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 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,, 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.