Alabama House Democrats called on Republicans and Gov. Kay Ivey to work with them to pass reasonable gun regulations in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at a teen’s birthday party in Dadeville.
Sens. Merika Coleman and Rodger Smitherman and Rep. Juandalynn Givan spoke at a press conference in Hueytown, pushing for passage of “red flag” legislation and condemning Republicans for resisting calls from a majority of voters to adequately address the gun violence problem.
“Right now, our neighborhoods, our churches, our schools, and even our grocery stores are at risk of being the scene of another mass shooting, as more and more guns flood our streets and the state has adopted permitless concealed carry,” Coleman said. “It’s not okay that gun violence is now the leading cause of death for young people in America. It’s not okay. We must take action and take action now.”
Coleman called on the Legislature to pass her “gun violence protective order act,” which would essentially establish a process within the state through which protective orders could be issued barring those with documented mental illnesses from purchasing a firearm for up to one year. The bill is what’s commonly referred to as “red flag laws,” and they are extremely popular among voters.
Givan also took up another popular regulation – the banning of sales of assault weapons to anyone under the age of 21. And she didn’t hold back on her criticism of resistant Republicans.
“I can longer be silent about Republicans who continue to fight against common sense gun control legislation and continue to put the gun lobby over Alabama’s children and families,” Givan said. “I will never be silent until Republicans recognize that the Second Amendment comes with responsibilities and limitations. Until they do, the blood of these murdered children is on their hands.
“But in spite of their refusal to recognize that they are part of the problem, I will continue to strongly support legislation that makes our neighborhoods safer. For example, if we can’t find the political will to ban assault rifles altogether, at least we should not sell them to children under the age of 21.”
For his part, Smitherman called on all Alabamians to realize that we have a dire problem on our hands with the upticks in gun violence, and to be more receptive to reasonable regulations that might deter some of that violence.
“Already, there have been 162 mass shootings in this country and it’s only April 17th,” Smitherman said. “That doesn’t count all the shootings involving three or less people and it doesn’t account for suicides or those permantly injured due to gun violence.
“We have a gun problem, Alabama. No child in Alabama should be afraid of getting shot and killed at a Sweet Sixteen birthday party. No child should have to worry about gun violence in their schools or fear one of their classmates bringing their parents’ gun on campus. No teenager in Alabama should be able to purchase an assault rifle off the street that is designed solely to kill as many people possible, as quickly as possible.”