BPD Chief on combatting Birmingham gun violence

Will new gun laws lead to less crime?
Published: Jul. 2, 2022 at 9:54 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 2, 2022 at 10:36 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Recently, President Joe Biden signed a new gun violence bill aiming to tighten nationwide gun crime.

That new legislation will make background checks tougher for young gun buyers and keep firearms from those previously convicted of domestic violence.

The City of Birmingham says homicides are up 11% so far this year when compared to last year. In 2021, there were 53 homicides year to date and so far in 2022, we’re at 61.

“One of the things we’re seeing is larger number of rounds fired on those particular shootings,” said Birmingham Police Chief Scott Thurmond.

He says that’s one of the reasons homicide numbers are up.

“So if you fire a larger number of rounds, your likelihood of hitting your target is higher,” he added.

The Chief says he’s ready to put a stop to it. He says fighting violent crime in the city is his number one goal.

Even with the president’s newly-passed gun reform bill, Thurmond isn’t sure if it will help with the local crime.

“I don’t know if that’s going to limit the number of guns on the streets,” he said. “We’re just going to have to wait and see how that plays out.”

He says many of the guns used in these crimes are obtained illegally, whether they are stolen from legal gun owners or obtained through straw purchases. Thurmond describes those as: “We get someone who can legally purchase a firearms will purchase several firearms and then sell them or give them to those who cannot legally possess them.”

When asked what the solution to stopping violent crime, Thurmond expressed a few ideas.

“Well for combatting gun violence, we need some kind of database for mental illness,” he explains. “We also need something for domestic violence as well... We have to have programs and things for our youth to be involved in, otherwise they’re going to find something on their own to be involved in which will be things in the street, or crimes and things of that nature.”

Chief Thurmond says community involvement is key so BPD plans on revamping several programs to build better and stronger relationships with Birmingham residents and youth.

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