AMORY, Miss. (WTVA) - In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that there is a right to keep a handgun in the home for self-defense. Since then, according to a new study by the Violence Policy Center, gun deaths nationwide have increased 17 percent, at just 12 deaths per 100,000 people. Americans, says the VPC, are facing an escalating gun crisis. In Mississippi, where there’s a gun in more than half of homes, that rate is even higher, just under 20 deaths per 100,000.
On the other hand, many say that it's just not about the guns themselves.
Tim Oswalt co-owns and operates Tombigbee Gun and Pawn in Amory. A master sergeant in the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, he's also a firearms instructors -- and says it's just not right to blame the guns.
"Blaming a gun for somebody's death is like blaming a fork or spoon on somebody being fat, or blaming a car on killing somebody when the driver's actually DUI," says Oswalt. "It's not the car's fault; it's the person operating it."
"You can put all kind of stipulations on buying guns," he adds. "You can put all kind of regulations on them, but the bad guys are going to get guns, no matter what we do."
Oswalt also says its about the bigger picture - a constitutionally-protected right.
"Second Amendment all the way. I think we have a right to bear arms, I think we have a right to protect our families, to protect our lives, and to protect our country."
“So, Second Amendment or not, is it about the guns, or is there some other factor leading to higher gun death rates? It may some time before we know the answer to that question. And even then, we may have to ask ourselves, is it the RIGHT question?
FINAL NOTE: In Alabama, the gun death rate is even HIGHER. More than 21 people died per 100,000 people in the state - making it the SECOND highest gun death rate in the nation.