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Opinion: Why do Southerners love guns?
Bo Harvey/Unsplash

Monday the 20th, the Gainesville Times announced a new status for Gainesville as the fourth largest urbanized area in Georgia. The previous day, on social media, the gun debate moved to Flowery Branch, a huge part of the new urbanized area. Several people heard a string of gunfire on Sunday, God’s day of rest. Rightfully, some people suspected danger.

Yet most people posted in support of the gunfire without having any facts. They defended the sound of gunfire on Sunday afternoons as a “Southern Tradition,” “family backyard target practice,” and completely “safe.”

Someone even said, “I love the smell of gunpowder in the mornings. It smells like Freedom.” That worried me. The scariest comment was the ever present, “I need my gun to protect my family from criminals with guns.” Do Southerners need to fire off guns in their backyard to stop crime?

I looked up statistics on the worst crime in civilized society: The murder of police officers killed in the line of duty with a gun.

In 2021, 61 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed with a gun. In comparison, 56 officers died in accidents. Of the 61 killed with a gun, 44 of those deaths happened in the South. Of the shooters, only 20 had been previously arrested for a crime or convicted of a crime. Police officers are more likely to die by a law abiding citizen with a gun, not a felon. Police officers are more likely to be shot to death in the South where private citizens love to pack a gun.

Those backyard shooters enjoying a good time on a beautiful Sunday afternoon could be tomorrow’s cop killer.

Michael W. Parker

Flowery Branch