Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It was a great night for gun violence prevention

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - November 11, 2014

In The News
► victory partyOn election night, if you back stronger gun laws things went even better than you could have reasonably expected. The big news was in Washington State where a ballot initiative for universal background checks passed with 60 percent of the vote.
► Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said the stronger gun laws passed after the Sandy Hook shooting helped him pick up votes in Newtown against his Republican opponent. "I think there was an appreciation that we stepped forward and we did the right thing, and we weren't afraid to do the right thing when it came to guns," Malloy said.
► Colorado Democrats win back seats lost in last year's gun recall election. Voter turnout in Tuesday's election far exceeded the 20% of voters who cast ballots in the 2013 recall vote. Democrats won both seats with a comfortable margin.
► Former Boston Mayor Tom Menino, who died recently, is celebrated for his leadership.  Menino and NYC Mayor Bloomberg worked together to form Mayors Against Illegal Guns. "Tom spoke passionately about the victims of gun violence and felt that a mayor's number one responsibility was protecting the public," said Bloomberg.
► Melted guns recycled into new steel. Guns turned in during a gun buy-back in Cleveland, Ohio  will be melted down. The steel company ArcelorMittal, a partner in the buy-back, said they were pleased to be able to recycle the steel "into consumer goods that improve the quality of all our lives."
► The award winning Gun Crisis Reporting Project in Philadelphia, PA, has ceased daily reporting.  The project has been viewed as a success, "we made a difference, as communicators and catalysts," Jim MacMillan said, but "funding has been impossible,"
► A new law took effect in Wisconsin which requires individuals accused of violence in a domestic abuse restraining order to turn over all of their  firearms to either their local sheriff or to a person not involved in the case.
► A new study, Gun Possession among American Youth, Sonali Rajan and Kelly Ruggles, finds "multiple risk behaviors, beyond more commonly discussed indicators of poor mental health" associated with youth gun possession . The study identified more than 40 different behavioral factors other than mental illness that are strongly associated with gun possession.

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
 Cliff Schecter, One of the Midterms' Little-Noticed Big Losers: The NRA.  Ballot measures are a way to go around bought-off legislators and unpopular-yet-powerful, right-wing corporate interests like the NRA. While our system remains broken, this is a roadmap for the near future.
► Westchester United, part of the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign, held an event in New Rochelle, NY.   Community groups and public officials are working together to ask gun manufacturers to provide information on their distribution practices and safety technologies.
► The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence called for background checks on all gun purchases, including private and gun-show sales. 
► Chris Peak, The Psychology of Guns. Guns remove the intimacy of killing. The thought of having to approach and kill your vicitm by using physical force is unsettling. So we kill from thirty feet away - away from the blood, away from having to personalize and internalize the act.
► Innocent TargetsBritish artist Anthony Burrill's,  Innocent Targets, is a series of shooting range posters depicting archetypal examples of the innocent victims killed by gun-related crimes in the U.S. each year.  The quotes included on each poster reminds viewers of the sheer absurdity of America's gun crime situation.
► Newsday Editorial, Don't Let NRA Shoot Down Vote on Surgeon General. With Ebola anxiety gripping the nation, the confirmation of a surgeon general is one key piece of unfinished business for the U.S. Senate. The NRA is blocking a vote on nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy. This is no time for special-issue myopia.
► Jennifer Sinor, Chronicle of Higher Education,Guns on Campus Have Already Curtailed Free Speech. Anita Sarkeesian cancelled a talk at Utah State University because of threats of violence. The university could not guarantee a gun-free audience because state law allows concealed weapons on college campuses.
► Mike Weisser, Mike the Gun Guy, Do Guns Make Us More or Less Safe? The NRA Seems To Be Winning the Argument. In the arena of public opinion, the folks who believe that guns are a risk have fallen far behind. Why is there such a clear disconnect between the consensus among health researchers and the general public regarding the safety of guns?
► Launa Hall, Rehearsing for Death: A Pre-K Teacher on the Trouble With Lockdown Drills. Instead of controlling guns and inconveniencing those who would use them, we are rounding up and silencing a generation of schoolchildren, and terrifying those who care for them. We are giving away precious time to teach and learn while we cower in fear.
Colbert Report
Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, The NRA vs. Pennsylvania's Pet-Eating Ban. You can have a dog for dinner in Pennsylvania thanks to the NRA.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing
► Media Matters, NRA's Election Message: "Vote Your Guns" because ISIS might be outside your house and you may need a gun in case of electromagnetic pulses or cyber attacks.
► Bob Cook, One More Thing Keeping Kids From Hunting: American Gun Culture. For the umpteenth year in a row there are stories about how there aren't as many kids, or people in general, as there used to be out hunting.
► Media Matters, Three Bizarre Ways the Gun Lobby Media is Downplaying a Major Background Check Victory. Conservative media and the NRA offer weak arguments in an attempt to spin the outcome of the Washington background check ballot.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Loaded With Lead

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - October 28, 2014

In The News

Loaded with LeadSeattle Times three-part investigative report, Loaded With Lead,  examines lead hazards at shooting ranges nationwide. Part 1: Lead poisoning is a major threat at America's shooting ranges;  Part 2: Bellevue shooting range poisoned dozens; Part 3: Young shooters at risk. At a shooting club in Vancouver, WA, 20 youngsters tested positive for lead overexposure.

Rate of Mass Shootings Has Tripled Since 2011. Scholars from Harvard School of Public Health and Northeastern University analyze three decades of data and find that in 2011 the U.S. entered a new period in which mass shootings are occurring more frequently. 

Minneapolis, Minnesota police are at the forefront of new gun ID technology.  They are using the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network to match bullets to crimes around the city.

► Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder laments the inability to enact stronger gun laws.  "The thought that we could not translate that horror [of the Newtown shooting] into reasonable gun safety measures that were supported by the vast majority of the American people is for me something that I take personally as a failure and something that I think we as a society should take as a failure, a glaring failure, that I hope will ultimately be rectified."

Want to play cop? This town will sell you a badge and a gun permit. The police chief in the village of Oakley, Michigan has started an auxiliary police program.  $1,200 for a uniform, bullet-proof vest and gun, plus some additional donations to the police department will get you a police badge and the right to carry a gun almost anywhere in the state.

#ProtectAllWomen Is Your State Acting to #ProtectAllWomen? New interactive website from Americans for Responsible Solutions, Everytown, Generation Progress, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Washington, D.C. to begin accepting first applications in decades for concealed-firearm permits. Move comes after federal judge's ruling striking down the District's long-standing concealed-carry ban.

► After the shooting at the National War Memorial and Parliament in Ottawa, Canada, a look at how gun control works in Canada. Canada's laws are meaningfully stronger than those in the U.S.

2014 National Vigils for All Gun Violence Victims

National VigilPlease join us this December for the second annual  National Vigils for All Gun Violence Victims.

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

Eric Liu, Citizen University, Gun Violence Isn't Somebody Else's Problem It is not normal, in a civilized nation, to have over 30,000 gun deaths a year.  Somebody's child was killed Friday because that child went to school. Somebody has to do something about it. In ways full of both risk and responsibility, you are that somebody.

Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, a coalition of prosecutors from across the country, gathered for the first time in Atlanta to discuss ways to fight gun violence.

Sojourners Sojourners, Faith in Action for Social Justice, new study guide, Elevating the Issues: Gun Violence. Complements videos from The 2014 Sojourners Summit and features articles from Sojourners magazine and God's Politics blog. For use with small study groups or individual study.

Ellen Painter Dollar, Patheos, It's Still a No Brainer for Christians to Support Gun Law Reform. Jesus had a lot to say (and show) about vulnerability, fear, self-protection and violence - and it wasn't "arm yourself."

Cliff Schecter, Daily Beast, The Fear About Things That Won't Kill Us Is Killing Us. Scare-mongering by opportunistic politicians and media are hiding the real killer in our midst: the pervasiveness of guns, which kills up to 30,000 Americans every year.

Scott Van Pelt, One Big Thing, ESPN Radio. Van Pelt  reacts to the recent tragic events in Canada and wonders what would happen if here in the U.S. we reacted the same way every time someone was shot and killed.

Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, When selling guns to felons is no problem, that's a problem. Even the experience of mistakenly selling assault rifles to an eight-time felon isn't enough to convince some gun enthusiasts of the need for background checks.

Brilliance How about a story where jewels, love and humor defeat the guns?!  An American and Australian team up to make a film,  Brilliance,  that comments on the senselessness of gun violence.

Gary Legum, Wonkette.com, Liberal lawmaker owns a gun and favors gun control. Impossible!  We feel we must once again point out that owning a gun is not incompatible with advocating for laws that would hold gun owners legally responsible for any mayhem someone might commit with that gun.

Mike Weisser, Mike the Gun Guy, Missouri is the latest state to prohibit doctors from talking about guns. The real reason the gunnies want to push physicians out of the discussion about gun violence is that they want to disconnect gun ownership from violence to make guns more acceptable, more enjoyable, more normal.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

Cerberus said it would stay out of the gun debate.  Why are executives it appointed fighting gun safety laws?  The company said it would sell a gun manufacturing conglomerate called Freedom Group, but now executives are helping to finance anti-gun-control ads in Connecticut.

► Media Matters reports Dana Loesch's new book, Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America, botches quotes from the Founding Fathers.

Open Carry gun extremists march through downtown St. Louis, Missouri with handguns and assault rifles to put a new Missouri gun law to the test.  A counter protest was held by members of Amnesty International.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Arkansas, Oklahoma and Wyoming universities agree - No Guns on Campus

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - October 14, 2014

In The News

Oklahoma college presidents More than half of Oklahoma's public college presidents went to the state Capitol to tell lawmakers "placing guns on campus would be a serious mistake."   For the second consecutive year, governing boards of Arkansas' universities voted unanimously to prohibit carrying of guns on their campuses. The Faculty Senate at the University of Wyoming also solidified its position against guns on campus.

California Governor Jerry Brown signs 'gun violence restraining order' law.  The new law allows family members to petition a judge to temporarily remove guns from those at risk of committing gun violence.

► A new study, The Relationship Between Gun Ownership and Stranger and Non-stranger Firearm Homicides, Michael Siegel, MD et al, finds that states with higher gun ownership have a higher incidence of non-stranger firearms homicides - disputing the claim that gun ownership deters violent crime.

Brady memorial Jim Brady remembered as a champion for gun safety.  Vice President Joe Biden was among the many who spoke at the memorial service for Brady who died in August at the age of 73. Biden praised Brady as an example of turning tragedy into action.

Using data to combat gun violence. Experts explain how data from social network maps, acoustic sensors and research can be used in the fight against gun violence.

► Under the Defense Department giveaway program even an Ozarks coroner gets surplus military guns. The coroner's office obtained a .45-caliber pistol, an M-16 rifle and a Humvee. The White House has ordered a review of the controversial program.

► Jurors found Michael Dunn guilty of first-degree murder in the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn shot into an SUV full of teenagers following a squabble over loud music.

OpenSecrets.org looks at the money gun violence prevention groups and pro-gun groups are spending in the 2014 election cycle at the federal, state and local level. 

2014 National Vigil for All Gun Violence Victims

National VigilPlease join in the second annual  National Vigil for All Gun Violence Victims.

To host a vigil 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

The EmbassyAs part of the Prospect.3 international art festival in New Orleans, avant-garde art curator Kirsha Kaechele's project, "The Embassy", will includea $100,000 "no questions asked" gun buy-back program combined with a free recording studio in a converted car wash.

Frank Strier, Salon.com, How pediatricians are taking on the NRAAs more kids in the U.S. die from guns than cancer, the NRA is fighting basic safety measures.  Now doctors are pushing back.

Beth Messersmith, MomsRising.org, Lessons mothers have learned in the year since North Carolina relaxed gun laws. Perhaps most importantly we've learned that we can advocate sensible laws that protect our children, families, neighbors. We can hold our N.C. elected officials accountable for protecting the public's safety.

Roland S. Martin, Daily Beast, Where the hell is the surgeon general?  We've got an Ebola crisis on our hands - and no surgeon general to deal with it. Blame the NRA, but Obama and the Senate Democrats, too.

I pledgeOctober 22nd is the Day of National Concern about Young People and Gun Violence. Students across the country are taking the Student Pledge Against Gun Violence. As part of this effort, 64 schools and over 27,000 students in the Eastern District of Louisiana will participate in the Student Pledge event.

Heather Digby Parton, Salon.com, Why "open carry" groups don't get police brutality. Open carry people should realize that nice white men openly carrying firearms on the street aren't being gunned down on sight by police. It's unarmed black men and unarmed mentally ill people of all races who are being gunned down.

Alec MacGillis, New Republic,Democrats who stand with the NRA win nothing. In fact, two of them just might lose this fall. Two Democrats who voted against background checks are up for reelection this year, the NRA turns against senator from Arkansas and doesn't endorse in the race in Alaska.

Richard Martinez, special to the Sacramento Bee, Passage of gun bills shows NRA isn't invincible. After my son was killed, I very publicly declared that "not one more" child should die of senseless gun violence. That's why I committed myself to fighting for stronger gun laws.

WiriadjajajGunshot victim takes a selfie a day to document his healing. Antonius Wiriadjaja was shot walking to the subway. Now he wants you to see how long and hard the healing process is.  He was in a coma for four days and in physical therapy for seven months. But says he was incredibly lucky that day, he survived relatively unscathed.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

Glock family goes down, guns blazing. Helga Glock, ex-wife to the gun industry's tycoon, filed a lawsuit in Atlanta federal court. The complaint accuses the gun manufacturer of a racketeering scheme that spanned decades and the globe.

"They've got us hogtied": Inside the gun lobby's strategy conference. Media Matters reports on the Gun Rights Policy Conference. One speaker warned, "the Bloomberg people know gun groups will never support background check legislation, so they can knock our teeth out and there's nothing we can do about it."

For a mere $1,200, you can now outfit an army with as many working AR-15s as you want. A pro-gun advocate has invented a 3-D printer that will allow amateur gunsmiths to create AR-15 assault rifles without serial numbers. The developer commented that "this is a way to jab at the bleeding hearts."

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

In Newtown, healing comes slowly

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - September 30, 2014

In The News

Sandy Hook Politico reports on how in Newtown, healing comes slowly. As the two-year anniversary of the deadly shooting approaches, students and staff in the school district still struggle with the sense that school is an unsafe place, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and grief.

A U.S. District Court judge upheld Highland Park, Illinois' ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. The judge ruled that the ban does not violate the Second Amendment.

Democrats not "shying away from guns" in Colorado district. During last year's CO state senate recall elections, political consultants decided the risk/benefit to "engaging the gun issue" wasn't worth it. But pretending there's no 800-pound gorilla in the room is not a good strategy. Mailer starts to undo this thinking.

Jersey City, New Jersey to award contract for weapons and ammunition under new innovative policy using the city's purchasing power clout.  Bidders had to answer questions regarding how they handle firearms they purchase back from the city, questions about assault weapons and whether they agree not to sell certain firearms to civilians.

► NPR report To Counter Gun Violence, Researchers Seek Deeper Data.  There are big gaps in what gets reported and what doesn't when it comes to gun violence. The CDC has begun offering grants to states to expand the National Violent Death Reporting System.

FBI report New FBI analysis of "active shooter" situations from 2000 through 2013 shows a rise in incidents. The study found an average of six incidents per year from 2000 through 2006. The number rose to 16 incidents annually in the past seven years. Click here to read full report.

► A new report from BMJ Open finds that firearm-related deaths are twice as high among African-Americans compared with whites. The study correlates gun-related deaths to ethnicity and groups the statistics into state-specific categories. Click here to read the full report.

Daniel Webster, Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, talk at TedMed 2014,America's Path to Fewer Gun Deaths. Our standards for legal gun ownership are too low and our laws are too weak to hold individuals accountable if they put guns into the hands of criminals.

Olympia, Washington convicted felon was buying and selling guns on Facebook with little trouble, federal prosecutors contend.  Michael Joanen was able to deal in guns for months before federal investigators caught wind.

Community Support

Bob Costas Bob Costas on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell.  In what O'Donnell calls   the best defense of gun safety laws, Costas makes a strong case for stronger gun laws.

Kay Campbell, Alabama Media Group, 'Jesus was not a member of the NRA;' no biblical grounds for emphasis on self-defense."It's hard to articulate a strong Biblical case for a heavily armed society," said one of the panelists on "God and Guns" at the Religion Newswriters conference. "That's not Biblical reasoning; that's cultural reasoning."

Hunter, Daily Kos, Sen. Mark Pryor backstabbed his state for the NRA.  It got him nothing. Last year Pryor (D-AR) voted with the NRA against background checks. The NRA just announced a $1.3 million ad buy supporting his Republican opponent in the upcoming election.

Art exhibitGuns in the Hands of Artists  is a new exhibit at the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans, Louisiana. It features works from 30 artists from across the country.

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, Stranger Danger and Guns. "I may have been a fool for trying to reclaim my phone. But we're all idiots for accepting a society where knocking on a door is a deadly risk."

Harmon Leon, Cracked.com, 5 Terrifying Things I Learned While Buying Guns on Facebook. Most people agree that in a perfect world, there'd be a few obstacles in between, say, a disturbed teen and a brand-new assault rifle. But here's what we found instead.

BET Hip Hop AwardsAllHipHop partnered with the League of Young Voters and Snoop Dogg to bring their gun violence prevention campaign #NoGunsAllowed to the 2014 BET Hip-Hop Awards red carpet in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tom Sullivan, Huffington Post,The Midterm Election in Aurora, Colorado Where My Son Was Shot Must Address Gun Control. Our children's lives and our communities are at risk. Let the politicians in Washington know that enough is enough. We will work for change, with or without them.

Peace Tournament NBA Stars Fight Gun Violence with Basketball at Chicago Church. St. Sabina Parish hosts the third annual Peace Tournament.  NBA All-Star Joakim Noah,  NBA legend Isiah Thomas and others helped with the event.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

► Washington Post, The NRA's over-the-top ad stretches the facts with its images. Fact Checker gives a new ad airing in Louisiana against Senator Mary Landrieu Four Pinocchios (factual whoppers).

► Wicomico County, Maryland Sheriff Mike Lewis told a local tv station,  "Who am I to tell them they shouldn't have a magazine with 30 rounds behind the door when some thug is trying to break into their home?" The Maryland Attorney General responded by saying, "If a sheriff takes an oath to defend the laws in Maryland, then that sheriff has taken an oath to defend this gun law."

► Larry Pratt, Gun Owners of America, tells interviewer that Democratic lawmakers are rightly afraid of being shot by gun owners because "that's what the Second Amendment is all about."