Category: News

Aurora

Tomorrow, July 20, marks five years since the horrific shooting at Aurora. Five years since seventy people were shot and twelve killed at a movie theater.  Five years in which we have suffered countless shootings at schools, churches, community centers, night clubs, homes and businesses.  Five years in which Congress — and the state legislature in Harrisburg — have failed to act to make our communities safer.

The victims and survivors of Aurora deserve better and more. They deserve action. They deserve voices raised in protest against the silence and inaction of our leaders.

Every day that passes with another 92 lives lost to gun violence, every year that we add solemn, horrific anniversaries to the calendar, should be to our shame.

With you, we are working every day to honor them with action, to demand more in their names and in their memories. We ask you to remember and to pledge to demand more and to do more.

Those lost at Aurora, and those whose lives forever changed that night, had gathered together in one of America’s traditions — going to the movies to see the newest hit, to be entertained in a crowded theater among our friends and neighbors. We deserve the right to be safe and to be feel safe in our movie theaters, and in all the places we go to play, pray, work, learn and be together.

Take Action in the MA State House

Stop Handgun Violence
 

Please join us tomorrow at 1pm in Massachusetts State House Hearing Room A-1 for a Hearing of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary to make your voice heard and keep Massachusetts the safest state in the nation.

There will be a chance to hear more from your elected officials about the pending bills at 11am in Nurses Hall on the 2nd Floor of the State House.

You can be sure that members of the Massachusetts NRA Affiliate, GOAL, will be showing up in large numbers to push for easier access to guns and silencers. Your presence in support of gun violence prevention will speak volumes, nobody is required to testify.

We will be speaking out about three bills in particular:

Extreme Risk Protective Orders (H3081) – We support this bill, which would allow police, concerned family members, and concerned healthcare providers to petition for the court to temporarily remove guns from people who have demonstrated that they are at an extreme risk of harming themselves or others. Duke and Yale researchers found that a similar law prevented dozens of suicides of in Connecticut.

Repealing the Silencer Ban in Massachusetts (H763 and H769) – We oppose these bills, which were filed by allies of the NRA’s Massachusetts Affiliate: GOAL. They would repeal the Commonwealth’s ban on silencers, which has successfully removed them from use in crime. This is an especially dangerous time to weaken state laws on silencers, as the United States Congress is also poised to make them readily available through private sales without a background check.

More information about the hearing and a complete list of the bills to be heard can be found here. And more information about all the gun-related bills introduced in Massachusetts can be found here.

Again, these bills will be heard in State House Hearing Room A-1 at 1pm tomorrow.

Thank you,

The Stop Handgun Violence Team

Ceasefire: Aurora Theater Shooting – Five Year Remembrance

 
Five years ago this Thursday, hundreds of people gathered at an Aurora theater to watch a Batman midnight movie premiere.  About 30 minutes into the film, a gunman entered from a side door, threw out two canisters of smoke/gas and then began firing into the audience.  Twelve were killed and another seventy were injured, including 3 in a nearby theater.  The carnage only ended when the magazine on the gunman’s assault rifle jammed.

This week especially, we will be remembering those who died and those who were injured, a number with lifetime serious disabilities.

Public Remembrance Events:

Wednesday, July 19th-
CANDLELIGHT VIGIL: 11:30pm @ The Memorial Garden
15151 East Alameda Parkway (Aurora Municipal Building)

Thursday, July 20th-
AURORA’S HEROES EVENT: 4:00-7:00pm @ Baker’s St. Pub DTC
8101 E. Belleview Ave.    Thanking all the first responders

NPR recently broadcast a touching interview with Tom and Terry Sullivan, whose son Alex was shot and killed that night.  Both have become consistent and persistent advocates for gun violence prevention.

A private remembrance activity

Click here to print a template you can use to make a dodecahedron with the names of those whose lives were lost in the Aurora Theater shooting.  The construction can be a meditative activity.  With each fold of the paper,  you can remember the person whose life was stolen from them and those family members and other loved ones who can no longer share in their joys.

Instructions for making the Dodecahedron:

  • Print the attached file.  You may choose to print on colorful paper.
  • Cut out the template.
  • Make small cuts so that all the tabs are fully cleared for folding.
  • You may choose to put the names on the inside or the outside.
  • If you wish to decorate the dodecahedron, it would be good to do this before folding.
  • Make strong folds along all of the solid lines (names could be inside or outside).
  •  Use glue stick to attach the tabs on the inside.  It is suggested to leave the pentagon with no tabs for last.
  • If you wish to hang the dodecahedron, put a big knot on thread (maybe even around a small paperclip or other object) and push a needle through one of the internal vertices.  It would be easier to do that before folding.

Remembering those whose lives were taken from them that horrendous evening:

Jonathan Blunk –26, formerly in the Navy, died shielding his girlfriend

A. J. Boik – 18, recent High School graduate, remembered as vibrant and funny

Jesse Childress – 29, an airman at Buckley AFB, spent evenings playing sports with friends

Gordon Cowden – 51, During the chaos, shouted to his two daughters “I love you both!”

Jessica Ghawi – 24, sports journalist and die-hard hockey fan.  Escaped Toronto shooting in month prior.

John Larimer – 27, a Navy petty officer specializing in intelligence,  he died protecting his girlfriend

Matt McQuinn – 27, a relatively new resident of Denver, died protecting his girlfriend

Micayla Medek – 23, described herself as a Subway sandwich artist

Veronica Moser Sullivan – 6, sweet and friendly and loved school and playing

Alex Sullivan – 27, a gentle bear of a man who died celebrating his birthday with friends

Alex Teves – 24, was interning at a school for students with special needs, died protecting his girlfriend

Rebecca Wingo – 32, the mother of two girls who was putting herself back through school

Petition Congress: denounce the NRA for inciting violence

Despite widespread criticism of an NRA recruitment video that uses a thinly veiled call to arms against critics of the President, the organization refuses to take down the video. The video is so beyond the pale, we believe it is important for our political leaders to unequivocally denounce the NRA for inciting violence.

Please click here to sign our petition to Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders.

Using incendiary language and selective video clips, NRA spokeswomen Dana Loesch paints the protestors as violent demonstrators who “smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness.”

The video ends by telling NRA supporters the only way to “save our country” is with the “clenched fist of truth.” The narrative falsely suggests widespread violence by liberal protestors when in fact protests against the Trump administration have been overwhelmingly peaceful.

The fear mongering, race-baiting, us vs. them message of the video does not have a place in our democracy, no matter how polarized we are as a country.

Please click here to call on Congressional leaders to forcefully denounce the tactics of the NRA as wholly inappropriate to our political discourse. To stay silent is to be complicit in the NRA’s dangerous, bigoted agenda aimed at nothing more than stoking fear and violence to pump up sales and profits of gun manufacturers.

Thank you for making your voice heard,

Ron Pinciaro
Executive Director
CT Against Gun Violence

P.S. Please sign the petition now so we can deliver it to the Congressional leadership next week.

NYAGV Stands with the Women’s March

New Yorkers Against Gun Violence stands in solidarity with the Women’s March, gun violence prevention advocates, and other allies in condemning the National Rifle Association’s inflammatory and racist attacks on progressive Americans and, in particular, on communities of color.

The NRA’s recent #ClenchedFistOfTruth campaign, video propaganda, and other hateful messages suggest armed violence against peaceful activists. In response, the Women’s March wrote an open letterto the NRA and organized the #NRA2DOJ March, a grassroots mobilization that will take place this Friday, July 14th, to protest the NRA’s dangerous and unconscionable rhetoric and actions.

NYAGV commends the Women’s March for their courageous leadership and encourages participation in the #NRA2DOJ March and solidarity rallies that will take place in Fairfax, Virginia, Washington, D.C., New York City, and around the country.

Please join NYAGV at the NYC Solidarity Rally in Washington Square Park on Friday, July 14th.  Meet us at 9:45am at the corner of West 4th & MacDougal St.  The rally will begin at 10am!

For more information about the Women’s March from NRA Headquarters to the U.S. Department of Justice, please go HERE.

Congratulations to NYAGV’s Youth Program Scholars!

Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the 2017 ReAction Youth Program Scholarship Award! ReAction is the NYAGV Education Fund’s youth education program to prevent gun violence taught at New York City public high schools.

These students, all seniors attending college in fall 2017, were each awarded $750 scholarships for their outstanding leadership and participation as well as the lessons they took away from the program. All of the 2017 winners graduated from the Leadership and Public Service High School in lower Manhattan.

Scholarship winners (L-R) Luis G. Mendoza, Sharon Perez, Yazmeen Vargas and Yesenia Tapia, with NYAGV program associate Kris Arroyo, at their June 28 graduation.

Congratulations to these impressive young leaders!

Luis G. Mendoza, who lives in the Bronx, will be attending New York City College of Technology, where he plans to study computer science. “The ReACTION Program was an eye opener. I was not aware of the serious problems with gun trafficking. I have personally been affected by gun violence. I’ve had a gun pointed at me twice in the past and have two close friends that were affected by gun violence. The ReACTION Program has taught me ways to avoid conflicts with police officers and things I can do to help my neighborhood.”

Sharon Perez, from Brooklyn, is going on to John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she’ll study criminology. “I want to make a difference in my neighborhood because where I live there’s a lot of young students and I want to make sure they feel that they have someone they can go to for help, guidance, and most importantly, safety.”

Yazmeen Vargas, from the Lower East Side, will be studying at SUNY Purchase, majoring in playwriting and screenwriting. “I knew the difference between the sound of fireworks and gun shots from the age of seven, and I’ve lost friends to gun violence. At our Albany field trip, I gave a speech about the painful parts of my life, and everyone listened to me, understood me, and connected with me. The legislators said I gave them more motivation to fight for bills to prevent other children from growing up with gun violence. Now I feel that I can have an impact in my community.”

Yesenia Tapia, who lives in Harlem, will be attending LaGuardia Community College, where she’ll study criminal justice. “Being a part of this program has made me realize how important it is for change to occur. This is especially clear after losing a close friend of mine. His life ended due to gun violence and it makes me think his life could’ve had a different path if more voices were out there to share their experiences and change people’s mindsets on how they view gun violence.”

Please support the ReACTION Youth Program today and help us bring the program to more high school students this fall!


About the ReAction Youth Program: 
ReAction is the NYAGV Education Fund’s youth program to prevent gun violence serving public high schools across New York City. ReAction educates and empowers young people who are disproportionately impacted by gun violence and guides them to be leaders and activists in their local communities and beyond. For additional information about the ReAction Youth Program, please click here.

Background Checks for Every Sale

As mayor of Malvern, I oversee the police department and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to keep people safe. I don’t ever want to have to pick up the phone and tell someone their loved one has been killed with a gun. I don’t want to have to stand at the funeral of someone whose life was cut far too short.

That’s why I’ve always been a supporter of criminal background checks for every gun sale. It’s why I’ve always been puzzled that Pennsylvania law exempts private sales of rifles, shotguns and military style assault weapons from background checks. Thankfully, there’s a bipartisan bill in the legislature to fix that loophole.

You can help give the background check bill some momentum by calling our state Rep. Duane Milne at (610) 251-1070 and asking him to co-sponsor HB 1400, the background check bill.

Rep. Milne has supported commonsense gun regulations in the past, and he’s voted for the background check bill before. Now we need him to show his support for HB 1400, which already has seven Republican co-sponsors. You live in Rep. Milne’s district if you’re in Malvern, Exton, or the townships of East Whiteland, West Whiteland, West Pikeland, Willistown, Charlestown, or Easttown.

An overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians supports background checks, including supermajorities of Republicans and people in gun-owning households. We know that although handguns are used more often in crimes, long guns are used disproportionately by domestic abusers to kill women and by criminals to kill cops. These are crimes that every mayor worries about, whether we serve in a big city or a small town.

Will you help move the background check bill forward? Please call Rep. Duane Milne’s Malvern office now, while you’re thinking about it, at (610) 251-1070. Tell the staffer who answers that you’re a constituent and you support background checks for every gun sale. Ask that Rep. Milne co-sponsor HB 1400, the background check bill. Then, reply to this email and tell me how it went.

Together, we can move the background check bill forward and make Pennsylvania a safer place.

Best,
David Burton
Mayor, Malvern

Moving Forward on Gun Violence Prevention in New Mexico

New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence Logo
Dear Friend,

The beginning of the summer saw a tragic number of gun deaths including a mass shooting at a congressional ballgame, another at a UPS Center and a shooting spree that killed five in Northern New Mexico. These senseless acts of violence are, yet again, a grave reminder that our country is at a crisis point when it comes to gun violence. While we implore both our local and federal elected officials to have the courage it takes to pass sensible gun violence prevention legislation, we at NMPGV are working every day to stop gun violence in our state.

It has been a busy spring and early summer for New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.

GUNS TO GARDENS

We held our third Guns To Gardens Gun Buyback in Taos, New Mexico in May. It was a huge success.   We brought in 48 firearms including two assault weapons, a sawed off shotgun and many semi-automatic handguns. Sheriff Hogrefe and the Taos Sheriff’s Department were a great help and made the buyback run smoothly. We plan to hold another in New Mexico this summer.

Photo of guns brought in by the Guns To Gardens Taos Gun Buyback


Dismantling guns for gardening tools by RAWtools and art by Santa Fe Community College Student Artists

MURALS TO END GUN VIOLENCE

In June, we continued our Murals To End Gun Violence program at Pojoaque Valley High School with their talented art students. They designed and executed a beautiful gun violence prevention mural on the walls of their school. Warren Montoya from Rezonate Art taught the students how to execute the mural using a grid technique. The students gave impassioned speeches in front of a group of incoming middle school students.  The young artists spoke about why they participated in the mural as well as of the importance of kindness the need to take care of each other and not be bullies.

Students at Pojoaque Valley High working on gun violence prevention mural with Warren Montoya from Rezonate Art

Students at Pojoaque Valley High working on gun violence prevention mural

THANK YOU LUSH COSMETICS!

New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence received a generous grant from Lush Cosmetics to do three more gun violence prevention murals. We are planning our next mural in August in Albuquerque. The foster children New Mexico Can will create our next mural.

Lush Cosmetics also generously gave us over 300 Bath Bombs to give to our hard working volunteers for all the work they do on the issue of gun violence prevention.

FUTURE PROGRAMS:

In the next few months New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence will unveil two new programs that we believe will help reduce gun violence in New Mexico. We will keep you posted.

As you know, we are all volunteers and all of our services that we provide the community are free. Our organization depends on your kind donations.

The Board of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence

SB 719 passes and moves to Governor Brown’s desk for her signature

Ceasefire Oregon
Dear Friend,

Congratulations! You did it! SB 719, the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill, just passed the Oregon House. Governor Kate Brown is expected to sign the bill.

Your phone calls, emails, and meetings supporting SB 719, the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill worked!

Oregonians now have an important tool to help reduce suicide, domestic violence, and shootings. The Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) bill will enable families and law enforcement to prevent tragedies by petitioning a court to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms and other dangerous weapons.

People who are thinking of killing themselves or harming others often often show signs or declare their intentions well before committing the act. The first people to see those signs are often family members. An ERPO gives families and law enforcement a chance to intervene and perhaps prevent a tragedy. In Oregon, where suicide is 85% of all gunshot deaths, temporarily removing access to guns is especially important to prevent suicide.

In November 2016, Washington state voters passed Initiative 14911 (an ERPO law) by a 40 point margin (70% to 30%). Indiana and Connecticut2 also have versions of ERPO. In 2014, California passed AB 1014,3 called a Gun Violence Restraining Order, in response to a killing rampage earlier that year in Isla Vista.

Since Connecticut enacted their ERPO bill in 1999, police have issued 762 orders, which helped save dozens of lives.4

Once an ERPO has been filed, a court must find clear and convincing evidence that an individual is threatening harm to self or others, before the court can order the respondent to temporarily surrender any guns to the police. The respondent will not be able to buy, sell, or possess other firearms for a temporary period of time.

SB 719 will protect gun owners from false applications of ERPO and provide due process. False applications of ERPO or violation of ERPO are punishable by one year’s imprisonment, $6,250 fine or both. The bill establishes procedures for the respondent to request a hearing. The burden of proof is on the petitioner to show clear and convincing evidence.

Passing this bill is the culmination of work by many gun violence prevention advocates including the family of Laura Magee, Melissa Keyser, Central Coast Ceasefire Oregon, Ceasefire Oregon, Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety, Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership, League of Women Voters of Oregon, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Oregon Brady Campaign, Ecumenical Ministries, Pastor Mark Knutson, Rev. Lynne Smouse Lopez, Rev. Chuck Currie, Moms Demand Action, and Everytown for Gun Safety.

But here’s the crucial truth: this bill would not have passed without the support of gun violence prevention advocates like YOU. 

Thank you and congratulations!

Penny, Joanne, and the entire Ceasefire Oregon Team!


  1. http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/extreme-risk-protection-order-initiative-1491/

  2. https://www.thetrace.org/2016/09/gun-violence-restraining-order-suicide-reduction-connecticut/

  3. http://smartgunlaws.org/californias-new-gun-violence-restraining-order-law/

  4. Swanson, Jeffrey W. and Norko, Michael and Lin, Hsiu-Ju and Alanis-Hirsch, Kelly and Frisman, Linda and Baranoski, Madelon and Easter, Michele and Gilbert, Allison and Swartz, Marvin and Bonnie, Richard J., Implementation and Effectiveness of Connecticut’s Risk-Based Gun Removal Law: Does it Prevent Suicides? (August 24, 2016). Law and Contemporary Problems, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2828847

SB 719, ERPO, scheduled for House vote July 6!

Ceasefire Oregon
Dear Friend,

Good news! SB 719, Extreme Risk Protection Order is scheduled for a House Floor vote tomorrow, July 6!

say that you support SB 719 and SB 1065

Although SB 1065 has had procedural problems, we still hope the key aspects of this bill can be passed but we are running out of time.

Both bills are critical to reducing gun violence in Oregon, especially in preventing suicide and domestic violence. Saving lives often depends on keeping guns out of the hands of those who would harm themselves or others. SB 719 and SB 1065 will give Oregonians the tools we need to do just that.

Oregonians cannot wait another year to protect our loved ones who might be suicidal and who are suffering from domestic violence. Please call today.

Thank you for your great work to reduce gun violence.

Best wishes for a safe and happy Fourth of July.

Penny, Joanne, and the entire Ceasefire Oregon Team