun violence.

By region, the Northeast ranked lowest in terms of gun violence, while the South was highest.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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