Originally created 11/09/02

Georgia gunrunners take toll on state

In 1995 Senate Bill 109 proposed that sales of handguns be limited to no more than one gun per person per month.

Who wants to buy more than one gun a month? A person who has a criminal record and cannot purchase handguns finds someone who is clean to make the purchases, paying him, say, $40 profit on each gun.

That's gunrunning. Georgia leads the nation in gunrunning. It is legal to buy large quantities of guns in the state of Georgia.

According to The Augusta Chronicle Oct. 25, "Erich Olaf Tate pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic guns," the agent said. He said between 100 and 200 guns were taken to New York over a period of two to three years. We can speculate that these guns were used for shootings, robberies and drug deals. Over the years far too many guns recovered from crimes in other states have been traced back to Georgia.

The cost per firearm fatality is higher than any other type of fatal injury or for any of the four leading causes of death. It is estimated that the cost of firearm injuries in the United States per year is $20.4 billion. Taxpayers pay most of these bills.

And although the cost is high, the emotional toll on victims and their families cannot be measured in dollars. How long will the state of Georgia continue to contribute to the great sorrow felt by the families of those killed or wounded by Georgia's guns?

In 1991, Blacks Against Black Crimes identified the easy accessibility of guns as a contributing factor to the epidemic of black-on-black violence. In the effort to fight for better gun control, we joined Georgians Against Gun Violence, Handgun Control, Inc. and The Million Mom March.

We have worked tirelessly over the years with the above organizations by making monetary contributions and supporting gun legislation at the state and federal level. We are in an ongoing battle with the National Rifle Association for sensible gun control.

Barbara Thurmond, Augusta (Editor's note: The writer is the president of Blacks Against Crimes Inc. in Augusta.)


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