Video: Miss. Ranks High In Gun-Related Deaths
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – If you want to see Mississippi at the top of a list, this may not be the one.
A recent study by the CDC and the FBI shows Mississippi ranks third in the country with highest number of gun-related deaths. The CDC also uses accidents and suicide by gun to come up with their list. They also take poverty and education in each state into account.
Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant has seen his share of gun-related deaths.
“We have seen an increase, it’s not a gigantic increase but we have seen an increase,” said Merchant.
While stricter gun laws have been the center of many debates, Merchant says there is no quick solution for the problem.
“It’s probably the safest thing for everybody to do is own a gun responsibility. But I’m not sure there is a fix to the madness we’re seeing right now,” added Merchant.
West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley says his officers have been responding to more gun-related calls.
“We are dealing with the fact, not perception, that firearms are more prevalent,” said Brinkley.
Brinkley also says most people who misuse guns obtain them illegally.
“We know that guns are the target for a lot of thefts. We know that and there have been some instances where we recovered guns and we had a hit on them through NCI saying the gun was reported stolen in another state and those are floating around everywhere,” said Brinkley.
Another contributing factor to gun-violence is younger teenagers now have easy access.
“In any of our communities, we can give a kid, 13 or 14 years old a $100 dollar bill and within 24 hours, I would be confident in saying he can come back with a gun,” said Brinkley.
While there may be no quick solution to gun-violence, Brinkley says police need a strong community support system.
” We get calls about our vehicle came through or some shots were fired, we saw some guys walking down the street, one had a gun then some shots were fired. When the police get there, nobody saw anything or we get told about it the next day. There were some shots fired yesterday in my neighborhood, we find rounds on the street the day before, nobody called us. We want our citizens to be vigilant to be safe,” added Brinkley.
Many local areas are hosting community education forums on how to stay safe in dangerous situations.