Donald Day is past president of the Bridgeport Firebirds, a fraternal organization that fights for the rights of minority firefighters. He has been active in a number of city issues throughout the decades and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. As proposed gun control legislation moves ahead in the halls of Washington and Hartford, Day shares this commentary that legislation is missing the mark.
I continue to hear talk from our politicians about banning assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines, but nothing about hand guns or the repealing the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution which gives citizens the right to keep and bear arms. The 2nd Amendment is an outdated and antiquated document which our ancestors over 200 years ago could not have foreseen what impact it would have on 21st century America. How can America let a document that was written over 200 years ago determine its course in the 21st century?
I am concerned that the politicians of Bridgeport would applaud the fact that one of the largest suppliers of guns in America is the cornerstones of its new project on the East Side of Bridgeport. I read where Rep. Charles Clemons and Rep. Auden Grogins were more concerned with what type of guns Bass Pro would sell as opposed to the fact the Bass Pro is selling guns in the city that they represent and where their constituents live and work. They both were concerned that Bass Pro would sell those assault rifles and not one bit of concern that they sell hand guns. I went back a decade and looked at statistics and found that over 95% of all firearms used in crimes in the City of Bridgeport are handguns and that 100% of all shooting deaths in the City of Bridgeport from 2001 to 2011 were with handguns. Why aren’t they concerned that Bass Pro is putting more instruments of death in their community?
In 1999 Mayor Joseph Ganim filed a lawsuit against gun manufactures and sellers and in that lawsuit it said, “Of the total fatalities attributed to handgun violence in the City, over 80 percent of these victims were African American or Hispanic. Many of those killed by handguns were children under the age of 15. Handgun violence has negatively impacted the lifestyle of children in certain residential communities in the City of Bridgeport.” In fact there were 172 deaths from handguns in Bridgeport from 2001 – 2011 and not one by an assault rifle with a high-capacity ammunition magazine. The Ganim lawsuit went on to say, “The greatest harm that the City of Bridgeport has suffered is the victimization of its citizens, particularly children, who are grievously injured or killed because of the conduct alleged herein of the handgun manufacturers, its distributors, product sellers and their agents.” If that was the case in 1999 one would reasonably ask what has changed since 1999 in Bridgeport that our politicians would now celebrate the arbiter of guns and gun death into its City of Bridgeport.
Let me give you some more facts on handgun deaths, the number of preschoolers (Under the age of 5) killed by guns in 2008 (88) and in 2009 (85) was nearly double the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2008 (41) and 2009 (48). Black children and teens accounted for 45 percent of all child and teen gun deaths in 2008 and 2009 but were only 15 percent of the total child population. A total of 5,740 children and teens died in 2008 and 2009 to handgun violence, the two years after the Virginia Tech shooting, according to the most recent data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the equivalent of one child or teen being killed by a gun every three hours, or eight each day over those two years, or 229 public school classrooms with 25 students each. Of the 116,385 children and teens killed by a gun since 1979, when gun data by age were first collected, 44,038 were Black. I heard on ABC news that over 232,000 guns are stolen in America each year and background checks and limiting guns to people with mental disorders won’t stop a quarter of a millions guns from getting into the hands of people that want to hurt other people.
Our politicians need to put their big boy and big girl pants on and start the dialogue about repealing the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution because the common denominator to Newtown, Virginia Tech, Columbine and the streets of Bridgeport is GUNS. It didn’t matter whether they were assault rifles or hand guns, our children are being killed at an alarming rate with GUNS. As long as guns are so prevalent in American society there will be more of our children killed in school, in the movie theaters and just walking down the street. America, we know that the problem with gun deaths can only be solved one way, remove guns from the homes of every American and until that happens, you and your children will be targets of opportunity for some deranged individual with a gun and an attitude.