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GUNS AND CIGARETTES

In “How Guns Won” Time’s cover story (August 6, 2012) Joe Klein, states that Americans have turned against gun control. More accurately, it is “Uninformed Americans”—deprived of the real facts by the NRA’s relentless cover up—that appear to have turned.  It is important to recall the battle for public opinion during the cigarette wars; when given the real facts, Americans turned against the tobacco industry.  This will happen to the gun industry.

Until the U.S. Surgeon General Report on Smoking and Health in 1964, Americans did not know what the tobacco industry had known and covered up for years—smoking tobacco caused lung cancer.  Once the the  public was truthfully informed, attitudes quickly changed.  A Gallup Survey in 1958 found that only 44 percent of Americans believed smoking caused cancer, by 1968, 78 percent believed.

The situation with guns mirrors that of cigarettes.  The gun industry and NRA have known for years the devastation to public safety caused by guns in the absence of sane gun control laws; they have worked to cover it up.  In 1996, NRA pressure caused the elimination of funding for independent firearms research from the Center for Disease Control’s Budget (CDC). Today, the CDC only conducts firearm research first approved by the NRA. In 2003, the NRA caused Congress to pass the Tiahrt Amendment, which assures that sales to the criminal market continue unhindered.

To maximize gun industry sales, the NRA’s goal is that guns are carried at all times, in all places, by virtually anyone.  Once the the public is truthfully informed attitudes will quickly change; public support for stricter gun control laws will soar.

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AURORA WILL NOT CAUSE OUR GUN LAWS TO CHANGE AND WHAT WILL

AURORA WILL NOT CAUSE OUR GUN LAWS TO CHANGE AND WHAT WILL 

In the last eighteen years, not one law has been passed at the federal level to reduce gun violence. However, many laws that will increase gun violence have been passed. And despite our broken hearts and anguish for the victims of the Aurora killer, no one foresees any changes to our insane gun laws. Left to the politicians, our legal protections from gun violence will continue to erode.

WHAT WILL IT TAKE? Until major corporations decide to act responsibly and stand up to the NRA, there will be no sane gun laws. The major corporations have far more money and legislative influence than the NRA—unfortunately, most do not have the will.

Starbucks was let to come to the conclusion it did not want guns. They initially said “In the end, we determined that following local (State) laws is the best approach for us.” However, local (State) laws allow them to ban guns; thus they reveal their conscious choice to allow them. Chains like California Pizza Kitchen, Peets, IKEA, and Disney, others they have banned guns from their stores to protect their customers and employees.

Knowing the threat people carrying guns pose, all corporations we are aware of ban guns from their corporate headquarters and from shareholder meetings. Nor are store employees allowed to bring guns to work in almost all cases.  Why are customers not afforded the same protections when corporations obviously recognize the danger?

HOW TO GET SANE GUN CONTROL LAWS? Use our consumer buying power to force major corporations to become aggressive advocates for sane gun control laws.

THE STARBUCKS BOYCOTT:

The National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC)* called a boycott of Starbucks that started on Valentine’s Day, 2012. The campaign cost Starbucks 10,000 loyal long-term customers who stopped spending $5 million per year. As other groups joined the action, Starbucks saw that a clear majority of the nation and its customers  do not want guns present where they drink coffee. A year and a half after NGVAC initiated this action, Starbucks officially “disinvited” gun from its coffee shops. It is an example of how corporate America has the power to effect change while politicians have passed no laws to reduce gun violence at the federal level for 20 years.

 

 

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