Kentucky is in a deadly national gun violence epidemic, and the number of deadly shootings by local law enforcement has skyrocketed since 2015, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
While the number is still small—less than 1% of the U.S. population—Kentucky ranks seventh among the 50 states in terms of gun violence incidents per 100,000 residents.
Kentucky, along with the District of Columbia, is home to one of the most deadly states in the country, with 1,817 gun violence deaths in 2016.
According to the Bureau, there were 842,723 firearm-related deaths in Kentucky in 2016, and that number will increase by 5,852 to 1,863,879 by 2021.
The FBI reported that the number of homicides in Kentucky rose by 1,932 from 2015 to 2016.
Kentucky’s gun violence is not just a state-wide issue, but it is a national one, according the National Rifle Association.
“It’s a national problem, not just in Kentucky, but across the country,” Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s Executive Vice President, told the Washington Post.
John Bel Edwards (R) told the Washington Post that he has “serious concerns” about how the number will rise in his state, and said he is looking into how to “do something about it.”
LaPierre told the Post that the “biggest factor” in Louisiana’s gun-related death toll is the “out-of-control rates” of gun ownership in the state.
As the Washington Times reports, Louisville Metro Police Detective Stephen Wray told the newspaper that he believes that Kentucky has “an extremely high rate of gun deaths” and “a lot of guns in the hands of people who should not have them.”
Louisianans for Responsible Gun Owners, an organization founded by LaPierre and the NRA, issued a statement Tuesday saying that the state “has the highest gun death rate in the nation,” and that “The numbers are staggering and cannot be ignored.
A staggering 1,800 people have been shot and killed in Louisville since the beginning of 2016.
They were not just the dead, they were also the injured, the wounded, and those who were just trying to get to work.
That is why we are calling on Governor Edwards to immediately take action to stem the tide of violence.”
The statement also said that “the only way to stop this is by enforcing gun laws and putting people’s lives on the line every single day.
There is a gun violence crisis in Louisville, but we cannot solve it by ignoring it.
We have to do something.”
(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)