Category: State News

Math. History. Science. Guns??


Wisconsin’s “guns everywhere” lawmakers are at it again.

This time, they’re proposing shooting classes as part of the high school curriculum!

>>Click here to tell your legislators to keep the gun industry out of our schools by rejecting AB 427.

Let’s be really clear about the purpose of this legislation: Introducing kids to guns at an early age means more money for the gun industry. The National Shooting Sports Foundation determined that the average target shooter spends about $75,000 over his lifetime, if he is recruited by the age of 16.

And, in case you have any doubt this is purely about gun industry profits, check this out: Jim Sable founded USA High School Clay Target League “after watching the average age at his gun club jump to the mid-fifties.” Worried about the trend, he thought, Why not go to the schools? That’s where the money is.”

AB 427 will have a committee hearing on August 3 at 11 am. We will send you more info about the hearing soon.
Right now, it’s critical that you let the committee chairs and your legislators know our kids’ education and safety is far more important than gun industry profits!

Get loud,

Jeri

Northstar Public Health Conference on Gun Violence

ProtectMN.org

Protect Minnesota, along with the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, and the Minnesota Public Health Association, are pleased to invite you to participate in the Northstar Public Health Conference on Gun Violence.

Gun violence is a pervasive negative influence in America today, stealing lives, devastating families, oppressing communities, and costing Minnesota over $2 billion every year.

Every community is impacted by gun violence. While gun homicide presents a seemingly intractable challenge in some urban communities, three-quarters of gun deaths in Minnesota and similar states are suicides, which occur disproportionately in rural areas. Nationally, gun violence claims over 33,000 American lives every year—as many as are lost to the opioid epidemic.

Although often portrayed as a political issue with no remedy, the Northstar Conference will focus on gun violence as an array of inter-related public health problems that can be solved through integrated, community-based responses. The Conference will explore the causes and characteristics of gun violence in various populations, and present emerging research and best practices related to mental illness, suicide, urban violence, domestic violence, and law enforcement.

Workshop topics will address gun violence and racial and ethnic disparities

  • suicide risk factors among youth, veterans, seniors, and the LGBT community
  • domestic violence risk assessment
  • mass incarceration
  • gun violence in the media
  • community policing strategies
  • legislation and public policy
  • pastoral care

Participation in the Northstar Conference will be helpful to policy makers, public health and mental health professionals, physicians, nurses, social workers, law enforcement personnel, educators, community leaders, clergy, gun violence prevention advocates, and the media. This Conference is eligible for continuing education credits; Certificates of Attendance will be awarded.

We are also calling for presentation proposals and seeking sponsors. Click on Conference Info below for more information.

Maine’s gun violence problem

We are still devastated by the recent domestic violence mass shooting in Madison that claimed the lives of Lori Hayden, 52, Michael Spaulding, 57, and Dustin Tuttle, 25, and left Harvey Austin, 57, wounded.

On the morning of July 5, 2017, police announced that multiple people were shot and killed in Madison and Skowhegan. As someone who has dedicated my professional life to researching strategies to reduce gun violence, I was heartbroken but I can’t say that I was surprised. As details emerged, my initial suspicions were sadly confirmed – a middle-aged white male with a history of violence shot and killed his wife who was trying to escape his repeated abuse. We’ve seen this scenario far too many times before.

Approximately half of all homicides in Maine are related to domestic violence. As long as Maine continues to have weak gun laws and fails to adequately address the high rates of violence against women in our communities, this won’t be the last tragedy that shatters lives in Maine.

Mainers are resilient by nature, but Madison and Skowhegan will never be the same after this tragedy. Imagine being the mother of Dustin’s two-year-old daughter and having to explain why this innocent girl will never see her father or grandmother again. “I don’t think she understands that she’s never going to see them anymore, so we’re taking it day-by-day,” Leanna Gosselin said. “It’s hard to explain to a 2-year-old that the two people that she cared about the most besides me are now gone, and she can’t just see them or talk to them on the phone.”

recent article by three leaders at the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence reminds all of us that “To end domestic abuse and violence, we need to move beyond awareness to true understanding. We need to look beyond the symptoms and understand the patterns of behaviors in which abusers engage and the belief systems that lead to those behaviors.”

Regina Rooney, Francine Garland Stark, and Samaa Abdurraqib explain that “In seeking to understand domestic violence homicide, we too often look at the symptoms – extreme jealousy, aggressive behavior, the use of drugs or alcohol – rather than the cause. But the explanation lies in the fact that the killer – who is, in most cases, a man – deeply believes that he has the right to control his partner’s life, up to and including whether the partner lives or dies. When that control is threatened, as often happens when the partner is trying to end the relationship, that abuser believes he has the right to decide if his partner gets to exist without him.”

Maine Gun Safety Coalition is committed to moving beyond awareness and participating in much-needed conversations about preventing domestic violence homicides. I hope you will join us.

Nick Wilson
Executive Director, Maine Gun Safety Coalition

P.S. In the days following the Madison shooting, we heard several comments about this tragedy being a rare incident. It may have been the deadliest mass shooting in Maine since 2015, but not a day goes by without gun violence being in Maine newspapers. We will continue to follow this tragedy closely as more information is released, but we will also remind our elected officials that it is time we admit that Maine has a gun violence problem. In addition to this high-profile shooting, there were eight other gun violence incidents reported in Maine over a three-week period:

  • On July 11, 2017, Willis Moulton, 74, was intoxicated and pointed a handgun at his wife in Scarborough.
  • On July 4, 2017, Ibn Welch, 21, was arrested in Old Orchard Beach after he allegedly brandished a handgun during an argument on a public basketball court.
  • On July 2, 2017, Ryan Willis, 28, was arrested in Skowhegan after allegedly waving a handgun at neighbors and threatening to shoot them. According to police, Willis was “highly intoxicated and not making much sense.”
  • On July 2, 2017, Aaron Preseton, 26, was arrested in Limington for firing his gun while fireworks were being set off on the same property. He appeared intoxicated and was subdued by law enforcement with a Taser after he refused to submit to their custody.
  • On July 1, 2017, Noel Holmes, 42, of Arundel fired a shot at a man who attempted to return an A/C unit he bought from Holmes through Craigslist.
  • On June 27, 2017, an unidentified Orland man shot and killed himself.
  • On June 26, 2017, a 20-month-old Winn girl was shot and injured.
  • On June 23, 2017, Amber Libbey, 22, of St. George, shot and injured herself when she picked up a loaded 9-millimeter handgun and it unintentionally discharged.

Upcoming Michigan Events

MCPGV

Today, July 20, marks five years since the horrific shooting at Aurora. Five years since twelve were killed and 70 more wounded at a movie theater. Five years in which we have suffered countless shootings at schools, churches, community centers, night clubs, homes, businesses and on our streets. Five years in which Congress — and the state legislature in Lansing — 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.

MCPGV is fortunate to have Sandy Anglin Phillips and Lonnie Phillips with us in Michigan this month. Please join Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence at one of the following events to meet them, hear their story and learn how you might honor with action those who died at Aurora and all victim/survivors of gun violence.

July 23LansingFellowship for Today, 611 Kalamazoo, 5:30pm

July 24KalamazooCoalition for Common Ground, 315 S. Rose, KPL, 5:30pm

July 25Ann ArborAnn Arbor Orthodox Minyan, Beth Israel Congregation, Jewish Community Center Ann Arbor, Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, MomsRising, Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence, Temple Beth Emeth, Everytown/Moms Demand Action, Jewish Cultural Society, Temple Beth Israel, 2309 Packard Rd, 7pm

July 28East LansingMCPGV, 235 Maplewood, 6pm

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.

Thank you,

Linda Brundage, Ed.D.
Executive Director, Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

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.