In 2022, Birmingham experienced one of its most violent years in modern history, totaling at least 144 homicides. Several of the homicides involved firearms, and many were drive-by-shootings. 

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin used last year's rise in shooting deaths to advocate for stricter gun laws several times. 

In December, he complained that he did not have the power to "prevent the sale access and ease of guns in our streets" and blamed the state and federal governments for not creating more restrictions on firearms.

In November, he called gun violence a "public health crisis in all urban core across America." He also advocated banning "military-style assault weapons" and restricting the 2nd Amendment. 

But exactly what guns were used in Birmingham shootings in 2022?

1819 News asked the Birmingham Police Department (BPD). The BPD recorded a total of 124 firearms used in homicides in 2022. According to the statistics it provided, the vast majority of the guns recorded were handguns, totaling 86. One was a shotgun. 

The remaining 37 were in one of two categories: "rifle" or "rifle/gun." Twenty-one firearms were classified under "rifle," and 16 were under "rifle/gun."

"The rifle/gun means both rounds were recovered, and two guns were used," specified a spokesperson from the BPD. 

1819 News also asked BPD if any of the rifles were fully automatic or if any of the suspects arrested were previously convicted of a violent felony and, therefore, prohibited from legally owning firearms in Alabama.

"We don't keep any further detail about weapons than that," the spokesperson said. 

However, the spokesperson did say that the BPD's clearance rate for homicides was around 40%, meaning that police made arrests in roughly 40% of the cases.

Woodfin indicated in December that most of the homicides in Birmingham were a result of private altercations between individuals who knew each other. He cited several instances where the crime followed this pattern. Some of the deaths, such as that of 12-year-old Ausrianna Pearson, who suffered a gunshot wound after a bullet entered her bedroom, resulted from drive-by-shootings.

Woodfin has also suggested that some of the violence may be gang-related. In September, he called on gangs to "chill out and put the guns down." In December, he said that the city was addressing the gang issue and that it was working with federal agencies to address drug trafficking and sales.

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