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.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

If we had universal background checks, guns wouldn't kill so many people

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - July 8, 2014

In The News

Missouri graphDaniel Webster professor of public health at Johns Hopkins University, talks with the New Republic, Guns Kill People. And If We Had Universal Background Checks, They Wouldn't Kill So Many. "Without universal background check requirements, there is little deterrent to selling guns to criminals or gun traffickers."

► New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have banned ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds saying "I will not support such a trivial approach to the sanctity of human life." Hours before his decision families from Newtown delivered a petition with 55,000 signatures asking him to sign the bill.

► A new Quinnipiac University poll finds that 92 percent of American voters, including gun owners, support requiring background checks for all gun sales.

► In a University of Washington study, Dr. Frederick Rivara finds that hospital patients with gunshot wounds are 11 times more likely to die from gun violence within five years. Those who had a prior arrest for gun-related or violent crime were 43 times more likely to be slain within the next five years than those without either.

► A Louisiana court ruled a new amendment to the state constitution guaranteeing the right to bear arms does not allow convicted felons to possess firearms. A federal judge upheld Colorado's new stronger gun laws that mandate background checks for all gun sales and limit ammunition magazines to 15 rounds.

Georgia school leaders are turning down a new option to arm teachers, saying it doesn't make kids safer and creates new problems. The first day of Georgia's new guns everywhere law saw a gun draw-down between two men openly carrying guns in a local store.

One hundred sixty-three U.S. House Democrats signed a letter to Speaker Boehner demanding that he allow "a vote on substantive legislation to address gun violence."

► Chicago area Congresswoman Robin Kelly released The 2014 Kelly Report on Gun Violence in America the first-ever Congressional analysis of the nation's gun violence epidemic that offers a blueprint for ending the crisis.

► Experts offer solutions on how to stop mass shootings. Solutions include gun violence restraining orders, assisted outpatient treatment and violent misdemeanor convictions as disqualification for gun purchase and possession.

Community Support

Let the Children LiveThe Milwaukee, Wisconsin Clarke Street Boys & Girls Club teens helped to create a psa, Let The Children Live. It is dedicated to 10-year-old Sierra who was shot and wounded on the playground where the video was filmed.

Tammerlin Drummond, Oakland Tribune, A Boston group, LIPSTICK (Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop To Inner-City Killings) focuses not on the men doing most of the shooting but on the women who buy guns for them. The idea is to educate women about the dangers of buying or hiding guns for men in their lives.

Shaun Wallace, Liberal America, A British Guy goes Off On The American Gun Culture (With Citations). We honestly do not understand your love affair with the gun. How a modern western democracy has such stupid gun laws is scary. America is so insular they don't notice.

Himat Batra, Journal Star, Peoria, Illinois, If Past Is Prologue, There's Hope for Gun Control. We should always remember that vested interests never forego their privileges easily.  Some successful struggles of the past - the abolition of slavery, the Civil Rights Movements, women's suffrage - testify to that.

► New Jersey Jewish Standard, Local Rabbi Takes Aim at Gun Violence Prevention. Rabbi Joel Mosbacher is leveraging the purchasing power of cities and states - who buy 40 percent of the guns in the country - to pressure gun manufacturers to create safer gun distribution standards. "So far we've got 30 jurisdictions signing on to the campaign."

Marie Crandall, Associate Professor of Surgery at Northwestern U., What Isn't funny About the Accidental Penis Shooting. The issue of unintentional firearm injuries and the attendant burden of death and disability is not really funny at all.

Iulia Filip, The Atlantic, Doctors' Role in Stopping Gun Violence. With proper training and guidelines, physicians could determine who is fit to carry a gun. Doctors are qualified to do this, but they need guidance. The problem is there is currently no standardized national protocol for assessments.

Sally Lieber, Palo Alto Online, Stemming the tide of gun violence. Instead of acquiescing to the gun industry, we can take action in our own communities. We can continue to hold Congress accountable but still move forward. Strong, common-sense measures to deter gun violence can - and must - be advanced in every local community.

► Thoughts At Large blog, An Open Letter Response to Millionaire LaPierre. You seed paranoia to sell guns, blame the consequences on everything else and cash your checks. To you I say: There is change coming. It will not happen overnight or without great pain, but change is coming.

Ann Friedman, New York Magazine, The Scary Reason Some Men Like Guns Better Than Women. The headlines have come to reflect the message in a way that is chillingly consistent: These men control guns. These men wish they controlled women. These men use guns to control women. What was once perceived as the stuff of women's-studies classes has become routine news analysis.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

► Rob Astorino, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in New York, is featured on a billboard in the Finger Lakes asking "Would you rather Register to Vote or register Your Guns? The billboard targets voters who want to repeal the SAFE Act, the state's new, strong gun laws.

Open Carry Texas goes for 'In Your Face' approach to the gun debate.  CJ Grisham, a 20-year Army veteran, leads the group of gun-carrying activists who carry around assault rifles in public. Grisham says he still battles with PTSD from his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the memories of the seven people he says he killed in combat.

Waitresses at Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado openly carry loaded handguns on the job. A sign on the front door reads: Guns are welcome on premises. Please keep all weapons holstered unless need arises. In such case, judicious marksmanship is appreciated.