Category Archives: Legislation – US

“Rep. Costello, do your job!”

By Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 6/29/16

“Rep. Costello, do your job!” was the first of several chants by the 25 people assembled under his office window on West Market St. on June 27.

Then, it was on to “Background checks now!” and “No guns for terrorists!”

And “What did Congress do after Sandy Hook?” Reply: “Nothing!” And the chants went on to a list of other mass shootings after which Congress likewise did nothing.

Chester County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence leader Tom Buglio pointed out that 80-90% of Americans poll as wanting background checks and gun denials for individuals on the terrorist watch list—issues about which Rep. Ryan Costello (R PA-06) won’t meet with CCCPGV personally, though his office staff has.

According to Buglio, Costello is typical of today’s US House: he took $10,000 in NRA funding 2 years ago and avoids every chance to engage with gun violence prevention advocates. Buglio read from Costello’s statement after the Orlando shootings; Costello speaks repeatedly of “terrorism” and “hate” but does not stress that terrorists and haters should not have easy access to assault-style guns.

Activists have repeatedly asked Costello to cosponsor HR 1217, introduced by Peter King [R-NY-2] and cosponsored by almost 200, including 5 R’s and 2 D’s from PA, but Costello will not answer. (See HR 1217 info here.) Buglio challenged Costello: “Stop protecting the NRA and start protecting your constituents.”

The next speaker, John Gribbin, saw Orlando as an attack directed against the LGBT population, not as terrorism in general….

read more at Politics: A View from West Chester

Congress vs. the States on Guns

editorial, New York Times, 6/21/16

On Monday, the Supreme Court decided to not take up Second Amendment challenges to laws in Connecticut and New York that ban the sale or possession of many semiautomatic assault rifles and large-capacity magazines in those states.

With those denials, the latest of more than 70 rejections of challenges to gun regulations, the justices have made it clear that reasonable gun-control laws are fully consistent with Second Amendment rights.

Yet Congress has refused time and again to help protect Americans from rampant gun violence, and so it has fallen on state lawmakers to address this national crisis. Some state and local governments have banned or restricted certain types of ammunition, or prohibited classes of people, like those convicted of multiple instances of drunken driving, from possessing guns. Others have imposed universal background checks and safe-storage requirements on gun owners.

read more at New York Times

I want to talk to you about gun violence

email from Sen. Bernie Sanders, 12/3/15

Here is the very sad truth: it is very difficult for the American people to keep up with the mass shootings we seem to see every day in the news. Yesterday, San Bernardino. Last week, Colorado Springs. Last month, Colorado Springs again. Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Isla Vista, Virginia Tech, Navy Yard, Roseburg, and far too many others.

The crisis of gun violence has reached epidemic levels in this country to the point that we are averaging more than one mass shooting per day. Now, I am going to tell you something that most candidates wouldn’t say: I am not sure there is a magical answer to how we end gun violence in America. But I do know that while thoughts and prayers are important, they are insufficient and it is long past time for action.

That’s why I want to talk to you today about a few concrete actions we should take as a country that will save lives.

Add your name in support of the following commonsense measures Congress can take to make our communities safer from gun violence.

1. We can expand background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. This is an idea that over 80% of Americans agree with, even a majority of gun owners…. Continue reading

Terrorism Aided by Easy Access to Guns

Letter to the Editor, Daily Local News, 11/17/15 [not on Daily Local web site]

After the horrific Paris terrorist massacre, the world again turns its attention to how to respond.

We will hear lots of talk about closing the borders, stepping up military action in Syria and Iraq, stepping up intelligence gathering and whether to contain or destroy ISIS. All of these reactions are understandable, as the people of France are emotionally dealing with their version of 911.
Terrorism has become a reality of contemporary life.

Another constant is homegrown gun violence, which every day takes the lives of 90 people in the United States. While the tragedy of Paris is truly shocking and horrible, it is a sobering reminder that it just takes two days of ‘normal’ gun violence in American to have more deaths than what happened in Paris last week.

One of the main functions of government is to keep its citizens safe — especially when they feel vulnerable.

One way is to do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people–including terrorists. If we really want to protect Americans, we need to make it as difficult for terrorists to get their hands on firearms as possible. What to do?

1. Pass Universal background checks for gun purchases — no private sales without one

2. Pass Lost or stolen gun reporting — to reduce the amount of illegal guns

3. Crack down on ‘Bad Apple Gun Dealers’ — who do not follow safe procedures when selling guns.

There are 3 good bills in PA that deal with just these issues, and 2 bills in the US House that would strengthen background checks. I applaud State rep. Dan Truitt, State rep. Warren Kampf and State rep. Chris Ross for cosigning some of these bills. I call on Senator Dinniman and US Rep Costello to step up to the plate and Cosponsor these good bills.

Let’s hope that a reaction to the latest shocking act of violence in Paris can light a fire under our legislators to get serious about reducing gun violence- as a tactic to combat global and domestic terrorism.

Tom Buglio, West Chester
Chester County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence