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Gun Violence Prevention Calendar


Shows gun violence prevention events in and near Chester County PA. Click on any event to see details. Click again to return to full calendar. 

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Let’s Be Honest

It has been an exhausting few weeks as gun violence prevention advocates.  We were still following news from the Las Vegas mass shooting when the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting occurred.

And those events “book end” many other gun deaths in between… the gun murder of three Walmart shoppers in suburban Denver, the 16 year old prep student shot and killed in Philadelphia, the participant in a minor “fender bender” in Allentown PA who was murdered by the other driver. Wow.

And through all of this, we continue to hear elected officials send “thoughts and prayers” to the victims.  How about sending some new approaches to solving the problem?

It is hard to listen at times to the less than truthful proclamations that our elected representatives make.  For example, “It’s not about the guns,”

Well… yes it is. Yes, people shoot guns… but it is a gun that is hurling a lethal projectile toward another living being. Holding up your finger and saying “bang bang” doesn’t do it.

Gun Sense Chester County is not in favor of banning all guns, and we do know many fine, responsible gun owners. But let’s be honest that reconsidering the degree of access to guns and who is accessing guns is part of what needs to be considered.

As another example, “It’s a mental health issue.” Yes, gun violence is at times intertwined with mental health issues. So, if that is what you believe, address it!

The truth is, in Pennsylvania mental health funding was dramatically slashed following the 2008 Financial Crisis and has yet to get anywhere near pre-2008 levels. We are 41st out of 50 states on this measure.

Federal mental health funding declined from 2010 to 2016, and is only now beginning to increase.

And, we note that President Trump signed an Executive Order reducing the number of mental health records that would have been fed into the national pre gun purchase background check system. If it’s about mental health, why are you reducing mental health record reporting even when there are due process provisions to allow for a restoration of gun purchase rights?

So, let’s be honest.  Gun violence is complicated.  Gun violence will not be easily or quickly solved. Proposed solutions are going to leave some people unhappy, those who do own guns and those who don’t.

And, yet we MUST persevere.

One final moment of honesty… voter expressions of dissatisfaction can make a difference.

In the recent Virginia election, the National Rifle Association spent $2 million backing a slate of candidates. Almost all of them lost. Perhaps there is an opportunity to pursue some common sense solutions after all.

Where Do They Stand Now?

Thank you to the Philadelphia Inquirer who checked in with our Congressmen and Senators to see where they stand on several gun regulation issues following the Las Vegas shootings. You will likely find it interesting reading.

Inquirer Reporting on Current PA Congressmen, Senator Gun Regulation Positions

The charts below show the key data.

We are hearing that key leaders in Congress are trying to avoid banning “bump stocks”, the item that was readily and inexpensively purchased to convert semi-automatic rifles into rifles simulating automatic weapons, and used to deadly effect in Las Vegas.

Wow.  We would suggest a ban on bump stocks should be the MINIMUM change that is made.

America — How Many More must die before we have a serious conversation about common sense gun regulation… regulation that all of us can live with.

If you have not already joined us, do it now. Email: gunsensecc@gmail.com

Help us let our elected officials this DOES matter to us and we WANT CHANGE.

Source:  Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct. 12, 2017.

It’s Not just “There”… It’s “Here”

It was a difficult week for our nation, and particularly so for those of us deeply pained by the proliferation of gun violence in the United States.

We mourn the loss of life in Las Vegas, and send good wishes to the hundreds injured.  It still boggles the mind to think of those numbers.

Do not make the mistake of thinking this problem is just, “Out there.” It also resides here in Chester County.

During the summer, we had three gun deaths, two in West Goshen and one in Coatesville.

During the past two weeks, we have had three more, Phoenixville, Pottstown and South Coatesville.

How many more…. How many more?  How many more before we take action.

Gun Sense Chester County believes Common Ground is the Solution TM.

We are working to:

  • Educate citizens about gun violence and gun regulation
  • Engage them in helping us turn existing common ground between those who do not own guns, and those who do, into common sense gun regulation
  • Act to work with our elected officials to pass appropriate legislation.

This issue is not about “them.”  It’s about “us.”  The presence of guns in our communities affects all of us…from concert goers in Las Vegas to residents of Chester County.

Let’s have some thoughtful conversation about approaches that will recognize the rights of ALL residents of our communities.

To join, contact:  gunsensecc@gmail.com

 

 

Just Do It — Today

Thoughts adapted from a Letter to the Editor of the Daily Local News:

On Monday we awoke to news of yet another tragic mass murder. How many times do we go through this before we demand our elected officials change gun laws?

While Gun Sense Chester County is not “anti gun” we are for common sense gun regulation. The permissiveness of gun purchase and carry regulations has gone well beyond the bounds of common sense.

And as we sit here absorbing yet another mass gun murder…

Today, the National Rifle Association is working to pass Federal law making it easier to purchase gun silencers. (House of Representatives Bill 3668)

Today, the NRA is working to overturn a Maryland regulation banning the sale of semi-automatic rifles.

And, today, you are…?  

I am sure the words sad, upset, frustrated and more may come to mind. The truth is, those words without action are not going to change anything.

If you think we need to find a different path forward — call and tell your elected officials. Do it TODAY.

And then, watch how they vote on gun related issues.

If you give us your email, we’ll be happy to keep you informed. (gunsensecc@gmail.com)

Join us at our meeting Tuesday, Oct 3 at 7:15 p.m. at 10 W. Pleasant Grove Rd., West Chester 19382 (Westminster Presbyterian Church) if you’d like to share your thoughts about this tragedy and learn more about about gun violence and gun regulation issues.

The meeting is free and open to all.

 

Why We Do the Work

     On Saturday I joined a number of Gun Sense Chester County members in attending a Rally and Memorial to the Lost, sponsored by Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence. The Memorial was set up to remember the over 50 Chester County residents lost to gun violence in the past decade.  Three of those people were murdered this past summer.
     Two women who have lost young adult children to gun murder spoke. It was impossible not to be touched by what they had to say.
    One was Michelle Roberson, the mother of Bianca Roberson, age 18, who was killed in West Goshen in June.  The other was Movita Johnson-Harrell, of Lansdale.
     Michelle shared that her beautiful Bianca was about to head off to college on a full merit scholarship, after years of her mom urging her to aim high. Bianca had earned honor roll grades in high school. As Michelle said, “It is impossible to express the pain of losing a child in this manner.”
    Movita talked about her son Charles, who was murdered in a case of mistaken identity. Movita and her husband Yancy had moved their family out of Philadelphia to escape the city’s gun violence after their sons came home and reported they knew nine young men who had been murdered.
     The night he was murdered, Charles was at a party looking for his sister to help ensure her safety.
     No mother, no father, no sister, brother or friend should have to experience this type of loss.
     To my way of thinking, there is a big difference between allowing gun purchase for hunting and gun sports and looking the other way while illegal guns flow through our streets and we permit concealed gun carry to become commonplace — which enables a moment of anger at another motorist to become gun murder.
      As we have said many times, we are not anti-gun and we do know there are many, many responsible gun owners. However, we are concerned that we are, as a society, treating guns as if it’s okay for them to be casually purchased and used.
     Here are a few reasons why we have that concern:
  • When our state allows citizens to purchase as many guns as they want on any one day, it enables “straw purchase” fueling illegal distribution.
  • When our state allows gun purchase with NO education and NO safety training, it sends a signal that this is a casual purchase decision, easily and quickly made.  In fact it is a decision to purchase a lethal weapon with  the ability to quickly kill another human being.
  • When our state uses a “shall issue” approach to concealed carry permitting, it makes it relatively easy to get the permit and carry a concealed, loaded handgun into restaurants, parks, churches…and YOUR home, unless the business or you post a sign that guns are not allowed.

I sometimes hear “Second Amendment” defenders say following a gun tragedy, “Well that only affects a small number of people.”

     I have a hard time understanding this thinking. Each person killed or maimed has a mother, father, sisters, brothers and friends who spend the rest of their lives mourning them. I wonder if the person saying “it’s only a small number” would feel the same if it was their loved one who was killed.
     “My life was changed forever that day,” said Movita Johnson-Harrell, “and it will never be the same again.”
     Can we continue to hear these cries of anguish and do nothing?
Ann Colby-Cummings
Chairperson
***
There is an open meeting of Gun Sense Chester County on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 10 W. Pleasant Grove Rd., West Chester 19382beginning at 7:15 p.m.  Please join us. 

Balancing Rights and Sensible Regulation

This week saw yet another school shooting, this one in Washington State. The Washington Post published an interesting commentary discussing the warning signs that are often present before these types of shootings occur.
Unfortunately, our current system does not afford law enforcement the ability to remove guns before a tragedy might occur in many of these types of situations.
We understand that this is complicated.  The entire issue of balancing Second Amendment rights and sensible gun regulation is complicated.
If we are to make progress, we must be willing to explore these issues and have thoughtful discussions about what approaches might work.
Gun Sense Chester County has an open meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 10 W. Pleasant Grove Road, W. Chester 19382 (Westminster Presbyterian Church.) If you’re interested in learning more about our group and our approach, or simply sharing your thoughts about how to achieve a balance of Second Amendment rights and sensible gun regulation, we encourage you to attend.
If you want to understand the effect gun violence has on Chester County, join us at a Rally and  walk to the Memorial for the Lost on Sat. Sept. 23 from 1 – 3 p.m. The event will begin at the United Methodist Church, 129 S. High Street, West Chester 19382. We will hear brief remarks on gun violence and then walk to the Calvary Lutheran Church on S. New Street to view the Memorial.  (Co-sponsored with Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence.)
Tragically, since we started planning this event earlier this summer, three names have been added to the Memorial list.  Gun violence hits home even here in Chester County.

Tragically, Here We Are… Again

Fatal Shooting in West Goshen – Neighbor vs Neighbor

It has been a tough summer. Reports have just hit the media that there was a fatal shooting in a neighbor vs. neighbor dispute in West Goshen early in the morning of August 8.

This follows the fatal shooting of Bianca Roberson in late June, also in West Goshen. Cornell Thompson, age 22, was shot and killed in Coatesville August 1.

We believe it is vitally important that our citizens:

  • Understand current gun laws
  • Consider the implications of those laws
  • Determine if those laws protect the rights of gun owners and non gun owners alike, and foster a culture that emphasizes the rights and responsibilities of gun ownership

We MUST come together and have a conversation reflecting diverse viewpoints on the presence of guns in our homes and communities.

  • Are we doing enough to monitor gun purchases?
  • Are those who own guns knowledgeable about their safe handling and maintenance?
  • Do our laws serve to protect those who choose to NOT own guns as well as protecting the rights of those who do?

All good questions. Please join us in identifying equally good answers.

gunsensecc@gmail.com