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Armed, Locked and Loaded: The Worst and Most Intimidating Gun States

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ALABAMA GUN
ASSOCIATED PRESS

No one should feel safe in the following states. And it is time to take a stand and do something about it.

These are states with the most Wild West gun laws where you are most likely to encounter someone -- anyone -- with a gun: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana and Mississippi.

It is legal in these states for people with absolutely no training to walk around armed and to carry their guns openly in the streets.

It is legal in these states to bring loaded guns into gambling establishments, sporting events and restaurants that serve alcohol. It is legal in these states to carry weapons into stores and shopping malls, and in some cases even onto college campuses and into bars and houses of worship.

In all of these states, it is legal to shoot first and claim self-defense much the way George Zimmerman did with Trayvon Martin and hundreds of others have done in less publicized cases.

And in all of these states, their background laws -- if they even exist -- are so full of loopholes that someone with a criminal record, a drug or drinking problem, or a history of mental illness can obtain a gun.

These are states of intimidation, where every one of us must wonder if the guy over there with a gun might pull the trigger because he's angry, under the influence, troubled, mentally ill or simply ticked off.

And it's all because of grossly permissive gun laws that allow almost anyone to walk around anywhere locked and loaded.

We've all seen the stories in the news, almost daily. Text your child during movie previews and it could kill you. Shop at a mall and it could cost you your life. Look suspicious to someone for any reason whatsoever and it could get you shot. Have a disagreement and it ends with a bullet.

Look at the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports: We are 30 percent more likely to die from guns used in arguments and alcohol-related conflicts than from robberies, burglaries, drug crimes and gangs.

What does that tell us? That as much as we fear common criminals, we may face an even larger threat from citizens who are allowed to carry guns almost anywhere and anytime.

It's no consolation that before many of these shooters pulled the trigger, they were once law-abiding citizens. That's irrelevant. What's relevant is that they were allowed to carry around and wield a lethal weapon, and because of that someone's life was cut short.

Of course, a gun can maim or murder in any state. But it's the states with higher population densities and virtually no restrictions on who can obtain a gun and walk around armed that pose the greatest threat.

That characterizes every state listed here -- Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana and Mississippi. And that is why no one should feel safe in these states.

Over the last four decades, guns have claimed the lives of about 1.4 million Americans -- more than all the Americans who have died in wars.

It is time to stand up to the gun lobby and tell the states most in their thrall exactly what you think: I don't feel safe in your state. Sign this petition and make your voice heard.