Wearing Orange, 400 Delco residents unite & march Media for sensible gun policy

by Anne Neborak, DelCo Times, 6/3/17

Hundreds attend the rally at the Second Baptist Church of Media Friday night. They later walked along State Street for the National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

MEDIA >> More than 400 people wearing orange filled the Second Baptist Church of Media Friday night in a show of unity to shoot down gun violence.

It was standing room only at the Wear Orange Rally and Walk for National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

The rally and walk sponsored by Delaware County United for Sensible Gun Policy is Cochaired by Terry Rumsey and Robin Lasersohn. The group is lobbying to pass legislation to establish universal background checks on guns sales in Pennsylvania with House Bill 1400, which is sponsored by state Rep. James Santora, R-163, of Upper Darby.

Rumsey and Lasersohn spoke about the importance of contacting legislators to work toward sensible gun policies. Lasersohn wants to rename Friday’s National Gun Violence Awareness Day to National Gun Violence Awareness and Action Day.

Legislators state Sen. Tom Killion, R-9, Rep. Santora and state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-161, attended the march and rally to advocate and support an end gun to violence through legislation.

It came on a day – National Gun Violence Awareness Day – when four different shooting incidents took place in the city of Chester, including one that took the life of a 16-year-old walking to school at Chester High.

Killion has authored Senate Bill 501, which would work to get the guns out of persons facing a protection from abuse order in domestic violence situations. Currently in a domestic abuse situation the person subject of the order has 60 days to give up their firearms, and they can give them to a friend or relative. Under Killion’s measure a person suspected of domestic abuse would have to surrender their firearms to a law enforcement officer within 24 hours….

read more at DelCo Times

In Case You Wonder Why…

Having conversations to share differing viewpoints on guns in our society is not easy.

If you need any reminder why it’s important for us to continue the work to reduce gun violence, please read the impactful story in the June 9 Washington Post: 12 Seconds of Gunfire

One startling statistic… “Beginning with Columbine 18 years ago, more than 135,000 students attending at least 164 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus, (Based on Washington Post analysis of online archives, state enrollment figures and news stories.)

One photo contained in the story powerfully conveys the tragedy… it’s of a young girl clinging to the inside of a window on the school bus that is taking her away from the scene of a fatal shooting. She is obviously in great distress.

The point of the story is that for these children there is no “taking them away…” the horror of the event lives with them forever.

Most of us feel distress when we hear of gun violence tragedies, particularly those at schools. As the adults… it’s up to us to translate those feelings into action.  THIS is why we keep talking, researching, and seeking to move forward on a path to reduce gun violence.

 

Come Together Right Now

Gun Sense Chester County members were pleased to join a sister gun sense group, Delaware County United for Sensible Gun Policy, for a National Gun Violence Awareness Day rally in Media on Friday night. The event was standing room only, and was attended by people young and old, of diverse ethnicity, activists and elected officials, pastors and poets.

The hundreds of orange clad participants then walked through the streets of Media. During our stroll, several teenage boys asked what types of things we stood for. We talked about wanting universal background checks before gun purchase and keeping guns out of schools (unless carried by trained law enforcement.)  One of the young men said, “That makes sense.”

Surveys show that over 70% of all Americans agree, that does indeed make sense.

Tragedy’s Shadow

Just why we came together for this event was tragically demonstrated when the Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland spoke of spending the early hours of the day with the grieving family of the City’s latest gun fatality, Zion Abdullah.

Zion, 16 years old, was shot at 7:50 a.m. on his way to school.  There were three other shooting incidents that same day.

Remarkably, Mayor Kirkland noted that it is easier for young people in his community to get a gun than a dictionary.

Philadelphia Inquirer, Chester Shootings

Gun violence is a large, complex issue. It requires thoughtful analysis, respectful conversation and committed cooperation among diverse groups.

The young man’s comment at the Media rally, “That makes sense,” echoes what we hear as we speak with ever more Chester County residents.

This gives us confidence that we can find a path forward together… recognizing that all citizens, gun owning and non gun owning, Republican and Democrat, young and old, can find a way forward together… reducing gun violence while also recognizing all citizen’s rights,

To paraphrase The Beatles, we need to, “come together, right now. ” We hope you will join us. It’s easily done… simply email us at gunsensecc@gmail.com.

Out & About in America

Beyond the typical tragic litany of gun violence victims this weekend, two other headlines appeared.  The first was a story about a Florida man driving down the highway shooting an AK-47 at other cars.

One other driver was injured, thankfully not seriously. Another car was also hit by the gunfire.

FL Man Shoots AK 47 While On Highway

The other headline was a Pennsylvania man being arrested at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. after law enforcement officials reportedly found a Bushmaster AR-15 assault-style gun and dozens of rounds of ammunition in his vehicle.

Authorities said officers acted on a tip and saw the weapon in plain view in the vehicle, which the driver had turned over the hotel valet. Police said a Glock 23 was also found in the glove box, with 90 rounds of ammunition.

Man Arrested for AR-15 at Trump D.C. Hotel

Clearly, some of our citizens are finding uses for semi-automatic assault style rifles beyond visiting the target range or hunting. Where will you see one next?

One Conversation, One Step at a Time

We were pleased to be with residents from the Kennett Square area on May 25th for our “Guns around Town” presentation. It’s always interesting to hear what brings people to the event and to learn about their experiences and perspectives.

I got talking with someone who described themselves as a gun owner and National Rifle Association member. Interestingly, they said they could support virtually all of the legislative items we had covered during the presentation. This included universal background checks before gun purchase, keeping guns out of the schools (unless carried by trained law enforcement or security personnel) and continuing restrictions on gun silencers. The participant’s comment reinforced the polling statistics we had presented, which showed a high level of support among gun owners for these types of policies.

This conversation is a perfect example of why Gun Sense Chester County promotes “building bridges” as part of our efforts. There IS substantial common ground among gun owners and non gun owners alike as to what represents common sense regulation.

Now, we just need to convince our elected officials to pass those regulations.  To achieve that, we need to all join together… those who would prefer to never hold a gun to those who are gun enthusiasts, to make our wishes known. Unfortunately, gun owners have been told by some Second Amendment advocacy groups not to trust what they describe as “gun control gun grabbers.” (For the record, Gun Sense Chester County does not seek to take away anyone’s gun who is a lawful owner. We do encourage responsible ownership practices such as securing the gun in in a locked storage area within the home.)

Each open, respectful conversation we have helps build understanding and trust. Hopefully this will help members of the gun owning community who agree with some additional regulations to feel comfortable that talking with their elected officials to make some changes will not result in a complete loss of gun rights in the U.S.  We are building toward this understanding and trust one conversation, one step, at a time.

On this Memorial Day Weekend, we thank current members of our armed forces and veterans for being willing to take up arms in the service of our country. We owe you a great debt.

Ann Colby-Cummings, Chairperson

 

 

Building Bridges – Working for Understanding

The Radio Times program this morning ran a very thoughtful program on the challenges of gaining insight into other people’s viewpoints by listening to those with whom we disagree.  Worth a listen to understand how our human nature affects “what we hear” and how we value information we process.  Similar themes to the “Building Bridges” program we have been offering in local communities.

You can download a podcast from this site:  http://whyy.org/cms/radiotimes/2017/05/23/breaking-ideological-battle-lines/

“Mike the Gun Guy” on Gun Marketing in the U.S., and the NRA

As we approach the anniversary of the horrific Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, consider listening to an excellent piece by the New Yorker Radio Hour entitled “How the NRA Uses Fear to Sell Guns.”  The interview features a conversation with “Mike the Gun Guy,” a prolific blogger and former firearms dealer, on how the role of the NRA has evolved, approaches used to market handguns, and the difference between perceptions and reality regarding guns and personal safety.

http://www.wnyc.org/story/how-nr-uses-fear-sell-guns