Gun Violence in Relation to Gun Law


Chyanne Smith, Contributor

The United States has had 39 mass shootings as of a few hours ago and as reported by the New York Times.  Mass shootings are defined as shootings in which three or four people are killed, depending on the source.

The Guardian noted that over 1200 United States citizens lost their lives to gun violence thus far in January of 2023. This number includes murders, homicides, accidents, or defensive acts, but it does not include suicides.

Though there is evidence of significant gun violence, some states, including Alabama, don’t equate gun permits with gun violence prevention. Some of the states with recent mass shootings have some of the strictest gun laws in the country. PBS’s Geoff Bennett discussed California’s laws in relation to the recent gun violence with UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler, and Winkler, who focuses on constitutional law and gun policy, said, “It’s very difficult for a gun law to be effective when a resident of California can go to Arizona or Nevado and purchase the exact weapon the is outlawed in the state of California.”

On January 1, Alabama’s new conceal-and-carry law was put into effect. This law makes it possible to carry a concealed handgun or have it in a vehicle without a permit. The bill failed for several years because some sheriffs were against it. They said it was a safeguard for the public to do background checks and have a permit. People who supported the appeal called it the “constitutional carry” bill and mentioned how 20 other states had a bill that was similar to this one. After the House and Senate passed the bill, Governor Kay Ivy signed it that same day. This made Alabama the 22nd state to adopt this policy.

Bob Jones students shared their thoughts in an anonymous poll. One student said that “he didn’t mind his dad didn’t have to get a permit because he was former military and felt confident he could operate a gun safely [without a permit.]” Another shared, “I think a permit is the least a gun owner should do. Maybe getting some professional training would also help.”

Law enforcers and lawmakers have a range of thoughts on the new conceal-and-carry law, too.

Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham said to that he is concerned that gun violence is going to worsen in a state that already has a high gun violence rate. Cunningham shared with, “Now you put more guns on the street, you’re going to see more and gunshot wounds.”

States that have already passed a bill similar to this haven’t seen a rise in gun violence. 

CNN said Governor Kay Ivy made a counter statement saying, “I have always stood up for the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and I am proud to do that again.” She said this right after signing the new conceal-and-carry bill.

When gun owners are stopped by an officer for a routine traffic stop, it is still best to make them aware they have a firearm in the car. Also, gun owners can still choose to get a permit at a county sheriff’s if they want to have a permit for traveling to other states.

Even with the new policy, there are still places where guns aren’t permitted on certain grounds like government buildings, schools, and athletic events. WAFF said Redstone Arsenal is another place where this new policy won’t be applicable because federal law restricts the possession of firearms on the installation. This statement also said those who live or hunt on the installation must register with the Redstone Arsenal police station before bringing them on the installation.

One thing remains the same though… People who were previously prohibited from carrying a gun in Alabama are still prohibited from carrying a gun.