Friday, December 21, 2012

Tragedy in Newton

The GVP Report - December 21, 2012

Tragedy in Newtown

Photos of Newtown victimsFor comprehensive coverage of the tragic shooting in Newtown, CT go to The Hartford Courant.

The Heroes of Sandy Hook. Three of the women who risked their lives to save their students were killing in the massacre.

Newtown school shooter's mother collected guns, was loath to let people inside home. Former sister-in-law tells press Nancy Lanza wanted guns for protection.

How To Help  There are a number of special funds that have been set up including through the United Way and American Red Cross.


► A WhiteHouse.gov petition calling on the President to introduce a gun violence prevention bill has become the site's most popular ever.  In response, President Obama has made gun violence prevention a top priority in his second term.

President ObamaThe President is also asking the American people for help. "I can't do it alone. If we're going to succeed, it's going to take a sustained effort...speaking up, calling your members of Congress as many times as it takes, standing up and saying enough on behalf of our kids."

Read the transcript of Obama's moving remarks at a prayer vigil for victims of the Newtown shooting.


In The News

In the past week, five police officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty. In Clayton County, Georgia, 24-year-old Sean Callahan, who had only been on the job for four months, was gunned down by a suspect during a domestic dispute. In Topeka,Kansas, two police officers, 50-year-old David Gogian and 29-year-old Jeff Atherly were killed while responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle. In Washington County, Missouri, 31-year-old Christopher Parsons was killed while responding to a domestic call. In Memphis, Tennessee, 32-year-old Martoiya Lang was shot and killed during a narcotics raid.

Federal court strikes down Illinois ban on carrying concealed weapons. A victory for gun rights advocates, the court gave lawmakers six months to come up with a law that legalizes concealed carry.  Illinois is the only state that does not allow carrying of concealed weapons.

Shootings costing U.S. $174 billion a year.  The impact of gun deaths and injuries go well beyond heartbreak to include billions of dollars of losses to the economy.


Community Support

A conservative case for an assault weapons ban. Judge Larry Burns, who sentenced Jared Lee Loughner to prison, makes the case for an assault weapons ban.

       

Eric Boehlert, Media Matters, Why Won't Press Put U.S. Gun Violence in Context? If we don't understand the saturation status we're not going to understand the steady stream of public shooting sprees.

         

Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, The Simple Truth About Gun Control. Imagine a city where children are dying of infection and its cure, an antibiotic, is easily at hand. But the city council is going to any lengths to keep the antibiotic from the kids. We live in such a city.

          

Leighton Woodhouse, Dog Park Media, Gun Control and Mental Illness. Serial mass shooting by severely deranged individuals are almost certainly a symptom of untreated mental illness in America. But the much vaster epidemic of day-to-day gun-related homicides is not.

        

Christopher Matthews, Time Business & Money, Three Approaches to Curbing Gun Violence - Using Economics. Here are some proposals that attack the problem as an economist would: through incentives.

        

Beverly Gage, Slate, Things Can Change. A century ago, there were forms of brutal violence considered so thoroughly American that they could never be banished. Today, they no longer exist.


What the Gun Lobby is Doing

► Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association, blamed video games, music, and the courts for gun violence in America. In response to the Newtown shooting he called for an armed police officer in every single school in the nation.

► Responding to LaPierre, Josh Sugarmann, Violence Policy Center, pointed out that there were TWO armed guards at Columbine High School but "they were outgunned by the assault weapons wielded by the two teens."

► Aviva Shen,Think Progress, NRA Repeatedly Responds to Massacres by Lobbying for Weaker Gun Safety. Historically, the NRA's response is to offer condolences to victims' families and continue to push a radical agenda to make it easier to get guns and carry them in more places.

► Center for Biological Diversity, Newtown Gun Group Opposed Even Mildest Gun Violence and Environmental Health Protections. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, headquartered just three miles from Sandy Hook School has a long history of extremist positions on guns. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Court upholds limits on carrying guns in public

The GVP Report - December 11, 2012
In The News
Federal courts in New York, California, and Hawaii have all ruled that there are limits on the Second Amendment.  A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that New York can require applicants for concealed weapons permits to articulate a need for self protection. A District Court judge in California ruled that San Francisco can require handgun owners keep their weapons locked when stored at home. A federal judge in Hawaii upheld the state's concealed carry laws as Constitutional.
    
► Sports Illustrated's Peter King reports that in response to the murder-suicide involving NFL player Jovan Belcher, at least seven NFL players have turned their guns into their respective team's security.  One player with multiple firearms told his team's personnel that he didn't trust himself with the guns.
      
► A group of retired generals and admirals sent a letter to Congress calling on them to amend a law that prohibits the military from talking to service members about privately owned firearms. The letter points to the epidemic of suicides in the military, half of which involve privately owned guns.   

► A Justice Quarterly study, Homicide as Infectious Disease: Using Public Health Methods to Investigate the Diffusion of Homicide, finds that homicide spreads through Newark, NJ very much like an infectious disease. Author April Zeoli tells NPR, "the model could make specific predictions about how and where homicide would spread in the future - information that could prove very valuable to police."

Community Support
Jon Stewart - Any Given Gun Day Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, Any Given Gun Day, ponders just when is the right time to talk about gun violence.  According to Fox News the answer is never.
    
Cliff Schecter, Politico.com, The Winds of Change: Sweeping away the NRA. The NRA was exposed as a paper tiger. And Bloomberg's Independence PAC proved that when money is spent by those who prioritize public safety over paranoid fetishes, the former win.
    
Timothy Johnson, Media Matters, Washington Times' Emily Miller downplays gun violence with debunked statistic. In addition to using a repeatedly debunked claim on defensive gun use, Miller fails to account for nearly 74,000 nonfatal gunshot wounds each year. According to The Wall Street Journal the number of serious gunshot wounds has increased 47 percent over the past 10 years.
      
Jason Whitlock, Fox Sports, My Real Take on Gun Control. The NRA just wants all sides armed to the hilt and convinced the other side is ready to shoot. That's the recipe that left a 17-year-old Jacksonville kid dead over loud music blaring from a car. It's a dangerous recipe that I believe is fracturing our imperfect union.
      
Costas on O'ReillyBob Costas appeared on Bill O'Reilly's show to discuss his comments on Sunday Night Football that sparked a nationwide debate on gun control. They both agree that background checks should be conducted on all gun sales.
      
Leonard Pitts, Jr., The Miami Herald, Gun Control? Maybe these kids are onto something. As has happened with conservatism generally, the gun-rights movement has lurched hard to the right in recent years, has alienated reason, ostracized compromise and fetishized guns and gun ownership to a point that seems psychologically unhealthy.
      
Richard Florida, The Atlantic Cities, The Geography of Gun Violence in Cities and Metros. We find strikingly consistent associations between gun violence and key markers of socio-economic disadvantage - poverty, income, education, class, and race. This concentrated nature of gun violence makes it easier for those in more affluent and sheltered places to ignore its consequences. 

What the Gun Lobby is Doing
► Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the NRA, told CNN his group is prepared for an "unprecedented" fight over gun control in the next Congress. While not giving specifics, he said, "I think it is going to come hard, I think it is going to come fast, and I think it is going to come soon."
► A church in San Angelo, Texas is training parishioners to defend against imaginary band of Mexicans. The pastor of the church claims there is a spiritual component to carrying a loaded, hidden handgun. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Florida "Shoot First" Task Force Has Little to Conclude

The GVP Report - November 27, 2012

In The News

► A task force commissioned by Florida Gov. Scott to review the "Shoot First" (aka Stand Your Ground) law held its final meeting and has indicated the law is mostly fine as is.  "I really didn't expect anything," said state Sen. Braynon. "It was a Republican-dominated commission and it was full of people who supported Stand Your Ground to begin with."

    

King5 InvestigatorsSeattle, Washington King5 investigates the origin of area crime guns and also looks at NIBIN, National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, and why police departments aren't submitting guns for ballistics analysis.

    

► Denver Post, Gun violence can be solved with science, public health expert say. "Guns are where tobacco was in the 1950s," said Garen Wintemute of California at Davis School of Medicine. "There's a little bit of science and a great deal of reluctance to do anything with the results."

    

► Boulder Daily Camera, No students move following University of Colorado dorm segregation for gun owners. Since establishing a residential area for students with concealed weapons permits not a single student has asked to live there.

    

► Washington Post, Missouri man accused of plotting 'Twilight' attack bought guns despite being committed 3 years ago. Blaec Lammers is accused of plotting attacks at a movie theater. He was able to legally buy guns despite being committed for stalking a store clerk he said he intended to kill. 


Take Action

       

Tell NBC to air important new documentary about gun violence in America. Contact your local NBC affiliate to make sure they air Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun ViolenceClick here to watch a trailer of the documentary.

     


Community Support

Media Matters, The Hill Echoes False Republican Talking Points on UN Arms Trade Treaty. The article relied on an unverified Republican House Resolution and failed to note that the U.S. has the ability to unilaterally veto any proposed arms embargo.

     

Nina E. Gonzalez, After Policeman's Death, Can Obama Finally Answer Gun Law Questions?  Office Arthur Lopez, who guarded the president, was shot dead with an illegal gun. While our nations' leaders continue to refuse any meaningful discussion on guns, Americans are paying the ultimate price.

     

Daniel W. Webster, Special to CNN, Give Gun Owners What They Want. 80% of gun owners favor requiring background checks in private gun sales. When states require background checks for all handgun sales and have strong regulation of licensed gun dealers, far fewer guns are diverted to criminals.

     

Parish pays tribute A church in suburban Moorestown, New Jersey puts up a display to bring awareness to the record number of homicides in nearby Camden.The crosses carry the names and ages of this year's homicide victims.

    

David Hemenway, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Don't Ignore the Evidence: Stand Your Ground Is Bad for Florida. The best available research evidence indicates that "Shoot First" laws are dangerous, with few redeeming benefits to society.

    

Christopher Evans, The Plain Dealer, How To Buy Guns, Cheap, visits an Ohio gun show to look for unlicensed private sellers. They're easy to spot. Shabby, small-time operators who haunt the shadow of the federally licensed dealers.


What the Gun Lobby is Doing

► Media Matters, NRA Lashes Out at "Dim Journalist" For Shattering Electoral Powerhouse Myth. Despite the fact that less than one percent of the nearly $12 million spent by the NRA on recent elections went to races where NRA-backed candidates won, the group is still claiming victory.

► Gawker.com, Gun Shop Owner Takes Out Full Page Ad in Local Paper Warning Obama Voters to Stay Away from His Store.  A gun store in Pinetop, Arizona tells customers "If you voted for Barack Obama your business is not welcome here."

► Guns.com, Nine Things the NRA Wants for Their 141st Birthday. The list includes some form of national concealed-carry, more gun owners and more guns.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The White Elephant in the Room to Ignore

The GVP Report - November 13, 2012

In The News

Mark Kelly on the Today ShotGabby Gifford's husband Mark Kelly talked with the Today Show about being in the courtroom for Jared Loughner's sentencing hearing. "Gabby's eyes were locked on Loughner." Kelly's powerful testimony admonished "feckless" elected officials who insist on ignoring gun violence, the white elephant in the room. Click here to read Kelly's full statement.

    

► 43-year-old Raulie Casteel, a stay-at-home dad from Wixom, Michigan has been arrested and charged in 24 shootings along or near I-96. Complete coverage can be found at MLive.

    

► Tampa Bay Times, Florida Law Inspires Confusion Over Whether 'Straw-Buyer' of Weapon Can Be Charged. Law enforcement want to charge the straw buyer of a gun used in a double murder but are blocked by ambiguity in the state law.

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► A report from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics reveals that about 1.4 million guns were stolen during household burglaries from 2005 through 2010.  Click here for full report.

      

► KTVU reports on a California Department of Justice effort to crack down on gun owners who are forbidden to own firearms. About 19,374 people in California have lost their rights to own guns but more than 2,700 of these individuals in the Bay Area alone still own guns.

    

► Reuters, Chicago's Cook County OKs Gun Tax to Defray Costs of Violence.  The county approved a $25 tax on each firearm sold to help pay healthcare costs from gun violence. Estimates are that 70 percent of the people who are shot are not insured.

     

► The Atlantic, The Deer Paradox: It's never been easier to shoot a buck. So why are hunters spending billions on high-tech gear? There are more deer in the U.S. and fewer hunters. Hunters are now using technology that rivals military combat in its sophistication.  


Community Support

NRAcist flash mob Flash Mob Targets California GOP Rep. McKeon for "NRAcism" The group chided McKeon for accepting NRA money while turning a blind eye to the racist and inflammatory comments of NRA board member Ted Nugent. 

    

Media Matters, Media Ignores Call for Gun Violence Prevention at Loughner Sentencing Hearing. ABC. CBS and USA Today all failed to mention Mark Kelly's call for strong gun violence prevention laws at Loughner's hearing.

    

► Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel editorial It's Time to Close Loophole in Wisconsin's Gun Laws. The paper supports requiring a background check for everyone buying a gun, including through private sales and notes "had such a law been in place, it might have kept a gun out of the hands of Radcliffe Haughton and saved the lives of three women."

    

Cradle to Grave programSarah Hoye, CNN, highlights Philadelphia's "Cradle to Grave" program aimed at curbing the city's gun violence. Headed by trauma surgeon Scott Charles the program takes local youth through the last fifteen minutes of a gun victim's life.


What the Gun Lobby is Doing

►The Hill, NRA Shoots Blanks This Election, reports that the NRA spent almost $11 million for or against individual candidates in the general elections, but got less than a 1 percent return on its investment. 

► Louisiana voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to strength gun rights.  As Jarvis DeBerry of the Times-Picayune puts it, Constitutional Amendment No. 2 codifies an unholy worship of guns, making a state where nobody - and he does mean nobody - can be legally stopped from carrying a hidden gun.

► Alabama Republicans in Hoover, Alabama held an election night party at a gun range. The shooting range was available for two hours. There was also a band and an appearance by Miss Alabama.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Case for Gun Policy Reforms in America

The GVP Report - October 30, 2012

In The News

► A new report from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Case for Gun Policy Reforms in America,  examines policies and initiatives for reducing gun violence. "When you deny high-risk people access to guns, the evidence shows that saves lives," said lead author Daniel Webster. "And when you regulate all gun sales, fewer guns get diverted to criminals."

► Michigan police are searching for a gunman linked to 24 shootings in 4 counties, most occurring near Interstate 96. A motorist was wounded Saturday when a bullet came through the driver's side door and struck him in the left hip.

ABC News reportABC News report Hidden America: Children Caught in Chicago Gang War Crossfire. Looks at the children of Chicago who are "living in a war zone" and visits with one 7-year-old boy afraid to play outside or walk to and from school.

Thousands Gather to Mourn Slain Nassau County Cop Arthur Lopez. The 29-year-old officer was gun downed by an ex-con during a traffic stop after a hit-and-run accident.

► New York Times, Unarmed and Gunned Down by Homeowner in His 'Castle', looks at the Montana shooting death of Dan Fredenberg.  Brice Harper was not prosecuted due to the state's Castle Doctrine law.  Self-defense or a way to kill without consequences?

► The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas has ruled that the U.S. may ban gun dealers from selling handguns to people under age 21. The unanimous decision noted that "Congress was focused on a particular problem: young persons under 21, who are immature and prone to violence, easily accessing handguns."


Community Support

Jessica Pieklo, Care2.com,It's Open Season on Women, Thanks to the NRA. Sensible gun control is a feminist issue and the lack of any real controls on firearms in this country poses a very real and dangerous threat to our health and safety.

Nasty Jack, NRA Attacks Barack Obama on Gun Control...So Who Cares Anymore. The NRA's presence and influence have been severely compromised in the way gun violence has taken over the country in the last year. 2013 is the year for gun control advocates.

Do you allow guns on campus? Bruce Reyes-Chow, Patheos.com, Asking the Question, "Do You Allow Guns on Campus?" Soon my first born will be heading off to college. We have begun making our list of questions and filters for schools. I do not want my child going to a college that has loose gun policies, so I'll be paying close attention to legislative trends.

American Academy of Pediatrics Renews Commitment to Preventing Gun Injuries in Children. The AAP is renewing its call to reduce the destructive effects of guns in the lives of children, including counseling parents about safe gun storage and supporting legislation. Read the AAP policy statement "Firearm-Related Injuries Affecting the Pediatric Populations."

Alexis Rhiannon, Madonna Brings a Gun Onto a Colorado Stage, Has Officially Lost Her Mind. Come on, Madonna.  Maybe it's time to sell off some of your robo-parts and buy some compassion and humility at auction.

Cyrus Vance, Manhattan District Attorney, Gun Trafficking: A Taboo Subject in Our State and National Politics. Every child, on every block of every neighborhood, has the right to walk to school and home without fear of getting shot. And yet, the subject of gun law reform remains taboo for many of our state and national elected officials.


What the Gun Lobby is Doing

Georgia Store Offers Gun Raffle Tickets to Voters. Bring in your "I voted" sticker to Adventure Outdoors to enter a raffle for a Glock handgun or Browning rifle. The secretary of state's office warned the store that offering the raffle only to people who voted may be violating the law.

NRA Steps Up Attacks on Obama After Gun Control Comment. After President Obama said he would like to see the assault weapons ban reintroduced, an ominous new ad began airing in swing states saying Obama is chipping away at people's right to bear arms.

Basic Cable's Ballistic Endgame: Ted Nugent, Discovery, and the Rise of Anti-Science TV. The Discovery channel's transformation into the NRA Network is a harrowing example of "network decay." Discovery isn't the only channel to be subject to this critique, but the arrival of Ted Nugent on their roster is a new low suggestive of just how much more socially destructive television can become.