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."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cities Find New Ways to Go After Gun Violence

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - September 16, 2014

In The News

Philadelphia mayorGoverning Magazine. With gun control legislation failing at the federal level, cities get creative and find new ways to address gun violence. Hampered by preemption laws, cities shift away from going after weapons themselves to a new focus on curtailing their unsafe use.

Sept. 16 marks the first anniversary of the Navy Yard shooting that killed 12 and left three injured. Jennifer Bennett carries an eight-inch scar from that day. "I'm a warrior and a survivor," she declares. "I have a determination not to give in."

17-year-old Kai Kloepfer from Boulder, CO just won the $50,000 Smart Tech for Firearms Challenge for his smart gun prototype, a gun that unlocks with your fingerprint.  However, some recipients in the $1 million contest have chosen to remain anonymous due to fear of a gun rights-fueled backlash.

► A Chronicle of Higher Education investigative report finds that at least 117 colleges have acquired equipment from the Department of Defense including grenade launchers, M-16 assault rifles and armored vehicles.

► Art HayhoeArthur Hayhoe was a tireless advocate for stronger gun laws. As the director of Floridians for Gun Safety, he fought for more background checks and against Florida's deadly Stand Your Ground/Shoot First law.  Art died this week at age 82.  He will be missed.

► Pro Publica, The Hidden Cost of Gun Violence: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Thousand of Americans in high-violence neighborhoods have develop PTSD. 24-year-old Aireana and her children are among the few who've been able to get treatment.

"Active Shooter" drills spark legal complaints. Critics say the simulation exercises can traumatize those taking part. Some experts say recreating the chaos of a mass shooting is no way to prime for emergencies.

► Social Science Research Network, The Impact of Right to Carry Laws and the NRC Report, Abhay Aneja et al. New study finds that the strongest evidence of a statistically significant effect of RTC laws is an increase in aggravated assault crimes.

► Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigative report, In greater numbers, Georgia killers, child molesters free to arm. A growing number of violent offenders have received pardons that restore gun rights. Last year 31 percent of gun-rights pardons went to violent felony offenders.

► Urban Institute, State Variation in Hospital Use and Cost of Firearm Assault Injury, 2010, Embry Howell et al. New study finds that national gun violence costs totaled $670 million in 2010, with most of the cost being paid for by the public. And that males - especially black males - are more likely to be victims of firearm assault.

► Charleston Post and Courier seven-part series on domestic violence in South Carolina, Till Death Do Us Part. Awash in guns, saddled with ineffective laws and lacking enough shelters, South Carolina is a state where the deck is stacked against women trapped in the cylce of abuse.

Community Support

► Australian Jim Jefferiesstand up comedian Jim Jefferies, Baretalks about something that sort of splits the crowd a little bit, gun control. Powerful routine, but beware, much profanity used. 

Salt Lake City Tribune, Editorial, Utah gun accident shows danger of guns on campus. People who think it makes a school safer to allow teachers, janitors and lunch room ladies to pack heat on campus have watched way too many James Bond movies.

Alice Speri, Vice News, The last thing Missouri needs is more guns, but that's exactly what it's getting. Republican lawmakers override the governor's veto and vote to expand open carry and lower the age for concealed weapon permits. The state has recently been at the heart of a national controversy over the killing of unarmed 18-year-old Michale Brown by Ferguson police.

Amanda Gailey, Salon, "Wretched, disgusting commie leftists": My nightmare fighting gun nuts in a red state. Want to understand why it's so hard to win the most basic gun safety reform? Here's how the debate so often goes.

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, A reasonable gun measure prompted by Isla Vista rampage.  The measure, approved by the Legislature, would let relatives seek a court order to remove weapons from a family member who displays signs of violence.

Mike The Gun Guy,  Guns sales have tanked and here's the reason why. While the gun industry tried to explain the surge in sales as new customers, the hard, cold facts are that most of the sales were to people who already owned guns and were sensitive that gun legislation might take their precious toys away.

Chad MacDonald, Forward Progressives, Gun fanatics are creeping my Facebook profile. Mark Kessler, gun rights advocate, came to my profile, found a picture with my family to comment about his guns underneath of, and then followed a tag to my wife's profile. He did not find me randomly, he came looking for me.

Bill GatesCliff Schecter, Daily Beast, The NRA pissed off the wrong nerd genius. Bill Gates is donating $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state, a ballot initiative for universal background checks - and there's more where that came from.

Leonard Pitts, Jr, Miami Herald, U.S. is exceptional - and stupid, too. A 9-year-old girl unintentionally shot and killed a gun range instructor: What kind of shooting range allows a prepubescent girl to fire an Uzi? What kind of parents think it's a good idea? And what kind of idiot country does not prohibit such things by law?

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

► Rob Cox, Buzz Feed, My Year in the NRA.  I grew up and raised my family in Newtown, CT - and own guns. After 26 of my neighbors were massacred, I signed up to see how the organization that controls our gun debates works.

► Alabama Today, Where in Alabama are residents most heavily armed?  A county-by-county analysis of concealed weapons permits, plus 17 gun owners tell why they carry.

► A group of heavily-armed Arizona border militia members mistook conservationists researching bats for illegal immigrants or smugglers. The militia group, from Colorado, was armed and wearing camouflage when it stopped the researchers.

► Don Gonyear, National Public Radio, Guns boom in 2014 campaign ads. This year lots of ads are featuring candidates with firearms shooting at things: TVs, drones, copies of the Affordable Care Act.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gun Wars

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - August 19, 2014

In The News

Gun Wars Gun Wars is the 2014 project of the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. Journalism student fellows spent five months researching guns. Then 29 fellows traveled to 25 states, producing the most exhaustive report ever published by News21. 

Americans for Responsible Solutions and Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence have released a new toolkit for lawmakers and advocates:  Commonsense Solutions: How State Laws Can Reduce Gun Deaths Associated With Mental Illness.  The toolkit gives a manual for understanding the breakdowns in state laws that allow the dangerously mentally ill easy access to guns.

A federal judge upheld Maryland's new law that bans assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. The judge concluded that "the Act substantially serves the government's interest in protecting public safety."

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signs gun violence prevention bill into law. The bill includes provisions focused on school safety, mental health, background checks and enhanced criminal penalties for gun crimes.

► New state efforts to stop gun violence:  Delaware has created a statewide unit targeting illegal gun sales and distribution of firearms.  New York City will create a Gun Violence Crisis Management System.

► A preliminary report from the American Bar Association Task Force finds that  Stand Your Ground/Shoot First laws are associated with increased homicide rates and reinforce racial bias. The report concludes that "the application of SYG laws is unpredictable, uneven, and results in racial disparities."

National Poll on Children's HealthThe annual National Poll on Children's Health from the University of Michigan shows childhood obesity remains the top health concern for children, but when asked about national concerns, adults put school violence and gun-related injuries in the top 10.

► The Atlantic, The Question Doctors Can't Ask. Is there a gun in your home? If so, is it secure? A Florida law now prevents physicians from discussing firearm safety with patients.

► A Detroit jury found Theodore Wafer guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Renisha McBride, rejecting his "castle doctrine" defense. Renisha's mother said that the jury's verdict showed that "her life mattered."

Community Support

The Economist,  The Ferguson Protests: Guns, police and the people. The killing of Michael Brown happened because America's citizens and its police are too heavily armed, and too quick to believe they have a legitimate right to shoot someone in a disagreement.

Kin Killing KinA new art exhibit in Indianapolis "Kin Killing Kin", depicts deadly gun violence involving young black males. The exhibit trains local high school students to serve as tour guides. The art will travel across the country after it leaves Indiana.

Keith Boykin, Huffington Post, Does the Second Amendment Only Apply to White People?  Imagine what might happen if black people started buying up scores of weapons at gun stores and posting pictures carrying them on the streets.

Becky Mason, Ohio Domestic Violence Network, A Gun Increases The Chances the Victim Will Die. American women are 11 times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other developed countries. Perhaps the most tragic element here is that many of these deaths could have been prevented.

Brenda Gazzar, Los Angeles Daily News, Jewish Community Center Shooting Survivors Turn Pain into Action.  15 years after a gunman's shooting spree at a Jewish center in Granada Hills, survivors and their families work to prevent gun violence.

Diane R. Girardot, MA, LPC, How To Prevent Suicide and Other Gun Deaths.  The most pressing issue in gun violence prevention is addressing suicide, not gang-related crime or mass shootings. When you add statistics about domestic violence intimidation, coercion and unintentional death from firearms, a very real national crisis becomes evident.

Francis Wilkinson, BloombergView, NRA Defeats Politicians, Loses on Internet. The Internet preserves the NRA's folly, then amplifies the ensuing mockery. It also reminds people of the many innocents killed just because some reckless or insecure person had a gun.

Beau Bridges, actor, Why I Helped Jim Brady Fight for Gun Control. The man walked directly to me in a restaurant and placed the business end of his pistol between my eyes. The stranger quickly became the most important person I had ever met.

Open-Carry TrailblazersThe Colbert Report, Open-Carry Trailblazers. Stephen Colbert reviews the children's book My Parents Open Carry. "This book is long overdue," Colbert concluded. "I wish there were more firearms in children's books."

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

The NRA is quietly fighting for your right to kill elephants for their ivory. The organization is pushing for a law that would allow wealthy safari elephant hunters to bring home their large ivory trophy.

U.S. gun owners see Obama conspiracy in sanctions on Russia's AK-47. The recent blacklisting of Russian arms manufacturer Kalshnikov is seen by some as an insidious means to curb Second Amendment rights.

Texas board considers allowing alcohol at gun shows. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has proposed rules allowing alcohol sales during some gun shows. Venues would be required to prohibit live ammunition in the facility during shows and require any firearms be disabled.

How a new book revises the gun lobby's post-Newtown intransigence. Frank Miniter's forthcoming book The Future of the Gun presents a revisionist history of the NRA's extremism during the legislative battle over guns following the Newtown shooting.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Who Gets Shot In America

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - August 5, 2014

In The News

Who gets shot?For over a year, Jennifer Mascia, tried to find out who gets shot in America and to document the shootings in the New York Times Gun Report blog.  More than 350 posts and 40,000 deaths later, here is what she learned. The story is part of a series from Raw Story, Trigger Happy: Can anything slow down America's epidemic of gun violence?

James Brady, press secretary for President Reagan and survivor of 1981 shooting, dies at 73. Brady joined his wife Sarah in working for the passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in 1993. The bill imposed a background check on gun purchasers.

Three steps forward: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a bill that would have allowed teachers to carry concealed guns on school property. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed two gun safety bills, one closing a loophole in CA's "Unsafe Handgun" law and the other speeds up communication on mental health records.  A federal appeals court ruled that, despite a state law, convicted felons in Montana can't own firearms.

Two steps back: A federal appeals court upheld a Florida law known as the "physician gag rule" that punishes doctors for talking to their patients about guns. A federal judge ruled that the District of Columbia's complete ban on carrying handguns in public was unconstitutional. The ruling has been put on hold to allow D.C. to revise the law.

C-Span hearing on guns and domestic violenceThe Senate Judiciary Committee held its first-ever hearing on guns and domestic violence. The panel discussed measures to close loopholes in current federal law dealing with stalkers and perpetrators of domestic violence. The full hearing can be viewed on C-Span.

Mother Jones, Why the Suspected Texas Shooter's Domestic-Violence History Didn't Keep Him From Owning Guns. Ronald Lee Haskell, who shot and killed his sister-in-law, her spouse and four of their five children, had a history of domestic violence. How did he get a gun?

Rolling Stone Magazine takes an in-depth look at America's Gun Violence Epidemic. Features include Gun Survivors Speak Out, How to Beat the NRA in 7 Not-So-Easy Steps and The 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America.

► A new book, Gun Violence, Disability and Recovery, from the Surviving Gun Violence Project, makes a convincing case for the rights of gun violence victims through reports and stories from countries around the world.

CNN ReportsCNN Reports, What Happens When You Don't Die?, looks at three people who were shot and left paralyzed. "Imagine being fully independent, get a gunshot wound and all of a suddenly you're paralyzed, you can't work, you can't take care of bodily functions. That's what we're dealing with."

Community Support

Christy Martin: My Gun Didn't Protect Me. I'm a woman who knows how to defend herself. As one of the most successful female boxers, I made a career of dispatching would-be assailants. But all my years of training proved useless when my abusive husband decided he would murder me with my own gun.

Stand Up Chicago Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah through his Noah's Arc Foundation has launched the "Chicago Stand Up" psa campaign urging Chicagoans to put down the guns and stand up for peace "in order to bring some hope, change and support to the community."

Mary Scott Huff, My Summer, So Far (Part 4). The message I've received from the universe has been loud, clear, and redundant: April 27, My friend reminded me that I have not done anything to change the gun violence problem in my country. June 10, Text from my daughter, "Mom, there's a shooter in my school. I'm okay, but I wanted to tell you that I love  you."

Emily Badger, Washington Post, More guns, less crime? Not exactly. Let more people carry conealed guns, and assaults go up. Put more guns in circulation, and more bad things are bound to happen.

NPR Radio, A Year After Trayvon-Zimmerman Verdict, What's Changed? A roundtable discussion with Michael Skolnick, Keli Goff, Neil Minkoff and Leonard Pitts.

Fred Sauter, Democrat & Chronicle, Essay:NRA Has Lost A Member The NRA has missed opportunities for civil discussion by stonewalling many proposed rational changes in gun laws. They could have a role in crafting national standards if they would recognize that the public is demanding change and be a constructive part of it.

Wonkette.com, Philosophy Professor On Dealing With Open-Carry Advocates: Don't Be Here Now. Jack Russell Weinstein, professor of philosophy at U. of North Dakota, talks about a possible response to the presence of "open carry" advocates in a restaurant: leave.

Archie comicVox.com, Squeaky-clean comics hero Archie is dying to prove a point about gun control. In the July issue, Archie dies because he took a bullet to protect his good friend, gay senator Kevin Keller, as part of a storyline that examines issues of gun control.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

► Brian Judy, a senior Washington state lobbyist for the NRA, compared supporting gun control to paving the way for the Holocaust. His remarks were aimed at Nick Hanauer, Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, whose family fled Germany to escape the Nazis.

Smith & Wesson Hit For Overseas Bribes. The company has agreed to pay $2 million in fines for bribing officials in Pakistan, Indonesia and other countries as it tried to sell firearms to military and law enforcement agencies overseas.

The NRA's Murder Mystery. One court sent him to prison for shooting a woman. Another set him free over bad police work. Was the NRA's top lawyer railroaded - or a "bad guy with a gun"?

► NRA videos advocate making gun training for children "necessary to advance to the next grade" and allowing blind people to carry loaded, hidden guns in public.