NEW ORLEANS (AP) A new survey finds that New Orleans has the second-highest rate of murders in the Southeast, after Baton Rouge.
The survey, conducted by the Louisiana-based Gun Violence Archive, found that at least 18 of the 50 cities surveyed had homicide rates in the 10th percentile.
The city of 1.8 million also has the 10 th highest rate for homicides.
Gun-rights advocates say New Orleans is a safe place for concealed weapons, despite the high murder rate.
The mayor has said the city will take more steps to increase the safety of its citizens.
The archival group says it is compiling a list of every murder in the city and will release it in the coming weeks.
The study also found that of the 20 metro areas with the highest murder rates, only three had rates in that 10th-percentile range.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the findings underscore the need for strong gun laws.
“This survey shows that we are a place that is safe and that gun owners are not afraid to protect themselves,” Landrieus said.
Gun-rights supporters point to the high rates of violent crime and shootings in the area as proof that gun-ownership is a viable way to reduce gun violence.
“New Orleans is one of the safest cities in the country,” said Mark Glaze, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
“People who own guns should be able to do so with confidence.
They should not be afraid to use them.”
Guns in the hands of people who don’t understand the dangers are no different than people who sell drugs, Glaze said.
But Glaze and other gun-rights activists say the numbers show that New, New Orleans can do more to stop the gun violence that has claimed dozens of lives and left thousands of people homeless in the past two years.
In Louisiana, a permit is required to purchase a gun, but gun rights advocates say that does not apply to many other states.
New Orleans City Councilman Mike Krebs has called on the state Legislature to pass a law that would require all gun owners to get a permit before they can legally purchase a firearm.