Gun violence up in 2021; Activists calling on state leaders to make change

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 10:44 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A string of gun violence ensued across the country over the weekend.

At least 10 U.S. cities reported mass shootings over the weekend, according to NBC News. Mass shootings are classified as a shooting with four or more victims.

So far this year, there have been 276 mass shootings in the United States with 10 of those happening here in Alabama.

Alabama has the second-highest rate of firearm death in the nation, and local activists are calling on state leaders to do something about it.

“People shouldn’t have to be afraid to go to their job site, to be afraid that they might get shot,” says Huntsville Leader of Moms Demand Action, Susan Kirkpatrick.

Through May 2021, gunfire has killed more than 8,000 people, according to Gun Violence Archive.

“We have too many people dying,” says Interim Memphis Police Director, James Ryall.

Over the weekend, mass shootings happened in over 10 different cities like Savannah, Georgia, Austin, Texas, and today in Albertville, Alabama.

“Something small town Albertville we see about and hear about but this morning it struck home,” says Albertville Police Chief, Jamie Smith.

2021 is already proving to be a deadly year, with mass shootings around 40% higher at this point than in 2020, and about 65% higher than in 2019.

Alabama has the second-highest rate of firearm deaths in the nation, and it is considered an open carry state when it comes to handguns. That means if you want to openly carry a firearm without a permit, you are allowed to as long as you are at least 18 years old and legally allowed to own a firearm.

Kirkpatrick says we need to tighten up our laws like universal background checks and risk protection.

“We could also use a good red flag law and an extreme risk protection order law,” says Kirkpatrick.

A red flag law is a gun control law that authorizes courts to issue a special type of protection order, to temporarily confiscate firearms from people who are deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or to others.

This year, the Alabama House of Representatives did not approve a bill that would eliminate the permit requirement for concealed carry of a handgun, something that Tennessee and Texas did approve. Kirkpatrick says this is a start, but Alabama can do more.

“To save lives and stop these senseless killings we really need more than thoughts and prayers. We need federal action on gun safety from the Senate and the Administration. And it really needs to happen now,” says Kirkpatrick.

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