Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Despite sobering statistics of gun deaths in Alaska, the Alaska State Troopers report progress is being made to reduce these incidents.
Alaska had the highest rate of gun related deaths in the nation in 2014. Guns deaths were the third leading cause of death in the state, costing 385 lives. 62% of Alaska residents owned guns in 2016.
These statistics show it might be a tough job for law enforcement to cut into the amount of deaths, both accidental, and intentional.
Alaska State Trooper Lt. Chad Goeden said gun owners have a responsibility to be safe, know how to be safe and teach others to be safe around firearms. His best advice are to follow four basic rules, "All guns are always loaded, never let the muzzle cover anything your not willing to destroy, keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and you have decided to fire, and be sure of the target and the surroundings and beyond."
Goeden said they push these safety tips whenever they get the chance because it saves lives, "We wouldn't be having this conversation if people abide by these safety rules."
Goeden said public education has helped reduce the number of accidental gun deaths, "I think so. It is kind of a catch-22. On the one hand I do think people are getting safer with guns. Statistically, negligent shootings have gone down for years and the number of gun deaths are going down. On the other hand with social media the ones that do happen are in front of the public more. The public perception is things are getting worse and there are more negligent shootings. That is not what the statistics show."
Goeden also said he supports locking up guns in safes and to purchase gun locks. He said hunters are allowed to have loaded guns in vehicles but it isn't a good idea.