Monthly Archives: September 2017

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. 
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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.