Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Since Newtown

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The GVP Report - June 18, 2013

In The News

Newtown families in D.C. ► Families of the children and educators killed in the Newtown shooting went to Capitol Hill to mark the six-month anniversary of the school massacre.  While there, the families held a press conference with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and visited with House Speaker John Boehner and other legislators.

► Since Newtown, some states have strengthened their gun laws, some have weaken them.  CNN presents a state-by-state summary of key parts of new gun laws.

► Think Progress looks at Eight Inspiring Moments Since the Newtown Massacre including when the late Senator Frank Lautenberg cast one of his last votes which was for background checks.

► Marie Claire gathered seven women who lived through Newtown, Aurora, and other mass shootings.  In these incredibly emotional and moving interviews, they reveal the truth about life after unthinkable trauma - and explain how they are taking action to prevent more tragedies.

► The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies issued a new report Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence detailing the main areas where more research is needed. The report will be used by the Center for Disease Control as it looks to start funding research on firearms.

► Center for American Progress issue brief, Recommendations for Executive Action to Combat Illegal Gun Trafficking and Gun Crime. The recommendations are actions President Obama can take that do not require approval by Congress.

► A new report,  Way of the Gun: Estimating Firearms Traffic Across the U.S.-Mexico Border from IGARAPE Institute at the University of San Diego, finds that a significant proportion of U.S. licensed firearm dealers are dependent on the illicit Mexico market and a sizeable and growing percentage of US firearms are destined for Mexico.

► The Times Herald, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Under the Gun: Fight for Stiffer Straw Purchase Penalties Continues. Plymouth Police Chief Joseph Lawrence talks about his efforts to strengthen laws aimed at reducing gun trafficking.

Community Support

CDF We Can Do Better The Children's Defense Fund launches "We Can Do Better" social media campaign. The campaign toolkit, available to download, contains images and facts to share on social media sites.

Sheila Durkin Dierks, Daily Camera, Boulder, CO, Continue the Gun Conversation. We concentrate on the tragic matter of mass murders. But a far greater number of lives have been taken, ruined forever, wounded one or two victims at a time.

Jason Cherkis, Huffington Post, Americans Tell Their Stories About Guns, Violence and the Aftermath. Huffington Post set up a voicemail account for people to share stories about how gun violence touched their lives.  Listen to their powerful stories.

►Justin Peters, Slate.com, After Newtown, We Vowed to Take Gun Control Seriously. Why Has Nothing Changed? In the last six months the gun control debate has been generalized, the faces of the victims fade, making it harder to remember why gun control once seemed so urgent.

Paul Appelbaum, The Hill's Congress Blog, Don't Arm People in a Mental Health Crisis. Looks at how the proposed Crassley-Cruz amendment not only fell short on background checks but would actually have weakened the system and make it even easier for people with serious mental illness to buy firearms during periods of crisis. 

Stacie Borello, Opposing Views, Toddlers Killed More Americans Than Terrorist Did This Year. In the last five months there have been at least eleven deaths where the shooter was 3 to 6 years old.

Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network, George Zimmerman Trial: Advocacy and Action Brought Us Here. As the Travyon Martin murder trail begins we are reminded of what was involved in getting here. For those who think that protests and marches are outdated or unnecessary, guess again.

Stop the NRANew York venture capitalist Ken Lerer has launched a new website - Stop The NRA, dedicated to ending gun violence in America. The site will post content to bring ongoing attention to the gun violence prevention issue.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

NRA goes after Senator Manchin over guns compromise.  The NRA launched a TV ad against the Senator after he co-sponsored a background check measure with Sen. Toomey.

Free gun initiative begins in Houston neighborhood. The Armed Citizen Project is giving away free shotguns to single women and residents of neighborhoods with high crime rates.

NRA-backed Kansas law bans government lobbying on gun issues; critics say it stifles debate. Many questions about the new law remain. Could a government agency print a pamphlet about gun safety without running afoul of the law? And is this the next initiative the NRA will push from state to state?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NRA loses two federal court battles

The GVP Report - June 4, 2013

In The News

► The NRA lost two court battles this week.  A federal appeals court unanimously upheld an Obama administration requirement that gun dealers in Southwestern border states report when customers buy multiple assault rifles. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a Texas state law that forbids most people between 18 and 20 from obtaining permits to carry concealed handguns. The court held that the goal of "curbing gun violence by keeping handguns out of the hands of immature individuals" serves a public safety interest. 

Ricin letters sent Three letters that contained poisonous ricin were sent to Mayor Bloomberg, the office of Mayors Against Illegal Gun and President Obama. The three letters read in part: "You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. the right to bear arms is my constitutional God given right and I will exercise that right till the day I die"    

A petition drive to overturn Maryland's new, tough gun laws has failed. Opponents of the law did not turn in an initial batch of signatures by the deadline at midnight on Friday.

► The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will launch an investigation into whether Stand Your Ground/Shoot First laws have a racial bias. The Commission will look to see if there is a bias in the assertion or the denial depending on the race of the victim and the race of the defendant. Recently two shooters in Alabama escaped liability because of the Shoot First law.

► A Governing Index survey has found strong support for universal background checks among state and local government officials.  But support of other measures tracks closely based on gun ownership among public officials.

► Newly obtained testimony from executives at firearms manufacturers show that gun makers saw no role in curbing improper sales.  An executive for Taurus International testified that "I don't even know what a gun trafficker is."

AK-47 Build Party Bryan Schatz, Mother Jones, attends a "build party" where anyone can make an AK-47 with untraceable parts. And it's all perfectly legal.   Although US customs laws ban importing the weapons, parts kits, which include original components, are legal.

Community Support

Frank Cerabina, Cox Newspapers, There are reasons no guns are allowed at Disney World - they're called kids. Recently, a man's licensed handgun fell out of his pants during a ride. Not knowing it was gone, he left it behind, where another patron found it.

Mary Plouffe, Bangor, Maine, Bangor Daily News, If we changed the smoking culture, we can change the gun culture. In 50 years we have changed a cultural norm around smoking, the way we did it may offer lessons for changing the gun culture we now face.

Claudette Konola, Citizen Telegram, Grand Junction, Colorado, Our national will survive gun regulation. We have a bunch of paranoid, treasonous men running around "open carrying" guns, and the NRA wants the response to gun violence to be focused on mental health. Am I the only one who sees the irony in that?

Alec MacGillis, New Republic, This is How the NRA Ends: A bigger, richer, meaner gun control movement has arrived. The narrow defeat of the background-check bill, it turns out, was not the end of hopes for gun reform, but the beginning.

Aaron Blake, Washington Post, Democrats still aren't being ruthless about gun control. Joe Baca, D-California, has an 'A' rating from the NRA, was unseated in November by another Democrat, is seeking a return to Congress in a neighboring district and is being supported by some Democratic members of the House who are also strong supporters of gun control.

Matthew Parkete, The Daily Beast, The NRA is Wrong: The Myth of Illegal Guns. What if Jared Loughner had to go out into the streets and risk his life to obtain his weapon? It would have been an ordeal for him to buy illegal weapons simply because he was not immersed in lawlessness.

Oprah and panelists Oprah and her panelists discuss What America's gun violence problem really says about fear. Underneath all of this in our society is an epidemic of fear and self-centeredness. And rather than dealing with the fear we get a gun.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

► Some of the U.S. Senators who voted to kill a background check bill are now trying to tell their constituents they actually support background checks.  Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) touted his co-sponsorship of an NRA-backed bill and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) put out a misleading pro-gun ad.

► Adam Kokesh has cancelled an armed march on Washington, D.C. Instead he is urging his supporters to bring down the entire federal government and called for gun activists to form a secessionist "army".

► In December, the NRA blamed mass shootings, in part, on Hollywood movies saying "Isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?" But now the NRA has published a list of the 10 "coolest gun movies" ever praising, among other things, a movie hero who's an "almost unstoppable" "killing machine."

Gun activists in Colorado turned in petition signatures to set up the first recall in state history. The effort is against Democratic Senate President John Morse in response to his support of a series of strong gun laws signed into law this year.