By Associated Press - Sunday, January 21, 2018

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - People killed by gunfire in Alabama have increased 22 percent within a seven-year period.

The Violence Policy Center states the gunfire death rate was the second highest in the United States with 21.51 fatalities per 100,000 people, reported . The number of people killed by gunfire in the U.S. increased by 17 percent.

The gunfire deaths included in the statistics are homicides, suicides and accidental shootings.

The report states Alaska is the only other state with a higher rate of gunfire deaths than Alabama with 23.86 fatalities per 100,000 people. The state with the lowest rate is Massachusetts with 3.55 per 100,000 people.

The report links an increase in gunfire deaths to a 2008 Supreme Court case, District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the justices affirmed the rights of people to have pistols in their homes for self-defense.

The report also shows that not all states witnessed an increase in gun deaths. Rhode Island’s rate decreased by nearly 13 percent.

The report is an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention.

The Violence Police Center, founded in 1988, is based in Washington, D.C. The center researches and advocates for stricter gun legislation.

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