4/05/2010: Drunk Newtok man found with shotgun

One Response

  1. Gwen,

    While I often disagree with you, on this particular issue I did some research and I think you have highlighted something which is actually a significant and legitimate issue in AK.

    While the exact figures from the CDC and UAA were a bit fuzzy because the data on their website doesn’t breakout which firearms deaths involve alcohol, it appears that the number of deaths from DUIs is about equal if not less than the number of alcohol-related firearms deaths each year. That is different from most other states, where DUIs are a far more common problem than firearms deaths of any kind. Most of those Alaska alcohol-related firearms deaths are suicides.

    While you are still more likely to die due to drowning, a chronic upper respiratory disease, or a fall, DUIs are certainly a serious issue, so that means firearms related deaths involving alcohol are too. It looks like in our case, the Alaska firearms death are so high because our suicide rate is so high (probably due to a combination of SAD, alcohol/drug abuse, and rural poverty in the Bush). Bring down the suicide rate and you bring down the firearms death rate too.

    In this case I’d say it is on track to working out as it should. The guy was likely in the wrong, arrested, and charged with MIW IV, which is a Class A misdemeanor. That means up to a $10K fine and a year in jail. Plus, as it was an alcohol related incident he can lose his driving privileges. A pretty steep potential punishment that sends a pretty strong message. We’ve got laws on the books for this sort of misbehavior and they just need to be enforced.

    Also, for your SA, the NRA gun safety rules state:
    Never use alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs before or while shooting.
    Alcohol, as well as any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical bodily functions, must not be used before or while handling or shooting guns.

    So I’m not sure why the “NRA” tag is on this post. The NRA certainly doesn’t condone mixing booze and firearms.


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