Study: Suicide is top reason for Alaska gun deaths

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A new six-year study on guns in Alaska shows the state has one of the top rates of gun deaths and injuries in the U.S.

The Juneau Empire reports the study was published on Wednesday by the Alaska Section of Epidemiology. It examined three statewide databases and found almost 1,500 people were injured or killed by firearms from the start of 2009 to the end of 2015.

Figures compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show Alaska’s firearm deaths is the second-highest in the country behind Montana.

Deborah Hull-Jilly, the public health expert who coordinated the study, says the main reason for gun deaths in Alaska is suicide. But the study left unclear whether the presence of firearms contributes to Alaska’s suicides, or if other factors are causing the high rate.

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