Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Precious Lives

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - January 20, 2015

In The News

Precious LivesPrecious Lives is a two-year project about young people and gun violence in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area.  371 Productions will produce 100 weekly public radio reports. Each story ends with a clear way that listeners can get involved or find help. Community partners include Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort.  Listen to the first story: How do you measure the loss of a five-year-old girl?

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill that could have given concealed weapons permits to persons subject to restraining orders in stalking or domestic abuse cases.

ShotSpotter technology helps to combat gun violence in Springfield, MA. Total crime was down 19 percent last year and incidents of gunfire logged by acoustic sensors are down by 50 percent. ShotSpotter said gunfire incidents declined by more than 20 percent in the 31 U.S. communities that use the technology.

To reduce gun violence, know thy neighbor.Yale University researchers found that the more closely knit people reported their neighborhood to be, the less exposure to violence they had.

U.S. House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force announces vice-chairs in 114th Congress.  Task force chair Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) announces 11 vice chairs. Thompson said they "have a wide range of expertise and will bring unique ides to the table as we work to reduce and prevent gun violence."

► If the trend continues, deaths by guns will overtake deaths caused by cars in America this year. The Center for American Progress looking at data from the Center for Disease Control first spotted this trend. Bloomberg Government also compiled data, concluding that guns will be deadlier than cars for all age groups.

Terrorism the media overlooks. The media reports on terrorist plots in the Middle East and radical Islamists but often steers clear of white, homegrown, Christian-based anti-government radicals in the U.S.  A recent plot to blow up a police station in Atlanta, GA was virtually un-covered by the mainstream media.

Why the CDC still isn't researching gun violence, despite the ban being lifted two years ago. President Obama requested $10 million for the CDC's gun violence research in his last two budgets. But the Republican-controlled House has continued to block the funding.

Community Support

Troy PrestonDan Rodricks, Baltimore Sun, How did accused parking-space killer get guns? Troy Preston was shot to death over a parking spot while his 4-year-old son watched. Where did the accused killer, a convicted felon get the guns? If he bought his guns and ammunition, then the sellers should be held criminally liable.

Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes, The Myth Behind Defensive Gun Ownership. Despite having nearly no academic support in public health literature, the myth that millions of gun owners successfully use their firearms to defend themselves and their families from criminals is the single largest motivation behind gun ownership.

Todd Frankel, Washington Post, The study that gun-rights activists keep citing but completely misunderstand. The National Academies' Institute of Medicine and National Research Council's study clearly makes the case for why more gun-violence research is needed. But gun-rights supporters zero in on just a few statements and ignore the overall point that injuries and deaths involving firearms are a pressing public health problem.

Jennifer O'Connell, Irish Times, Worried about gun violence? Have a lollipop. There are many things I love about living in the US, but my children having to do a drill "in case a crazy person ever breaks into our school" isn't one of them.

Victoria Lewis, The Oregonian, Kids should talk about guns in school. Kids don't need another lecture from adults. They need to hear what their peers think, the ones who hate guns, the ones who love them and the ones who haven't decided.

► Editorial, Daily Times, Primos, PA, Act 192 is Pa.'s shameful gift to gun lobby.  The new law allows gun advocates to sue PA cities that enact their own gun control ordinances. They don't even have to show they have been harmed by the ordinances. Last Wednesday, the NRA did not waste any time exploiting the outrageous law and filed suit against Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Lancaster.

Debbie Smith, Nevada state senator, Nevada needs expanded gun checks. Last June a Las Vegas shooting left three people dead. One of the shooters used Facebook to buy a rifle despite having numerous felony convictions. Closing the background check loophole would help keep felons like him from getting guns.

Dan Simpson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Whitewashing the gun lobby. The NRA is not about protecting the Second Amendment, it's about selling guns. The PBS "Frontline" piece "Gunned Down" was inadequate, to the point of raising my suspicions that it was involved in a whitewashing of the NRA.

Lynda Waddington, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Why your gun makes me nervous.  I am angered by lawmakers and gun advocates who preach blind trust in the same breath as they extol the dangers of society as their reason for needing to carry a weapon in a bookstore.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

► A group of gun enthusiasts took weapons into the Washington state House gallery to protest a new voter-approved gun background-check law. In response, Lt. Gov. Owen announced the public will no longer be able to openly carry guns in the chambers. He said it didn't make sense to allow people to openly carry firearms while banning backpacks, signs and umbrellas.

► A Texas gun rights group reenacted the Paris massacre with "armed civilians" and everyone still died. The only time the "armed civilian" survived was when the volunteer playing him ran away.

► A proposed South Carolina bill would require all public school students to take an NRA-approved gun rights course "for at least three consecutive weeks during one grading period in each academic year."

► Attorneys general from 26 states filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court over a San Francisco ordinance requiring locked storage for handguns, arguing it threatens the Second Amendment right to bear arms. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier declared the burden of storage was small in the face of ample evidence that storing handguns in a locked container reduces the risk of deaths.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Success stories you might not have heard

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - January 6, 2015

In The News

Success stories MSNBC looks at gun violence prevention success stories you haven't heard. Stories include: confirmation of Dr. Vivek Murthy as U.S. surgeon general, $73 million to improve the NICS background check system and a variety of state legislation that strengthens gun laws.

10 Newtown families sue Bushmaster, gun distributor and seller for wrongful death. The lawsuit reads, "In order to continue profiting from the sale of AR-15s, defendants chose to disregard the unreasonable risks the rifle posed outside of specialized, highly regulated institutions like the armed forces and law enforcement. Plaintiffs seek nothing more and nothing less than accountability for the consequences of that choice."

2014 saw a continued decline in murders in America's big cities even as the number of shootings were on the rise. In the 10 cities with the highest number of murders, 6 saw a significant drop in the murder rate while 2 showed significant increases.

► The number of law enforcement officers killed by firearms in the U.S. in 2014 jumped by 56 percent compared to 2013.  This included 15 ambush assaults. The states with the most officer deaths were California, Texas and New York.

► A new study in JAMA Psychiatry by Joseph Simonetti et al, finds that U.S. teens report easy access to firearms, even when they have mental health problems that put them at an increased risk of suicide. The study notes that firearms are the second most common means of suicide among adolescents and calls for strategies to decrease firearm access in this age group.

► A new study in American Journal of Public Health, Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms, by Jonathan Metzl and Kenneth MacLeish, reviews some central assumptions that frequently arise in the aftermath of mass shootings.

ChartMother Jones puts Garen Wintemute's new study, The Epidemiology of Firearm Violence in the Twenty-First Century U.S., into handy charts and Q&A format to answer such questions as: which kills more Americans, guns or cars?; and  at what age do gun suicides and gun homicides kill the most people? 

► Media Matters discusses what the media isn't saying about support for stronger gun laws in articles hyping a controversial polling question in the recent Pew Research Center gun rights survey.

► People Magazine, Shot by a middle school classmate, Kendal Sanders rebuilds her life - and forgives.  Last January, Kendal, then 13, was shot by a 12-year-old classmate at school in New Mexico.  "He did something that's going to continuously, for the rest of my life, challenge me," she says. "And after he gets out, he's done. But I'm never going to be completely normal, like everyone else."

Community Support

NewtownAdam Gopnik, The New Yorker, The Newtown Lawsuit and the Moral Work of Gun Control. The filed complaint is worth reading in full, not only because of the unbelievable suffering and cruelty it details on that terrible morning but also because it offers an indisputable argument: the gun manufacturer is guilty of having sold a weapon whose only purpose was killing a lot of people in a very short time.

Times-News, Twin Falls, Idaho, editorial: Guns, Deaths and the NRA.  It's time for a real conversation about guns in America, one that's been silenced for too long. Guns are dangerous, even if the gun industry's primary mouthpiece refuses to admit it.

William Parkinson, The Sentinel, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Concealed-Carry's Tragic Toll. When all this concealed-carry nuttiness reaches its end, when otherwise intelligent people discover they've been hoodwinked by the firearms industry, maybe, just then, we all can breathe a touch easier.

FreakOutNation, The NRA's Most Insane Moments of 2014. Yes, We Shortened the Very Long List. When the whole "let's give Santa a bowl full of bullets for Christmas" debacle happened, it was just one of many slippery slopes the NRA fell down in 2014.

Mike the Gun Guy, Want To Get Shot With Your Own Gun? Carry It Concealed. There is not a single, credible study which validates the idea that using a gun to defend yourself against a criminal attack is any better than other ways, such as running away, or calling the cops.

Mike Kelly, North Jersey Record, Access to guns again is focus in tragedy's aftermath. There are many disturbing threads to be examined in the story of the assassination-style murders of NY police officers Ramos and Liu. But the story of how Brinsley managed to obtain a handgun could turn out to be the least surprising.

Eleanor Bader, Truthout, Book Review, The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It, by Tom Diaz.

USA Today editorial, Amid Court Secrecy, Guns Continued to Kill. Remington finally proposes settling nationwide class action suits by installing new triggers in some rifles.

Sabrina Siddiqui, How the NRA Lost Its Battle To Defeat Vivek Murthy as Obama's Surgeon General. In a final appeal to their colleagues, Senators Blumenthal and Murphy asked what about Murthy's statements on gun violence was inaccurate. "Dr. Murthy is right. Gun Violence is a problem that this country should be addressing," Murphy said.

Michael A. Cohen, The Boston Globe, Three Ways to Increase Gun Safety in the Home. Every day there resides among Americans a clear and present danger - millions of guns, many purchased for home protection that are having the exact opposite effect.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

► Frontline: Gunned Down: The Power of the NRA, explores the NRA's history, political evolution and influence. 

Texas Gun Slingers Police the Police. In Arlington, Texas, armed open-carry activists are challenging cops as they do their jobs, in escalating confrontations.

'Machine Gun America' Theme Park Opens in Orlando. Kids as young as 13 can shoot high-powered automatic machine guns at the attraction which unashamedly romanticizes violence.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Court allows church challenge to Wal-Mart

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - December 9, 2014

In The News
TrinityA federal judge ordered Wal-Mart to let shareholders vote on a proposal submitted by Trinity Episcopal Church to force tighter oversight of its sale of guns with high capacity magazines. Click here to read more about the shareholder proposal from Rev. Dr. James Cooper.
► Politico Magazine, The Gunfight in Cyberspace. With no help from Congress, gun violence prevention groups are forcing businesses to take a position on guns.
CNN investigative report "Hired Guns" found that despite the image of safety, armed security guards often themselves pose a threat to the public due to lax laws, minimal oversight and almost no accountability.
Carolyn McCarthy, who put a human face on the tragedy of gun violence, is leaving Congress after two decades. Back in the day she said "I was the only one who would go on TV" to discuss guns. But now, McCarthy says the gun violence prevention movement is stronger than ever.
► Calling out the NRA for its opposition, public health professionals are making a last-ditch effort this week topressure the Senate to confirm Surgeon General nominee Vivek Murthy.
► NY Upstate Medical University study shows New York's new SAFE Act may be encouraging the mentally ill to seek help. Many mental health providers predicted the reporting requirement of the law would make people reluctant to seek mental help, but the survey's findings suggest just the opposite may be true.
Sandy Hook teachers Four Sandy Hook teachers talk about what they heard and saw on December 14, 2012 and what they are doing to make certain this sort of tragedy never happens again. "We're at a tipping point" on guns laws.
Toys, deadly weapons difficult to distinguish. Not all toy and recreational guns have an orange tip, and many are manufactured to look and feel exactly like their lethal counterpart.
The CNN Guns Project Tries to track every shooting incident in a 24-hour period. These aren't the stories that tend to make national headlines. These are the stories that happen every day in America.

2014 National Vigil for All Gun Violence Victims
National VigilThis week people across the country will remember the second anniversary of the tragic Newtown shooting and honor all victims of gun violence.
To attend the Thursday, December 11th vigil at the National Cathedral in D.C. click here. To find an event in your state click here.

Community Support
Kathy Shorr photosAmerican Photo, Kathy Shorr Photographs Gun Violence Survivors. Shorr has photographed more than 30 people in her portrait series. "You rarely hear about what's happened to the people who have to put the pieces together and continue with their lives."
Bipartisan group of 200 legislators in all 50 states form nonpartisan gun violence prevention coalition.  The group is holding a national policy summit in D.C. to discuss options to prevent gun violence at the state level.
Hayley Fox, TakePart, Doctors want to talk to parents about this, but more states are making it illegal. In Florida a lot of people have swimming pools, so Dr. Petery regularly speaks with patients about how to keep children safe from drowning. But there's one thing he's not allowed to ask about: guns.
Matthew Yglesias, Vox, We shouldn't talk about Ferguson without talking about guns.  This case is a straightforward consequence of America's approach to firearms. Widespread gun ownership creates a systematic climate of fear on the part of the police.
► Twin Falls, Idaho Times-News, Editorial, Remember Schuldies, Cox by Fixing Gun Laws. George Salinas never should have had a gun when he murdered two people. But thanks to Idaho's legal system, where gun rights trump safety, he did.
► U-T San Diego, A personal look at gun culture. Author Craig Collins' own shooting informs "Thunder in the Mountains." His book, is part memoir, part genealogy, and part exploration of the forces that have made guns such a part of American culture.
Beth Kassab, Orlando Sentinel, Will more guns make campuses like FSU safer? No. Guns and students are a bad combination.  Police worry that guns don't mix with alcohol-fueled student parties.
Johns Hopkins seminarJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Heath seminar series, Challenges and Opportunities to Enforcing Maryland's Gun Laws. Panelists include MD Attorney General Brian Frosh, State Police Capt. Dalaine Brady and Prof. Daniel Webster.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing
►  Think Progress, The Florida Supreme Court is hearing a case that could make Stand Your Ground/Shoot First even worse. The case hinges on which party has to prove self-defense, defendants or prosecutors.
New Missouri gun rights amendment put to test by felon. A convicted drug dealer cites the new law as a reason why his former felony shouldn't disqualify him from carrying a gun.
► Guns.com, Editorial, 20 rules for winning gun fights. Rule #2 - Have plan to kill everyone you meet.  Rule #17 - Don't be a wuss.
Kalashnikov's new slogan: Weapons of Peace. The maker of the AK-47 has unveiled a new logo and a new slogan.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Nevada could put background checks on ballot soon

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - November 25, 2014

In The News

Nevada Nevadans for Background Checks have turned in the largest number of signatures ever gathered for a ballot initiative in Nevada. The initiative would require background checks for all gun sales. If the Legislature fails to pass the bill this year it will go directly to voters as a ballot measure in 2016.

Jay Leno cancels appearance at SHOT Show.  Leno was scheduled to speak at the National Shooting Sports Foundation gun industry trade show in Las Vegas but cancelled after pressure from gun violence prevention groups.  Leno said he was unaware that the NSSF was a pro-gun lobbying group based in Newtown, CT.

► A new report from the CT Office of the Child Advocate concludes that Sandy Hook killer Adam Lanza's anti-social and emotional problems began presenting in grade school but teachers failed to notice. It also noted that "access to guns is relevant to an examination of ways to improve the public health."

Guns may soon have wireless networked chips embedded to log their every action.  Some TX and CA police departments have already ordered the guns but fierce aversion from some gun owners has curtailed the making of a consumer version of the smart chips.

Hidden ScarsThe Hidden Scars of Chicago's Guns.  PTSD affects many victims of violent crime in the city, but few seek help. With about 2,000 shootings and more than 300 murders in the city each year, the strain on those who survive - victims and perpetrators - can be great.

► In a new study in Journal of Black Studies, The Role of Media in the Disparate Response to Gun Violence in America, Wanda Parham-Payne finds that the media portrayals of gun violence depend on race, leading to often very disparate policy responses.

A massive, high-volume gun trafficking ring from Florida to New York City has been broken up by police. Eight people were arrested. Police allege that the suspects funneled firearms from Florida, a state with lax gun laws, to New York City, often using Chinatown buses.

Viraj Pandit, M.D., a researcher at the U. of Arizona presented research to the American College of Surgeons showing that states with tight regulations on the purchase and control of guns have fewer injuries and deaths from firearms. "Strict firearm legislation may help to reduce firearm-related injuries and mortalities, and help to reduce the years of life lost," said Pandit.

► New research from Stanford University confirms that right-to-carry gun laws are linked to an increase in violent crime. This debunks earlier claims that more guns lead to less crime. Professor John Donohue and his colleagues have provided the most convincing evidence to date that right-to-carry laws are associated with an increase in violent crime.

2014 National Vigil for All Gun Violence Victims

National VigilAs we near the 2nd anniversary of the Newtown shooting, please join us this December for National Vigils and Events in Washington, D.C. and around the country.  

To host an event in your state click here. To attend the Thursday, December 11th vigil at the National Cathedral in D.C. click here.  To upload a photo of a loved one lost to gun violence click here. To apply for a special stipend to go to D.C. click here.  To make a donation to support the vigil click here.

Community Support

91%John Richie, director of the award-winning documentary Shellshocked, on the effect of gun violence on New Orleans teenagers, has a new project, 91 Percent. The figure comes from a Jan. 2013 national poll that found 91 percent of Americans favor background checks on people buying guns.

David Katz, M.D., Public Health as Political Prisoner. If a foreign government took the U.S. Surgeon General hostage, I'm confident we'd be pretty upset.  Yet our own political system has managed to hold Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination hostage.

► Los Angeles Times editorial, A sane gun law is under fire in San Diego. Until an appeal court struck down the law, CA counties had the option of restricting applicants for concealed weapons permits if there was a "good cause." Now, the same court has ruled that the state of CA has no standing to appeal that decision.

Shawn VanDiver, A Navy Vet's Case for Gun Control. A former Navy weapons instructor lays out the simple steps lawmakers can take to make us all safer.

Maria Konnikova, The New Yorker, Is there a link between mental health and gun violence? Mental illness is easy to blame, easy to pinpoint, and easy to legislate against in regards to gun ownership.  But that doesn't mean that it is the right place to start in an attempt to curtail violence.

Richard Gibson & Joshua Caruso, Cleveland, OH,  The time is now to halt the flow of illegal guns. Operation Samson II, led by ATF and Cleveland police, was successful. It proved that, with the right focus and resources, law enforcement can investigate criminal patterns and identify who in the county is distributing crime guns, and arrest and prosecute those who break the law.

► Delaware County, PA, Daily Times editorial, Brad Fox law a start in curbing gun violence Staci Dawson just became the first person in the state to be sentenced under a law that mandates harsh penalties for people who make straw gun purchases; that is, they illegally purchase guns for felons who cannot buy them.

Scott Maxwell, Orlando Sentinel, Silencers: Florida's latest sideshow distraction in guns. Each and every year, the NRA pushes some new issue - regardless of significance - designed solely to gin up controversy and swell its membership rolls.

Ivory Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, notes that because of ivory sales, more elephants are dying than can be born and African terrorist groups use ivory to gain capital. The Obama administration is working to ban all non-antique ivory sales. "It makes total sense!" said Stewart. "Elephants get preserved, terrorists get denied funding, what kind of asshole would be opposed to it? Oh, an NRAsshole."

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

►  Rob Cox, BreakingViews, Good news for guns is bad for gunmakers. Colt Defense warned of a possible default. Freedom Group saw its debt ratings cut by Moody's. Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson have taken a beating in the stock market. Their problem is that weapon sales are driven by fear.

21 states want a court to overturn Maryland's post-Sandy Hook assault weapons ban. The law is among the nation's strictest. It was challenged by opponents shortly after passage and was upheld by a federal judge. That decision is currently being appealed. 21 states have joined in a filing last week.

Right-wing media falsely claim that museums need to give up their guns. Media outlets are misleadingly promoting the report that a Washington state museum will have to return firearms on display following passage of the background check initiative.