Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Clash Over Guns in National Forests

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - August 18, 2015

In The News

Backcountry guns Since 2010, United States Forest Service officers have handled 8,500 shooting incidents inside national forests. Illegal shootings have intensified precipitously in recent years. The New York Times takes a look at the culture clash over guns in the backcountry and how hikers are increasingly conflicting with recreational target shooters.

► The latest Pew Research Center poll shows 85% of Americans favor expanding background checks. Support was strong among both Republicans and Democrats. But other proposals are more divisive: 85% of Democrats favor creation of a database to track gun sales, compared with 55% of Republicans.

► The Seattle, Washington City Council voted unanimously to establish a tax on gun and ammunition sales and to require gun owners to report lost and stolen firearms to police. 

► In a new study in the current issue of American Journal of Public Health, Firearm Prevalence and Homicides of Law Enforcement in the U.S., David Swedler, et al find that police officers are three times more likely to be shot and killed on the job in high gun ownership states in comparison with low gun ownership states. 

► Criminologist Tom Nolan, a 27-year veteran of the Boston Police force, blames poor discipline for the shooting deaths of unarmed men like Michael Brown. The message needs to come from the top: If you engage in a deadly force incident, there will be a meticulous investigation and if you violate procedures and policies you will be disciplined.

What you should know about Senator John Cornyn's NRA-supported bill to "help fix" the background check system.

► Dozens of Alabama sheriffs speak out about serious concerns with the state's concealed weapons permit laws. They said the Lafayette movie theater shooter was "a poster child for what we have been trying to say the last several years about public safety and not doing away with background checks" for permits.

► A Michigan circuit judge has ruled that a Clio-area father can legally open carry his handgun inside of his daughter's elementary school despite a legal challenge from the school district.

► A Wisconsin state appeals court has upheld a ban on carrying firearms on city buses in Madison. The court ruled the state's preemption statute only covers city ordinances, not a Metro policy rule like Madison's.

Accounts from the front lines of urban gun violence: Baltimore, Maryland. What do you do when your daddy says it's alright to murder a man? When your mother tells you to go out and sell drugs?

Community Support

Young TurksCenk Uyger, The Young Turks, reacts to the Michigan ruling allowing open carry guns in elementary schools.  "The country has lost its mind. His so-called right trumps all of your rights, including your right to have some sort of peace of mind when you send your kid to elementary school."

David Hemenway, Harvard School of Public Health, op-ed, Does owning a gun make you safer?  The evidence is overwhelming that a gun in the home increases the likelihood not only that a household member will be shot accidentally, but also that someone in the home will die in a suicide or homicide. In addition, hundreds of thousands of household guns are stolen each year. The public health costs of gun ownership are very high.

Senator Edward Markey, guest column, Gun violence is preventable, not preordained. Congress has failed the American people on gun violence. How many more gun-related deaths do we need to suffer before there is enough political will in Congress to ensure there is not one more?

Mike Weisser, Mike the Gun Guy, Do armed citizens know how to protect themselves with guns? I doubt it. The gun industry has never, ever done a single study that tests the idea that a good guy can stop a bad guy with a gun.

GunSenseIsMyThing, The Wild West world of online gun exchanges. Think of Armslist.com as a Craigslist for guns. The site has disclaimers about not selling guns out of state or to felons. Of course there is no way to enforce any of this.  Take a look at what's for sale now in Tennessee.

E! Online, Kim Kardashian goes on passionate Twitter rant about gun control, says "Laws have to change!" The Tweet was in response to reports that the Texas shooter who killed 2 adults and 6 children bought his gun online, with no background check.

Bert Olivier, Thought Leader, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and American gun culture. Cyrus is often labelled a bad role model, while Shift is seen as a good role model. But Cyrus observes the hypocrisy of frowning upon images of her naked body while condoning Shift's projection of images that implicitly justify gun violence.

Crime Scene: Breathe Life Collaboraction theater group new production, Crime Scene: Breathe Life, is a followup to its 2013 play A Chicago Anthology. The play draws from newspaper articles and firsthand accounts to tell stories that examine how gun violence is playing out across Chicago. It is being performed at different venues in Chicago throughout the month of August.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

► Texas open carry activist CJ Grisham announced that he is running for state senate. Grisham heads the group Open Carry Texas. Grisham lost his Texas concealed weapons permit after a 2013 arrest, but state law allows him to continue to carry a loaded, hidden gun in public using another state's permit. 

► The Rocky Mount United Methodist Church in Jemison, Alabama has turned an overgrown gully behind the church into a gun range. "This is an opportunity for us to reach out in the name of Jesus Christ in a setting that is completely unique," said the church's pastor.

► Donald Trump regularly calls for getting rid of "gun-free zones." But ThinkProgress spoke with a number of hotels and golf courses in the Trump empire and found multiple locations did not allow guns on the property, even if guests had a concealed weapons permit.

► Gun advocate John Lott was the real author of a viral Fox News op-ed written from the perspective of a female stalking victim. Taylor Woolrich wanted to raise awareness about stalking. "I didn't realize I was being turned into an NRA puppet," she said.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Study Finds More Guns, More Gun Crimes

CeasefireUSA: The GVP Report - August 4, 2015

In The News

► A study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Firearm Ownership and Violent Crime in the U.S., finds that higher ownership of guns in a state is linked to more firearm robberies, more firearm assaults and more homicides in general. "We found no support for the hypothesis that owning guns leads to a drop or a reduction in violence crime," said researcher Michael Monuteaux. "Instead we found the opposite."

► A new study from the Congressional Research Service,Mass Murder with Firearms: Incidents and Victims, 1999-2013, finds that "the prevalence, if not the deadliness, of "mass public shootings" increased in the 1970s and 1980s, and continued to increase during the 1990s, 2000s, and first four years of the 2010s.

► A Florida state Supreme Court ruled that defendants using the Stand Your Ground/Shoot First defense must prove they are entitled to immunity, instead of prosecutors proving they weren't.  A report from the Center for American Progress, Jeb Bush's License to Kill, looks at the impact the Stand Your Ground/Shoot First law has had on Florida and the 24 states that have also enacted the law.

► A federal appeals court upheld a controversial Florida law that restricts doctors from asking questions and recording information about patients' gun ownership. Dubbed the "docs vs. Glocks" law, the measure includes a series of restrictions on doctors.

Emmy BetzUniversity of Colorado Hospital emergency physician Emmy Betz, How To Talk About Guns and Suicide. Betz shares her experience at the nexus of conversations about trauma, guns and suicide.

Congress quietly voted to extend a ban on gun-violence research One week after the tragic shooting at Charleston's Emanual AME Church, the House Appropriations Committee voted 32-19 against an amendment that would have lifted the 19 year-old ban on funding for the Center for Disease Control to research the causes of gun violence as a public-health issue.

► What happened to the $1.3 Billion Congress approved to improve federal gun background checks? The NICS Improvement Amendment Act of 2008 was intended to improve lapses in state record keeping. But almost 90 percent of that money has never been spent.

The scarcity of guns for purchase in New York and the lack of heroin in Vermont allows gun traffickers to make a significant profit on guns. In Vermont you can legally buy a gun through a private sale at a gun show, yard sale, or from a private sale online. If you are willing to break the law you can drive the weapon to NY and sell if for triple the price.

► Retired U.S. Army General Russel Honore tells reporters that America is mired in a state of denial about its gun culture and that's harming the country. "We've confused the right to bear arms with the right to carry arms all the time anywhere or anyplace you want."

One year later, a mother still seeks justice in her daughter's death. Donna Bryan's daughter, Katherine, was shot in the head when her husband's friend discharged his gun while showing off a Western-style quick-draw twirl he had been practicing. Katherine, who was five months pregnant, died of her injuries.  Prosecutors declined to press charges against the shooter.

Community Support

► We the PeopleEvery Monday We the People for Sensible Gun Laws holds a vigil in front of the White House Last week they were joined by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes and D. C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. "We the people decide what the Second Amendment means and we insist on strong legislation around gun control."

Paris, Bay Area hip-hop artist, Guns Are Killing My Community. Guns are ravaging the black community. But without reform of our gun laws, and an acknowledgement that people are dying while the gun industry profits, this will continue to be my community's holocaust. 

Sarah Clements, Generation Progress, wrote An Open Letter to Amy Schumer imploring her to join the gun violence prevention movement.  Schumer responds by joining her cousin, Senator Chuck Schumer, at a press conference to help him announce a new plan to crack down on mass shootings and gun violence in America.

► The Conversation, How big tobacco gifted campaigns of misdirection and misinformation to the gun lobby. By the 1980s, having seen the success of the tobacco campaign that sought to distort rather than engage debates, the NRA hardened its position.

KL Johnson, Progressive Press, A Gun Walks Into A Bar ..... We do not have to live with this affliction, this sickness, these knee-jerk, asinine reactions when a mass shooting occurs. Repeal the godforsaken Second Amendment. There, I said it.

Nico Lang, Salon, America's white masculinity complex and the myth of the "senseless" mass shooting. What is senseless about a man with a record of violence against women, who publicly espouses misogynistic views, shooting up a movie theater that's screening a movie starring and written by a feminist icon in an audience that was predominantly women? Nothing.

Bill Mefford, The Hill, The House's Hypocrisy. Despite numerous horrific, tragic events, Congress has done absolutely nothing to prevent gun shootings from happening again and again. The House of Representatives is simply not interested in public safety.

Mike McIntire, NY Times Sunday Review, What Makes a Shooter Do It? Guns are great equalizers, especially for people with limited voice, people on the fringes of society who may be rejected by peers. Many shooters turn out to be people who are looking for something larger than their own small lives.

Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, Obama's Evolving Outrage On Guns. During his Presidency, he's gone from a kind of rote acknowledgment of the issue to a deeply felt recognition of its centrality. Seeing the President's metamorphosis suggests that, as the old song had it, a change is going to come.

Eric Conrad, Florida Politics, We're Just Haggling Over Price. The Gun Lobby walks up to the American People and asks "Would you allow me to sell as many of my products in an unregulated manner, including to the mentally unstable and criminally minded, if it only cost you a few tens of thousands of deaths a year?" The People respond: "Of course. No one should limit our liberty." The Gun Lobby then asks: "What if that included an average of two mass shootings a month in elementary schools, movie theaters, and places of worship?" "Of course not!" the People respond. "We value the lives of innocent citizens.  What kind of country to do take us for?" Gun Lobby: "We've already established that. Now we're just haggling over price."

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

► In June, Colt Holding Company filed for bankruptcy protection, citing $269 million in unsecured debt. The company's most famous product was the single-action pistol known as the "Peacemaker" (the Colt .45) issued to U.S. Calvary during the Civil Way. Colt's union is asking the state of Connecticut to give financial support to the company.  Colt employes 610 people in West Hartford, CT.

► The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the lobbying organization of gun manufacturers and dealers, has rejected a call from Democratic senators and police organizations to delayed guns sales beyond three days to people who haven't been cleared by the NICS background system.

► There has been a big shift in how 2016 Republican candidates talk about their personal guns. Candidates are shifting from talking about enjoying firearms as sporting tools to elevating guns as mystical guarantors of freedom and safety.