CHICAGO (WLS) -- Officers who work in states with high gun ownership are more than three times more likely to be shot and killed on the job, according to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health.
While that finding may not seem surprising, researchers say it's never been thoroughly looked at until now.
The study also found officers are not more likely to be shot and killed in states with high-violent crime rates.
"The only thing that we found was firearm ownership rate being associated with officer homicides. We controlled for other variables associated with homicide rates in the general population and we could not find any of them associated with homicide rates of officers," said David Swedler, lead investigator, University of Illinois - Chicago.
According to the study, states with the highest police homicide rates include Alaska, Washington D.C., Mississippi, South Carolina and Arkansas. Illinois has the 16th lowest homicide rate for law enforcement officers.
An NRA spokeserson says the methodology of this research is severely flawed and the data is skewed to advance an anti-gun bias. The researchers stand by their study.