As the Mississippi legislature returns 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, including Jackson. 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 laws. As the stress and uncertainties 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 Mississippians by rejecting dangerous legislation that would weaken our gun laws and by supporting gun safety bills that would reduce gun deaths and save lives, starting with funding violence intervention programs and rejecting attempts to expand Stand Your Ground laws.
What to know about violence intervention programs in Mississippi:
- Communities across Mississippi 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 Mississippi 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 Stand Your Ground laws in Mississippi:
- ‘Stand Your Ground’ or ‘Shoot First’ laws threaten public safety by encouraging armed vigilantism, allowing people to shoot first and ask questions later, even in instances when they could safely remove themselves from the situation.
- Nationally, these laws are associated with more than 150 additional gun deaths every month. After Florida’s law was enacted in 2005, studies show that homicide rates increased between 24 and 45%.
- In ‘Shoot First’ states, homicides in which white shooters kill Black victims are deemed justifiable five times more frequently than when the situation is reversed.
- More information about Stand Your Ground laws is available here.
What to know about gun violence in Mississippi:
- In Mississippi on average, 640 people are shot and killed with a gun every year.
- Every year, an average of 311 people in Mississippi die by gun homicides; Mississippi has the 4th-highest rate of gun homicides and gun assaults in the United States.
- Black people in Mississippi are almost 5 times more likely than white people to die by gun homicide.
- Firearms are the second-leading cause of death for children and teens in Mississippi. In an average year, 55 children and teens die by gun in Mississippi, and 56% of these deaths are homicides.
If you have questions, or to request an interview with a volunteer from Mississippi Moms Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.