Monthly Archives: July 2016

End the Dickey Amendment: Tell Congress to Allow Research on Gun Violence

from Nation of Change

Not only will Congress not allow any new gun control measures to pass, or in some cases even be voted upon, but they are also working hard to keep anyone from doing any serious research on gun violence.

This month 49 people were murdered in an Orlando dance club. The number of mass shootings has increased dramatically over the last several years. This is the time for action.

The NRA owns Congress. In 1996 the NRA passed the Dickey Amendment, preventing the Center for Disease Control from studying the effect of gun violence on the American public. Now, 20 years later, even the author of the amendment, Congressman jay Dickey, believes it should be repealed.

Gun violence kills nearly 100 Americans every day. In the last year alone there were 372 mass shootings, killing 475 people. Yet Congress refuses to move forward on gun control legislation claiming that there is not enough evidence and not enough research to move forward.

Now the most powerful medical association in the United States has called gun violence a “public health crisis.” If the American Medical Association is calling for changes to gun control it is time we, and Congress, listen.

Sign the petition now and tell Congress to take the first step – repeal the Dickey Amendment and allow for more research on gun violence.

Change begins with you!

Share this petition and watch your influence expand.

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Gabby Giffords, N.J. native Mark Kelly decry gun violence at DNC 2016

By Matt Arco, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, July 27, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — An adoring crowd of thousands erupted in cheers Wednesday night when Gabby Giffords declared at the Democratic National Convention that “speaking is difficult,” but “come January, I want to say these two words: ‘Madam president!'”

The former congresswoman who has advocated gun reform since her near fatal shooting five years ago appeared on stage in Philadelphia alongside her husband, New Jersey-native Mark Kelly, to support Hillary Clinton and fight for gun reform in the United States.

“I learned a powerful lesson,” Giffords said. “A strong woman gets things done.”

Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly stumped for Hillary Clinton in New Jersey on Wednesday.

Kelly argued voters “need to make sure that Hillary Clinton is our next president” to fight against the “shameful status quo” in the country regarding gun violence and the lack of reform….

read more at NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine — a great team for our cause

by Tom Buglio

Hillary and her Vice Presidential choice, Tim Kaine, made an appearance on 60 Minutes, and I am very pleased to have Tim Kaine as Hillary’s VP choice. Although my first choice was Elizabeth Warren, because of her being an absolute rock star and exciting personality in the Dem field, after studying all that he has done, I have come to the conclusion that Tim Kaine is an excellent choice, especially for our cause.  Tim Kaine spent a year after graduating college to go to Honduras to build homes and help, while learning fluent Spanish.  As Virginia governor, he repeatedly stood up to the NRA- especially after the Virginia Tech shooting, which he describes as the worst day of his tenure as Governor.  After the Republicans blocked any meaningful gun reform legislation, he imposed an executive action on mental health reporting that is still in effect for the state of Virginia.  He has an F rating from the NRA, and on our cause will be a strong ally to Hillary.

It is up to us to combat the stereotype of Hillary as being ‘untrustworthy’ and Tim Kaine as being ‘boring’.  Neither is true, and both would be the best champions for our cause ever to be in the White House.

American Nurses speak out on Gun Violence

2016-07-13-1468442149-1823298-Nurses_DallasShooting.jpg

Photo credit: A Dallas Area Rapid Transit police officer receives comfort at the Baylor University Hospital emergency room entrance Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Dallas.

(Ting Shen/The Dallas Morning News via AP) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Columbine. Newtown. Aurora. Charleston. San Bernardino. Orlando. Dallas. These communities will be forever etched into our collective consciousness and our country’s history for horrific mass shootings that left a total of over 100 women, men and children dead. Mourning the lives lost is not enough. Each of us must commit to speak up, take action and be part of the solution.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) is asking all health care professionals, policymakers and the public to join us in our declaration to Stop the Madness: End the Violence! Now is the time to pass meaningful gun control legislation at the state and federal levels to protect society.

This is not about taking away anyone’s Constitutional rights. It is about restoring safety where we live, work, learn, and play. No one should live in fear that they, their loved ones, or our public servants, will be felled by the next bullet.

Of grave concern to nurses are all human rights violations, including hate crimes, reflected in some of these recent killings. The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements calls on nurses to respect all cultures, value systems, sexual orientation or gender expression. Furthermore, the Code calls on us to act to change those aspects of social structures that detract from health and well-being.

Gun violence occurs virtually every day in this country and most shootings receive little or no media coverage. Registered nurses and other health care professionals witness the carnage and devastation to victims and their families when these senseless acts of violence occur. We know that the pain and loss — to individuals, families and society — are great. In 2015 alone, the Gun Violence Archive noted that 13,438 people died and 27,017 were injured in violent gun incidents — with 700 of the injuries and deaths occurring in children up to 11 years old. (These statistics omit suicide, which is estimated at about 20,000 casualties annually.) The common thread in many of these tragedies was easy access to guns and inadequate access to mental health services.

The most recent high-profile shooting in Dallas left five police officers dead. The Orlando massacre — the deadliest not only in 2016 but also in modern U.S. history — left 49 people dead and 53 injured. During both shootings, the killers used assault-style guns. According to The Washington Post, in the past 10 years, assault-style rifles have been used in 14 mass shootings.

Since 1994, ANA has declared that gun violence is a public health issue, and in so doing, has called for limiting the availability of handguns, a ban on assault weapons, and both a waiting period and background check for anyone purchasing a gun.

Recently, ANA joined other public health groups in asking Congress to lift a long-standing ban on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from studying gun violence and to provide appropriate funding to examine its causes and effective prevention strategies.

At a July 12 memorial service in Dallas, President Obama noted that if Americans cannot talk honestly and openly with those who may look different from themselves or hold different perspectives, then we will never be able to break the cycle of violence. The answer, he said, lies in part in “forging consensus, and fighting cynicism, and finding the will to make change.”

The time to unite and take action is now. Together we can halt the growing list of victims. We can stop the madness by forging solutions that address the myriad issues that promote cycles of violence. We must raise our voices to join with members of our communities and at every level of civil society in dialogue and action, to address the underlying issues that result in hate and motivate unspeakable acts of violence.

Neither hate, nor fear, nor violence should be part of daily life. Health care professionals must speak up to protect everyone’s civil rights, their lives, and the well-being of our communities.

Congress Is Done Talking About Gun Control and Is Ready for Vacation

By George Zornick, The Nation, 7/13/16

An activist push for an assault weapons ban fell on deaf ears in Congress on Tuesday

Despite two high-profile and horrific acts of gun violence in the past month, Congress is likely to leave town this week for a two-month recess without taking any action on gun control. House Speaker Paul Ryan was planning a vote on a deeply flawed piece of legislation that would potentially prevent the sale of weapons to people on the terror watchlist, but now even a vote on that bill appears to be off the table.

On Tuesday, there were a few events marking the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Pulse nightclub—but mainly kept outside the doors of the Capitol. In the evening, on the front steps, the House LGBT caucus along with several members of Democratic leadership held a vigil for the victims of the shooting, the worst in American history, and demanded “action” on gun control.

Earlier in the day, a small group of activists and progressive members of Congress stood outside the Capitol building and demand reinstatement of the assault weapons ban. If there was ever a political moment for getting both parties to at least talk about the ban, one would think it might come after a professed adherent of ISIS used an assault weapon to kill 49 people, followed shortly by a man using an assault rifle to conduct urban combat against police officers in Dallas, killing five of them….

read more at The Nation

Making a Killing: The business and politics of selling guns.

By Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 6/27/16

Bars in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia let out at 2 A.M. On the morning of January 17, 2010, two groups emerged, looking for taxis. At the corner of Market and Third Street, they started yelling at each other. On one side was Edward DiDonato, who had recently begun work at an insurance company, having graduated from Villanova University, where he was a captain of the lacrosse team. On the other was Gerald Ung, a third-year law student at Temple, who wrote poetry in his spare time and had worked as a technology consultant for Freddie Mac. Both men had grown up in prosperous suburbs: DiDonato in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia; Ung in Reston, Virginia, near Washington, D.C.

Everyone had been drinking, and neither side could subsequently remember how the disagreement started; one of DiDonato’s friends may have kicked in the direction of one of Ung’s friends, and Ung may have mocked someone’s hair. “To this day, I have no idea why this happened,” Joy Keh, a photographer who was one of Ung’s friends at the scene, said later.

The argument moved down the block, and one of DiDonato’s friends, a bartender named Thomas V. Kelly IV, lunged at the other group. He was pushed away before he could throw a punch. He rushed at the group again; this time, Ung pulled from his pocket a .380-calibre semiautomatic pistol, the Kel-Tec P-3AT. Only five inches long and weighing barely half a pound, it was a “carry gun,” a small, lethal pistol designed for “concealed carry,” the growing practice of toting a hidden gun in daily life. Two decades ago, leaving the house with a concealed weapon was strictly controlled or illegal in twenty-two states, and fewer than five million Americans had a permit to do so. …

read more at The New Yorker. The photo caption sums it up: “Last year, mass shootings accounted for just two per cent of American gun deaths. Most gun violence is impulsive and up close.”