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

 

 

 

Islamic State Tells Recruits: Buy Your Guns in the U.S.

Wow. It is really pretty remarkable when the world’s best known terrorist organization tells its recruits to purchase their guns in the United States due to easy access through gun shows and online sales.

Check out the latest article about this at the Washington Post.

Perhaps it’s time to re-examine gun sales loopholes? In PA, you can purchase a long gun without a background check by engaging in a private sale at a gun show. Long guns include AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. A pre-purchase background check, which most often is completed within minutes, gives law enforcement officials the opportunity to flag, and stop, illegal purchases.  See our “PA Bills” page for more information about the Universal Background Check legislation that has been filed. Agree it’s time to close the loophole? Let your PA Rep or Senator know.

 

Another Approach…Social Investing for Gun Violence Prevention

What Can YOU Do, Now, about Gun Violence in America?

Consider an “Economic Campaign”

 Did you know that 35% of U.S. stock mutual funds have more than $17.3 billion invested in gun, gun retailer, and ammunition companies?

What are these companies? There are nine:

  • Four manufacturers: Olin Corporation; Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.; Smith & Wesson; and Vista Outdoor.
  • Five retailers: Big 5 Sporting Goods; Dick’s Sporting Goods; Sportsman’s Warehouse, Cabela’s and Wal-Mart.

Do reputable mutual fund firms like Vanguard or Fidelity invest in these companies? YES. They do. So if you have money invested in their funds, your money may be supporting these firms.

  • Vanguard has placed more than $5.7 billion of investor’s money in these corporations.
  • Fidelity Investments has more than $791 million of investor’s money invested in these firms.
  • TSP, the federal employee’s investment fund, has $846 million invested.

I do not want my money invested in these firms. What can I do?

  • If you have a broker or financial advisor, contact them and ask them to remove your money from investment in these companies.
  • If you invest your own money, check the site at the link below to find out if one of your current mutual funds invests in these firms, and to find possible alternative mutual funds
  • Or, call your mutual fund provider and ask for their assistance.

www.goodbyegunstocks.com

We often hear, “How we use our money reflects our values.”  Invest YOUR money to show your commitment to reducing the potential for gun violence in our communities.

Source:  http://www.goodebyegunstocks.com

Bill Allowing PA Teachers To Carry Guns Advances

[The issue of how to best keep our schools safe is a very important one, but is having people who are not trained law enforcement officials the answer? PA lawmakers are actively considering allowing guns in schools.]

By Justin Heinze, West Chester Patch, April 21 2017

Legislation that would allow teachers to carry handguns in Pennsylvania schools has advanced in the state legislature, and the issue is predictably raising tempers on both sides.

Senate Bill 383, also known as the School Safety Bill, would give teachers the option of carrying concealed firearms on school property and in the classroom. Detractors of the bill don’t want firearms around children. Defenders, like bill sponsor Sen. Donald White, a Republican representing the 41st District, think that it could protect students from incidents of violence in schools, like mass shootings or stabbings.

“Since I first introduced this proposal, there has been much discussion about what the measure does and how it relates to current Pennsylvania law,” White, who represents Butler, Indiana, and Westmoreland counties, said in a statement. “To be clear, this bill is not about the Second Amendment. It’s about permitting the 500 school districts of this Commonwealth to have greater choices when it comes to protecting our most precious resource – our children.”

The bill would also allow school staff members, like maintenance workers or any administrative employees, to carry firearms.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s press secretary, J.J. Abbott, released a statement on behalf of the governor condemning the legislation. …

read more at West Chester Patch”></a. See Governor Wolf's "Wolf Administration Statement Opposing Senate Bill 383" here.