Monthly Archives: September 2015

Guns Everywhere means No Peace at Home

CCCPGV was invited to speak at the ‘International Day of Peace’ observation
organized by the Chester County Peace Movement on Monday evening, Sept. 21st.
We joined the stage with Senator Andy Dinniman, Mayor Carolyn Comitta, and 3 other
speakers as well as a children’s choir from West Chester Friends, and the Concordia Choral
Arts adult choir.  A nice gathering of around 150 people gathered together to promote
peace and brotherhood.  Here is the speech from Tom Buglio, director of CCCPGV.

Guns Everywhere means No Peace at Home: International Day of Peace, September 21st, 2015

Andi, Annette, Mayor Comitta, Senator Dinniman, distinguished guests, and fellow Chester Countians, thank you for inviting me to speak today. I feel very blessed and privileged to live and work in West Chester, the County Seat of one of the most beautiful and wealthy counties in the nation. We truly have it all here, a good place to get a job, raise a family, enjoy the beautiful rolling hills and open space with hiking, biking, horse riding, canoeing the Brandywine, picking apples at our favorite orchards, buying fresh produce from local farmers on Saturday mornings right down the street. We have our fine university providing educational opportunities for young and old, as well as contributing to the arts with concerts, lectures, and Sat. football games. It is truly difficult to imagine a nicer place to be anywhere in the Country.

But even here in West Chester, in bucolic Chester County, the domestic peace can be shattered at any moment by someone doing something stupid and dangerous with a gun. This year, we have already had someone drive down High street, firing a few shots towards the High Street Parking Garage. We had a man shoot another man in the leg literally right outside the offices of Sen. Dinniman and Congressman Costello’s office, on Church Street late one Saturday. And just a few weeks back, a Henderson High School student who was selling marijuana, was lynched, robbed and shot to death, with his body discarded on Hillsdale Avenue in town, literally within sight of the Art Center. What can we surmise from these incidents? There is truly no place safe in America from the scourge of gun violence. Continue reading

Surrender On Guns Is Not An Option

by Jill Lawrence, The National Memo, 9/22/15

The anguish of Richard Martinez in the wake of the Santa Barbara, California, shootings that killed his 20-year-old son last year was almost unbearable. Now he is an old hand. “You are not alone,” Martinez told Andy Parker, father of slain Virginia journalist Alison Parker, in a recent USA Today column.

“Welcome to the heartbreaking club that no one wants to be a part of.”

If only we could fix this by keeping better tabs on disturbed young men and erratic co-workers. If only we could avoid more daunting political warfare over guns….

read more at The National Memo

Preventing and Reducing Gun Violence

from Martin O’Malley for President, 9/14/15

As a nation, it is time for sensible gun safety laws that save lives. That is why Governor O’Malley has set a national goal of cutting deaths from gun violence in half within 10 years. Week after week, more images of horrific gun violence flash across our TV and computer screens. These tragedies aren’t isolated incidents; they are part of a full-blown—and entirely preventable—epidemic. We cannot afford to sit by and let this constant heartbreak become the norm.

As Governor of Maryland, O’Malley implemented some of the toughest measures in the nation to reduce gun violence. He put in place licensing, fingerprinting, background checks, and safety training requirements for all buyers. If a firearm was lost or stolen, owners were required to immediately notify law enforcement. And Maryland prohibited the sale of assault weapons and limited the size of magazines—all while protecting the state’s proud hunting tradition.

Governor O’Malley is calling for the nation to adopt similar, commonsense reforms—while also closing loopholes that allow prohibited individuals to easily purchase guns, prevent law enforcement from holding dealers and gun traffickers accountable when they break the law, and lead to the deaths of thousands of children ever year. These proven solutions are achievable at a national scale—if, as a nation, we have the courage and conviction to do the right thing….

read Governor O’Malley’s detailed proposals at Martin O’Malley for President

Background Checks Will Reduce Gun Violence

Letter, Daily Local News [not online there], 9/12/15, from Carolyn Comitta

Many thanks to Andy Hachadorian for his recent thought-provoking article titled, “What’s the Answer to Gun Violence?” Andy ended his article with a question to readers: “What are we going to do? I’m all ears.” I am a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, part of Everytown for Gun Safety. We’re united in the conviction that support for the Second Amendment goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers and people with severe mental illness. I am happy to share a simple answer to Andy’s question: close the loopholes in our background check system.

My first reaction to Andy’s column was that he sets an impossible bar: “We are kidding ourselves if we think we can prevent all gun violence by those mentally unstable or mentally ill.” I don’t know anyone who thinks we can prevent all gun violence.

Do home security systems prevent all burglaries? Of course not, and no one claims they do or expects them to. Home security systems reduce burglaries. By requiring background checks for every gun sale, we make obtaining a gun harder for people who are prohibited from buying guns because of mental illness, and thereby reduce gun violence. Reducing gun violence is also the goal of those of us, including me, who agree that increased access to mental health treatment is part of the solution. Other developed countries have similar rates of mental illness, but they don’t have anywhere near the level of gun violence.

Federal law requires background checks for gun sales at licensed firearm dealers, but not for private, unlicensed sales, many of which now occur online. Pennsylvania goes a step further by requiring background checks for private handgun sales, but leaves the loophole open for unlicensed sales of rifles, shotguns and military style assault rifles.

In states like Pennsylvania that require background checks on all handgun sales, 46% fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners, 48% fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns and there is 48% less illegal gun trafficking. After Missouri repealed background checks on private gun sales, gun homicides went up 25%, and gun trafficking rose too.

I believe that a federal law requiring background checks for every gun sale no matter what type of gun is a common sense step to reducing gun violence in America. Continue reading

WHO WE ARE

The Chester County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence formed as an outgrowth of the area’s response to the Sandy Hook tragedy. It has grown to include people of conscience throughout Chester County who coordinate with other local, state and national gun violence prevention groups to advocate for common sense measures for reducing gun violence by sharing this message with elected leaders and the public. See What We Advocate here.

Gun Violence Too Big a Problem to Solve? WE DISAGREE!

Recently our local newspaper in Chester County, the Daily Local News, in editorials on August 30 and Sept. 2, sent a disturbing message about gun violence being “too complicated,” and a “disease without a cure.”  This is the wrong message to send.  Here is our answer to people throwing up their hands and thinking nothing can be done about the scourge of gun violence:

CCCPGV appreciates your spending the time to do a personal article on the gun violence problem, though we are disappointed in your conclusions. To summarize what you say, “the problem of gun violence is complicated,” “we can’t take people’s guns away,” and “it is impossible to stop unstable people from committing random acts of violence.” We don’t agree. It really is not all that complicated.

Easy access to guns is the main problem in this country. Continue reading

Lessons From the Virginia Shooting

by Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, Aug. 26, 2015

The slaying of two journalists Wednesday as they broadcast live to a television audience in Virginia is still seared on our screens and our minds, but it’s a moment not only to mourn but also to learn lessons.

The horror isn’t just one macabre double-murder, but the unrelenting toll of gun violence that claims one life every 16 minutes on average in the United States. Three quick data points:

■ More Americans die in gun homicides and suicides every six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

■ More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history.

■ American children are 14 times as likely to die from guns as children in other developed countries, according to David Hemenway, a Harvard professor and author of an excellent book on firearm safety….

keep reading, including links, at New York Times