Category Archives: Background checks

Guns Around Town: What you need to know

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Federal Legislation: Call and ask your Congressional Rep to OPPOSE HR 1181.

What:

HR 1181 — would undo the Veterans Administration Process that leads to some military veterans being put on the prohibited gun purchaser list. The bill would also remove more than 170,000 names from the existing list.

Why:

Every day, 22 U.S. Veterans commit suicide; double the rate for the civilian population.

The majority of these suicides are committed with guns.

To help keep veterans safe, for almost 20 years, the VA has submitted records of vets it deems mentally incompetent (following a judicial review) to the National Background Check System (NICS).

This system includes a process for the veteran to challenge the mental competence determination both before and after the determination and record submission.

The current system protects our vets and protects our citizens . We should keep it in place.

Need congressional contact info? Find your representative here.

Keep guns out of hands of dangerous people

Daily Local News, 9/8/16

To the Editor:

I read with interest your Tuesday, Sept. 6th article about the depressing ‘New Normal’ where public buildings, local governments, schools and just about any place where a large number of people can work or gather have to deal with the reality that some unhinged person with a gun can show up anywhere and start firing away.

After the Sandy Hook shooting, there is a serious effort being done to make our public spaces safer.

Your article wrote extensively about the millions of dollars that are being spent on safety measures, such as bullet proof glass, active shooter drills, updated alarm systems, buzzing people in, and even high tech drivers license readers in an attempt to thwart the chances of the unthinkable… a mass shooting here in Chester County. This new reality is really depressing.

I refuse to accept the fact that we have to live in a world where we will have to spend millions of dollars upgrading our public buildings because there are so many unfit people in our country with easy access to guns. I also refuse the image of the NRA and gun rights advocates that the only solution is to arm every American to ‘protect’ ourselves and loved ones in a dystopian view of gun shoot outs with citizens protecting their loved ones by blazing away at the ‘bad guy with a gun.’

The best solution is not to deal with the aftermath of dangerous people having guns, it is to do everything to prevent that person from getting the guns to begin with! That is why gun violence prevention groups talk prevention at the most basic level:

*Universal Background checks for all gun sales-public and private

*Strengthened Background checks- loss of gun rights for all domestic abusers, and anyone with a mental illness

*Cracking Down on Gun Trafficking and Gun Fencing with effective measures such as lost and Stolen reporting and one gun per month

The states that have measures like these in place have half the gun deaths of other states. Take for example, New Jersey, which has strong gun laws to prevent the unfit from getting a gun. NJ gun deaths per 100,000 is 2.8 Contrast that with PA gun deaths per 100,000 is 11.2. The National average of gun deaths per 100,000 is 10. Compare with Canada- 2.3 and Great Britain- less than 1 gun death per 100,000, and you can see that the best safety measure is not bullet proof glass, or active shooter drills. It is doing everything you can to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

Tom Buglio
Chester County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

Senate filibuster ends as Democrat claims gun control victory

The Guardian, 6/16/16

Chris Murphy, who led Democrats in holding floor for more than 14 hours, says deal was struck with Republicans for vote on background checks and terror watchlist

A marathon Democratic filibuster in the wake of the Orlando nightclub massacre came to an end in the US Senate on Thursday morning after Republicans apparently agreed to hold votes on tighter gun control measures.

Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, led the filibuster which lasted for more than 14 hours along with several colleagues. In the early hours of Thursday morning in Washington, Murphy said a deal had been struck with Republican leaders to hold votes on key measures.

Murphy yielded the floor at 2.11am, saying he had won commitments from Republican leaders that they would hold votes on amendments to expand background checks and ban gun sales to suspected terrorists….

read more and see links at The Guardian

Pro-gun forces peddle bad info about background checks

Commentary by Tom Buglio, philly.com, May 27, 2016

I COULDN’T help but notice the long article from Kim Stolfer, president of Firearms Owners Against Crime, in the May 18 edition of the Daily News.

Stolfer argues against background checks for gun sales. The themes that emerged are pretty simple:

* Pennsylvania background checks aren’t worth the expense and inconvenience.

* Background checks are an excuse for a gun registry.

* Just enforce the laws on the books.

As an active gun-rights advocate, Stolfer does his best to discredit background checks with 2014 statistics from the Pennsylvania Instant Check System, or PICS: 13,178 denials for purchase, 782 arrests and 367 criminals prosecuted. I am baffled; why is this a problem? Did we not keep guns out of the hands of at least 367 criminals, and many others who might have mental problems or protection from abuse orders? He mentions those who were “denied their constitutional rights” when many denials were subsequently overturned. So in Stolfer’s opinion, it is more important not to inconvenience someone delayed getting a gun than denying people who would be truly dangerous with a deadly weapon in their hands.

Stolfer decries the expense: $120 million paid since 1998 for PICS.” Compare that to a truly sobering statistic compiled by Mother Jones magazine last year – the true cost of gun violence, which includes medical expenses, insurance, police investigations and judicial proceedings: $229 billion per year! Pennsylvania’s share of that expense is at least one-fiftieth: $4.58 billion per year. Judging by those numbers, I would say Pennsylvania’s background system is a real bargain.

Gun-rights activists have claimed for years that any new background-check bill will come with an automatic gun registry.

This is, first of all, not true. Second, it is the great tool of the gun-rights advocates to strike fear into the hearts of gun owners everywhere.

What is so sinister about a gun registry? The narrative of the gun-rights crowd is that “a registry is a necessary step for the federal government to have information on every gun you own for the purpose of confiscating it.” This fear of government is used by the gun industry to rile up the troops and to sell more guns. In this way, the gun crowd does a great job of “scare ’em and save ’em,” even where there is no truth to this obvious lie that Stolfer has no trouble peddling, along with many of his colleagues.

What Stolfer is really trying to do is discredit the Pennsylvania background-check system, and this article is really part of a concerted and organized campaign by the gun lobby to do just that.

The gun lobby is pushing to disband the state background-check system. This would be a real tragedy, as it goes above and beyond the national system in some important ways:

* The national system takes a maximum of three days to do a background check, and if inconclusive, the buyer gets the gun. Meanwhile, the state system takes up to 10 days to get all data before releasing a gun. If results are inconclusive, the buyer does not get the gun

* The Pennsylvania State Police run the state system, which is efficient and accurate, and prosecutions for those who do not pass have been on the rise.

* PICS has many more records in its database about Pennsylvania residents than the national system.

Background checks on gun sales are intended for one thing: to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Ninety percent of Pennsylvanians think it is a good idea to keep guns away from terrorists, criminals, domestic abusers and the mentally ill. This is why gun-violence prevention groups are lobbying very actively to close the long-gun private-sale loophole in Pennsylvania. Only long guns can be sold privately with no background check. To close this obvious loophole is just common sense.

The vast majority of Pennsylvanians, including most gun owners, believe background checks save lives. Unfortunately, Stolfer does not seem to be among them.

Tom Buglio is the director of the Chester County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. Contact information is at cccpgv.org.

Fetterman Campaign Releases New Ad Starring Mayor John and His Smith & Wesson 500

Fetterman for US Senate, 3/21/16

BRADDOCK, PA – U.S. Senate candidate and Braddock Mayor John Fetterman released a new ad today on Congress’s continued refusal to do absolutely anything at all to reduce gun violence. The spot features no frills, and no BS – just Mayor John armed with the world’s most powerful handgun and a simple message.

“Guns” is available online HERE.

“All of us should agree that we want to make sure that weapons like this stay out of the hands of people that could use them to hurt people,” Mayor John says in the ad – a sentiment that should really be common sense, yet remains controversial in this country.

The handgun featured in the commercial is a Smith & Wesson Model 500. John has owned it for 10 years, and he’s been around guns most of his life. As a teenager John used to hunt deer in Adams County. While the gun lobby and Republicans in Congress seek to pit gun owners against the rest of America, Mayor John is proud to speak up on behalf of millions of gun owners who support common sense measures to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals….

Fetterman's gun

read more and view video at Fetterman for US Senate

PA Background Checks superior to National

On Tuesday, March 15th, a number of progressive PA legislators, and leaders from Gun Violence groups met in Harrisburg to define and refine strategy for making progress in our movement.   In addition, Captain Sean McGinley and Major Scott Price were there representing the State Police.  Their information concerning PICS, Pennsylvania’s background check system was enlightening.  In PA, a gun buyer for everything except for private long gun sales must submit to both NICS and PICS -national and PA background checks.  Here are some facts related by the State Police reps:

*Cracking down on Firearms Denials: The PA State Police have used PICS over the last 4 years to become more aggressive in investigating and prosecuting those who try to buy a gun legally and are denied because of background problems. Currently, there are 6 troopers dedicated to investigating illegal firearms purchases.  In 2015 alone, there were over 4 thousand investigations, 2,290 convictions and 144 people were arrested at point of sale for active warrants.  When the gun rights crowd says ‘enforce existing laws’, we are doing that in PA.

*PICS stronger than FICS:  It was related that PICS searches PA drivers license numbers through PennDot and closes loopholes for searching on name alone (NICS) in instances of name changes.  PICS is also able to use 10 days to investigate anyone held up from buying, and if after 10 days cannot verify, the decision defaults to denial of the sale.  NICS has only 3 days, and as in the case of the Charleston shooter, if the investigation is not complete, the default position is the sale goes through – sometimes with tragic consequences.

*PFA-Protection from Abuse Orders: PICS has 1,500 more PFA’s on record than NICS.

So as you can see, there are some things PA is doing that is very right.   We need ALL GUN SALES to go through PICS, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to the PA State Police for their service in keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

Tom Buglio-CCCPGV director