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Is Arizona a gun-nut state?

Amongst other things, Arizona is often described as a gun nut state. But, does it deserve the reputation?

The Violence Prevention Council thinks so. Its research finds Arizona to be one of 14 states where gun-related deaths outnumber traffic fatalities. The council is concerned because it’s been that way for at least three years in Arizona.

For example, in 2011, 964 people were killed with guns in Arizona, while 872 people were killed in car accidents.

Gun related deaths are described as “murders, suicides, accidents, police shootings and other unclassified shootings.”

So, are there too many guns in Arizona?

It’s not quite that simple.

Last year, Guns & Ammo did rank Arizona as the most gun friendly state in the nation. The Copper State earned the top ranking because there are no permit requirements to carry a concealed weapon, it is easy to own modern sporting rifles and because the state has a “stand your ground” law.

Arizona lawmakers are very pro-2nd Amendment, often passing legislation making it easier, instead of restricting, access to firearms.

Those facts leave the impression that guns are everywhere in the state. Not true, Rolling Stone said. The magazine just released data on gun prevalence in the United States. Arizona didn’t even crack the top 10. In fact, it ranked 31st.

According to Rolling Stone, Arizona’s firearm death rate is right about average and the state’s murder count is slightly below average when compared to the rest of the country.

While some Arizonans remain nuts about guns, not everyone is.

Several groups have tried to paint that picture, connecting the freedom to purchase firearms to deaths around the country. As the Rolling Stone data shows, the correlation isn’t always that simple (see Florida, Washington, D.C. and the Dakotas).

The true problem in Arizona is irresponsibility, not lax gun laws or the availability of guns. Unfortunately the numbers say there are too many irresponsible gun owners in the state. That’s not something lawmakers can easily fix.

The Violence Prevention Council is hoping to help solve the problem by expanding gun safety education programs. Gun safety is also something responsible gun owners also take seriously.

Maybe the two groups can use this common ground to combine forces and work together to do something about the problem. This might be only thing about guns they can agree on. What’s even better is it just might work.

If only Congress would do the same.