As the Alabama legislature returns to Montgomery for the start of the 2022 legislative session today, lawmakers will once again have the opportunity to pass common-sense gun safety bills.
2021 was marked by staggering levels of gun violence fueled by the gun lobby’s “guns everywhere” agenda. Across the nation, we saw historic levels of gunfire on school grounds and record homicide numbers in some cities. Shootings across the states underscored the deadly effects of America’s lax gun legislation, and the high profile trials of Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers and Kyle Rittenhouse highlighted the dangers of open carry and ‘Stand Your Ground’ or ‘Shoot First’ laws. As the stress and rippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic extend into the new year, meaningful action on gun safety remains more critical than ever.
This year, lawmakers should protect Alabamians by rejecting dangerous legislation that would weaken our gun laws and, instead, support gun safety bills that would reduce gun deaths and save lives, starting with rejecting permitless carry legislation, taking action on secure firearm storage, and funding violence intervention programs.
What to know about Permitless Carry in Alabama:
- Permitless carry legislation would allow people to carry loaded handguns in public without a background check, dismantling Alabama’s culture of responsible gun ownership.
- It would also take away a critical tool that law enforcement uses to differentiate between responsible gun owners and those who are prohibited from possessing guns.
- Permitless carry would also allow people with dangerous histories – including extremists and white supremacists with criminal histories – to evade background check requirements and safeguards to responsible gun ownership.
- States that have weakened their firearm permitting system have experienced a 13-15 percent increase in violent crime rates and an 11 percent increase in handgun homicide rates.
- Permitless carry has been staunchly opposed by law enforcement across the country, including in Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, and South Carolina. The Alabama Sheriffs Association and Police Chiefs Association have both spoken out against permitless carry legislation.
- More information about permitless carry is available here.
What to know about Secure Storage in Alabama:
- An estimated 54% of gun owners don’t store all of their firearms securely. Research shows secure storage practices play a vital role in reducing the risk of gun violence by preventing unintentional shootings, gun suicides, and school gun violence.
- It’s estimated that 5.4 million children live in homes with at least one unlocked and loaded firearm. Every year, hundreds of children in the US gain access to firearms and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else.
- In 2021 there were at least 10 unintentional shootings by children in Alabama, resulting in 4 deaths and 6 injuries.
- In an average year, 549 people in Alabama die by gun suicides, and 102 are wounded by gun suicide attempts; Alabama has the 8th-highest rate of gun suicides and gun suicide attempts in the US.
- In incidents of gunfire on school grounds, up to 80 percent of shooters under the age of 18 got the gun they used from their home or the homes of friends or relatives.
- Alabama lawmakers should take action to enforce secure firearm storage in homes, cars, and any other places where guns are left unattended.
- More information about secure storage is available here.
What to know about Violence Intervention Programs in Alabama:
- Communities across Alabama are suffering from the impacts of gun violence.
- Local violence reduction, intervention, and prevention programs can help reduce gun violence in some of the communities most heavily impacted.
- By using funds allocated to the state by the American Rescue Plan Act to support and expand violence intervention programs, the Alabama legislature can help community-based partnerships and non-profit organizations conduct life-saving work throughout the state.
- More information on violence intervention programs is available here.
What to know about gun violence in Alabama:
- In Alabama, on average, 1,054 people are shot and killed with a gun every year.
- An average of 468 people in Alabama die by gun homicide every year; Alabama has the third highest rate of gun homicide in the United States.
- Black people in Alabama are more than six times as likely to die by gun homicide as white people.
- The gun suicide rate in Alabama is 57% higher than the national gun suicide rate.
- Firearms are the second-leading cause of death for children and teens in Alabama. In an average year, 88 children and teens die by gun in Alabama, and 60% of these deaths are homicides.
- Gun violence costs Alabama $8.1 billion each year, of which $433.0 million is paid by taxpayers.
If you have questions, or to request an interview with a volunteer from Alabama Moms Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.