Time to focus on gun control

Published 1:26 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2009

As I follow reports regarding the tragic murder of Pelham police officer Philip Davis, the thought that consistently nags at me is, “What role might stricter gun control play in helping to prevent senseless killings such as this?”

It is clear from all of the information available on the relationship between guns and violence that the more guns you have in circulation, the more gun deaths you will have.

It’s a bit disturbing to consider that in Shelby County the number of pistol permits has increased by nearly 95,000 in the new millennium.

That includes a sharp increase during the last five years (and this doesn’t take into account the number of rifles and other firearms in circulation).

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States has the highest per capita shooting deaths of any relatively wealthy nation in the world.

These are gun-related deaths, not just murders. Moreover, Alabama has the second-highest per capita rate of gun deaths in the nation according to the Violence Policy Center.

Most people say they purchase guns to use in defense of themselves, their homes and loved ones.

In fact, research by the Harvard Injury Control Center indicates that guns in homes are not usually fired in self defense, but more often in accidental shootings, suicides and homicides.

Now some people are quick to say that statistics like those quoted earlier are somehow biased.

So, I went to the Web site of the number one proponent of gun ownership, the National Rifle Association, to review their data regarding how guns decrease violence. There was none.

I’m left wondering if people bold enough to carry lethal weapons will be brave enough to buck the popular opinion around here, acknowledge the truth about guns and do something that will make us all safer by working to create stricter gun control.