Thursday, March 28, 2013

34 Years Later Gun Killing Still Echoes

Every year in this country over 30,000 lives are ended by a gun. Some choose to take their own lives, others are ended without permission. Each of these individuals leaves behind family and friends whose heartache lasts for years.

Michael Daly writes about one such family in his article 34 Years Later, Gunshots Still Echo From a Senseless Killing.

The article looks at how the family of Michael Russell reacts when Michael's killer applies for parole. 34 years after his death, Michael's daughter Jessica writes:
As I watch my daughter crawl into our bed in the mornings and lie with her dad, I am once again reminded of what I missed out on as a child. As I watch her get ready for the Girl Scout Father-Daughter dance, I feel the void, the emptiness, the sadness, that I have felt my entire life, rush over me again. As I take my son to the baseball fired, I think of my father on his last day alive.

Go here to read this powerful article.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Crucial Period for Gun Violence Prevention Bills

The GVP Report - March 19, 2013

In The News
Four gun violence prevention bills have been approved by the U.S. Senate Judicial Committee and now head to the full Senate, including an Assault Weapons Ban, Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act, and Fix Gun Checks. The next few weeks will be a critical period in moving legislation forward.
► Three gun violence prevention bills, including universal background checks and a magazine capacity limit  are sitting on the Colorado governor's desk.  Gov. Hickenlooper is expected to sign the bills into law this week.
Rachel Maddow new details on Newtown Rachel Maddow reports new details of the Newtown gun massacre, noting the entire incident took less than five minutes during which Lanza fired 152 bullets. At one point, either the gun jammed or he had trouble reloading, allowing six children to escape.
► The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, appointed by CT Gov. Malloy, has issued 42 recommendations including a ban on long guns and handguns that can fire more than 10 bullets without reloading, mandatory background checks and mandatory gun registration.
► New polls released by Mayors Against Illegal Guns show  overwhelming support for background checks. A McClatchy-Marist poll finds a majority of Americans support an assault weapons ban.
►Legislators across the country who support strengthening gun laws continue to receive threatening and hostile emails and calls. Notes a West Virginia legislator, "These people are so quick to burn you at the stake."  
► A national survey shows that the number of American households with guns has declined over the past four decades. While household ownership among elderly has remained virtually unchanged from the 1970s gun ownership among young Americans has plummeted.
► Washington Post details how NRA money helped changed the idea that the Second Amendment was an individual right to possess a gun from a wacky notion to one endorsed by the  Supreme Court.
► Minneapolis StarTribune investigative report: A Gun at 14, Then a Senseless Killing. Two young lives are swept away in Minnesota by the relentless flow of illegal firearms.
► New York Times looks at how In Some States, Gun Rights Trump Orders of Protection and how the NRA fights measures to take guns away from individuals subject to a protection from abuse order.

Community Support
Danny Westneat, Seattle Times, Bill's Defeat a Case Study on Guns. Looks at how a legislator withdrew her support for universal background checks. "Listen to her quote. It means game over. Nothing will help. Nothing can ever change. No matter the quality of facts presented, or quantities of blood spilled, nothing is what we intend to do."
Newtown cyclistsThe Sandy Hook Ride on Washington, a team of 26 cyclists who rode 400 miles from Newtown to D.C., were greeted in D.C. with the news that the Senate committee had approved universal background checks.
Michael Moore, America, You Must Not Look Away, asks, "if we were to seriously look at the 20 slaughtered children - I mean really look at them, with their bodies blow apart, many of them so unrecognizable the only way their parents could identify them was by the clothes they were wearing - what would be our excuse not to act? Now. Right now."
Rex Berry, TulsaWorld, Oklahoma, Should We Sacrifice Children for the Sake of Guns? What is our priority, our children or the absolutist's abstract (and profitable) view of the Second Amendment?
Comilla Sasson, Denver Post, Aurora Theater Shooting Doctor: I'm Tired of Treating Gun Wounds. I asked my colleagues around the world how many gunshot wound victims they had seen in their careers. The answer: two. Five in a night can be par for the course in my line of work.
What's Your Number?Washington Post Magazine asks What's Your Number? How many people do you know who have been shot? It's surprising how many people know someone who has been shot.  Or is it?

What the Gun Lobby is Doing
► Measures to make four formerly temporary gun rights provisions permanent have been put into a Senate spending bill that would keep the government running through September. 
► A reception and dinner for the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, which has more than 250 members in the House and Senate, was funded in part by the NRA and the trade group for the gun industry.
► Meet the Hedge Fund Managers who are turning a profit on the Sandy Hook Massacre and the 34 corporations that help inflate the NRA's membership.
► The gun rights group Basic Freedom Defense Fund has launched a recall effort against the President of the Colorado State Senate and at least two other legislators for their support of several gun violence prevention bills.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Newtown: A town divided on the gun debate

Before the tragic shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school the debate in Newtown over guns revolved around outdoor shooting ranges, where they should be located and if they should be regulated. After the shooting, the town, which is home to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association that represents gun manufacturers, is even more divided on the issue of guns.
The York Daily Record takes a closer look at Newtown in this article: A Deeper Divide: The Gun Control Debate After Newtown.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Weaknesses in the background check system allow hundreds of gun sales a year to criminals

When an individual goes to a licensed gun dealer to purchase a gun, the dealer runs a NICS background check through the FBI system. In the overwhelming majority of cases the answer comes back within a few minutes, either "approved" or "denied." In some cases, there is a delay in obtaining the necessary information. Under federal law, if there is still no definitive answer after three business days, the sale is allowed to go through.
What happens when the research is finally complete and the buyer is prohibited from buying a gun?
From 1999 to 2011, an average of 3,600 guns were sold to people who did not pass their background check. Law enforcement who set out to retrieve these guns were only able to retrieve 1,181 guns. In hundreds of other cases, the buyers were long gone.
Read The Denver Post article on this, Background checks allow hundreds of gun sales a year to criminals.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

1 in 5 Americans knows a recent victim of gun violence

The GVP Report - March 5, 2013

In The News

► A new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found one in five Americans knows someone who has been a victim of gun violence in the last three years with most saying these were good friends, family members of even themselves. Four in ten are worried about being the victim of gun violence.

A bipartisan bill to crack down on straw purchasers and illegal gun trafficking has been  introduced in the Senate.  The bill is sponsored by three Democrats, Patrick Leahy, Dick Durbin and Kirsten Gillibrand, and two Republicans, Susan Collins and Mark Kirk.

Heslin at Senate Judiciary hearingNeil Heslin, father of 6-year-old Newtown shooting victim Jesse, testified at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. There were several heated exchanges during the hearing.  Go to C-Span here to view the entire hearing.

► ProPublica talks with Dr. Mark Rosenberg, former CDC director, on CDC research being done before NRA lobbied Congress to cut off funding. "We found that not only did having a firearm in your home not protect you, but it hugely increased the risk that someone in your family would die from a firearm homicide. It increased the risk almost 300 percent."

► There were several court decisions handed down recently. 10th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled "the carrying of concealed firearms is not protected by the Second Amendment." The case involved a Washington state resident who was denied a concealed weapons permit in Colorado.  7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Illinois' request to reconsider a ruling that found the state's concealed carry weapons ban unconstitutional, but some restrictions such as limits on who and where may carry, could be constitutional. Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that felons can be prohibited from possessing guns "because felons fall outside the scope of the Second Amendment protection."

► State legislators who are supporting gun violence prevention policies in Colorado, California, Minnesota and Wyoming  have reported receiving violent even threatening emails and calls from gun rights extremists.

► House Speaker John Boehner tells Meet the Press, "I've made clear if the Senate acts on gun-control legislation, the House will consider it."

Young African-Americans see lives shattered by gun violence. Gun homicide is the leading cause of death for young blacks aged 15 to 19 and they are eight times as likely to be victims than their white counterparts.

Candidate who supports stronger gun laws wins easily over candidate with "A" NRA rating in Illinois Congressional primary race.

Community Support

Dr. Leonard Korn, Portsmouth Herald, New Hampshire. Guns, violence and mental health; a psychiatrist's perspective.  Most persons who suffer from mental illness are not violent. Having a criminal mind is different than have a mental illness. But a small percentage of people with mental illness carry out acts of extreme violence and if we could treat them effectively we could have a good chance of reducing their violent behavior.

Ella Myers, Salt Lake Tribune, Utah. The truth about women and guns.   Women are more likely to be on the receiving end of a bullet than pulling the trigger.  They are most often injured & killed by guns belonging to someone they are close to, a husband or boyfriend.

► will deliver 70,000 signatures to the Wyndham and Ramada hotel chains and Hertz car rental asking them to stop giving discounts to NRA members.

Our Youth Their Voices. Freshman students at North-Grand High School in Chicago share their experiences with gun violence. Read what they had to say

Marian Wright Edelman, Children's Defense Fund, What killed President Kennedy and Trayvon Martin?  Winds of hatred, storms of violence, and easy access to and glorification of guns.

In gun-loving North Dakota, one activist pushes for gun control. Susan Beehler is a mother of five whose past causes included dairy farmers, baby seals, arthritis and abolishing property taxes, none of which affected her like the Sandy Hook shootings.

Dallas Organizing for Action President Obama's new advocacy group Organizing for Action held its first day of action. In Dallas, Texas advocates delivered letters in support of stronger gun laws to the office of Senator Cruz.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

►, The NRA's Flip Flop on African Americans. The NRA wanted gun control when Black Panthers took up arms. Now it wants black support. 

► Davide Keene, NRA President, warned that the battle over stronger gun laws "is going to be a very rough and very ugly battle." "Fortunately," he added, "our enemy doesn't have any guns and they don't know how to use them."

► MediaMatters, NRA's "Media Misinformation" series pushes systemically false information about gun violence. Looks at five recent segments on the NRA News channel.

► Frontline, Inside the "other" gun lobby. Takes a closer look at the National Shooting-Sports Foundation, the firearm industry trade group.

► Rolling Stone Magazine, The Gun Industry's Deadly Addiction. Firearms manufacturers are betting their future on the military-style weapons used in Newtown and Aurora.