Posts Tagged ‘Charleston’

Don’t Ask These Parents About Guns On Campus

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

It happened seven times in one month in 2013–gun scares on U.S. college campuses. Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana was locked down for hours while Muncie and Indiana State police searched campus buildings. On the same day, the library at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts was evacuated due to a gun scare.

 

Then, in the same month, a disassembled AR-15 rifle, .40-caliber Glock handgun, ammunition for both and body armor were found in a dorm room at Northern Illinois University (where Steven Kazmierczak fatally shot five in 2008) and Central Connecticut State University, Indiana University, Wingate University and A&T State University were locked down from gun threats.

 

The campus shootings continued–at Seattle Pacific University and the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2014; at Umpqua Community College in 2015—as did the gun lobby’s agenda to arm U.S. college campuses. This summer, 50 years after sniper Charles Whitman shot 49 from the University of Texas clock tower, the university complied with a new Texas state law allowing concealed firearms in university buildings. And this week, Attorney General Chris Koster, the Democratic nominee for Missouri governor, filed a lawsuit supporting a University of Missouri professor’s desire to bring a concealed weapon on campus.

 

Except for bars, is there any worse place to have guns? College students are known for their high drug and alcohol use and extreme emotional states including suicidal thoughts. Then there are academic rivalries. In 2014, Purdue University teaching assistant Cody Cousins shot and killed teaching assistant Andrew Boldt in an electrical engineering classroom on the campus. Cousins had 17 university counseling appointments and was treated for amphetamine abuse but legally purchased his gun a week before the murder.

 

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Earlier this summer, UCLA Ph.D student Mainak Sarkar shot and killed William Scott Klug, a much loved professor. Press reports said Sarkar had a “hit list” of other professors he planned to kill and also shot and killed his wife. Like Cousins, Sarkar was known for suspicious and erratic behavior—and like Cousins he was a legal gun owner.

 

No wonder University of Oklahoma President David Boren says, “Placing guns on campus, except in the hands of highly trained law enforcement officers and professionals, would be a serious mistake. It would lead only to tragic results.” No wonder the American College Personnel Association “firmly opposes” guns on college campuses.

 

Of course the gun lobby wants to arm campuses so “good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns.” No matter that the lobby arms bad guys through blocking universal background checks and tougher trafficking laws and that the last 22 mass shooters obeyed gun laws perfectly and were legal gun owners.

 

“It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun” is an insulting and self-serving fantasy that sells guns, fills the morgues and protects no one. If it were true, how were 18 Dallas and Baton Rouge police officers shot last month? How were servicemen at Chattanooga recruitment stations shot last year when they were armed and shot back? Instead of admitting that terrorists, haters and cop killers can and do buy guns, the gun lobby yells we need more guns for “protection.” And now it is bringing its bloody agenda to college campuses.

 

The Year in Gun Massacres: More Bloodshed in More Places

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

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WHICH HAS MORE GUN VIOLENCE–A COUNTRY WHERE ONLY CRIMINALS HAVE GUNS OR A COUNTRY WHERE BOTH CRIMINALS AND LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS HAVE GUNS?

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

 

by Elliot Fineman

CEO – Founder

National Gun Victims Action Council

 

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Whenever laws are proposed that would regulate guns, the NRA and pro-gun extremists argue that only law-abiding citizens will be affected–not criminals. If tighter laws are passed, we will be living in a dangerous society and destined to be victims of gun violence because only criminals will have guns.

 

The facts are just the opposite. We would have a far safer society if only “criminals” had guns. How do we know this?

 

There is a country where only “criminals” have guns. In England, handguns have been outlawed—no one can own them. The only guns private citizens can own are long guns (the kind used for hunting or marksmanship that only shoot 2 bullets at a time) or collector guns.

 

Criminals, of course, can illegally get all the guns they want. They can get semi-automatic handguns that shoot 32 bullets in under 15 seconds—like the Tucson murderer. They can get assault rifles that shoot 50 to 100 bullets per minute like the Aurora murderer.

 

Demographically, England is similar to the US. It has serious drug and gang problems, poverty, mental illness and immigration issues. English citizens hunt, collect guns and enjoy the sport of marksmanship. Because this is a country where only criminals have guns–even police do not carry guns–shouldn’t there be rampant gun homicides and gun crime assaults? England has 45 gun homicides per year.

 

Since the US is 5 times the size of England–300 million vs. 60 million–we should expect 5 times the number of gun homicides or 225 a year. Instead, the US has an astounding 10,000 gun homicides a year because not only do criminals have all the guns they want, so do law-abiding citizens.

 

Clearly it is “law-abiding citizens” with guns, not criminals, who are committing the great majority of US gun homicides. In fact, each of the recent high-profile gun massacres (Tucson, Aurora, Charleston, Umpqua, Roanoke, Chattanooga) was committed by a “law-abiding citizen” who was a legal gun owner—none were from the hand of a criminal with an illegal gun.

 

The NRA and pro-gun extremists use the threat that “only the criminals will have guns” to fight gun laws. The truth is the US would have a fraction of the gun violence it now has if “only the criminals had guns” and there is every point in passing gun regulations.

 

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Sign our petition telling President Obama to declare a national state of emergency.

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Guns Have Feelings Too Says the Gun Lobby

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

 

Many have observed that in defending “gun rights,” the gun lobby helps the very bad guys it says it is against. Exhibit A is blocking private sale background checks so criminals can buy guns at gun shows–and do. Exhibit B is the 2004 Tiahrt amendments which block ATF from requiring yearly dealer inventory despite the tens of thousands of “lost” or “stolen” guns that become crime guns.

 

Of course the NRA obstructionism is because universal background checks will lead to “government confiscation” but arming criminals also sells guns to “good guys” because, well, the criminals have guns!

 

Exhibit C is laws, written by the “bill mill” ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and passed in a growing number of states making it illegal to destroy guns that police seize, often from crime scenes. Yes, the NRA wants to save guns on “death row” because they are “valuable property.”

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The NRA says fears that guns will go back to criminals is “absurd” and if police resold seized guns at a discount it would help lower-income Americans in high-crime areas. But guns resold by police are used in crimes including crimes in which law enforcers are shot says CNNMoney.

 

The new “Don’t Destroy” laws send police out to “face the same guns they risked their lives to get off the street,” says Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher. Hennepin County, MN Sheriff Richard Stanek agrees.

 

NRA spokesperson Jennifer Baker says seized guns are sold to “law-abiding citizens,” not criminals. But the Charleston, Chattanooga, Chapel Hill, Roanoke, Lafayette, Umpqua, Navy Yard, Fort Hood, Santa Barbara, Tucson, Aurora, and Virginia Tech shooters were all legal gun owners as are most mass shooters. Feel better? Baker also says the reason for destruction of seized guns is that anti-gun violence groups want to “want to get rid of all guns.”

 

It is hard to believe the Constitution-focused, “patriotic” gun lobby is so unabashedly pro-criminal and anti-law enforcement. In addition to releasing crime guns back to the street, it has pushed laws that ban gun buy-backs, a modest but effective way for family members to remove household guns. To demonstrate its contempt for law enforcement, gun victims and gun regulation, Guns Save Life in Champaign IL vowed to sabotage a Chicago buy-back this week by turning in inoperable and rusty guns. “We will be delighted to transact business once more with do-gooders in Chicago,” said its executive director.

 

With lethal shootings in church, schools, on US highways and even during newscasts, the public space is no longer safe. We have asked President Obama to declare a state of emergency as he did in 2009 when the swine flu became a daily, public health threat.

 

 

Sign here

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These mass shooters have “rights” says the gun lobby

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

 

One of the gun lobby’s biggest assets is the public’s short memory. Who remembers that Army Specialist Ivan Lopez shot 18 and killed 3 at Fort Hood last year? People barely remember that Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed on-camera six weeks ago during a newscast.

 

This summer’s bloodshed in a church, movie theaters and at recruitment stations followed by shooting deaths on three US campuses in one week has roused politicians out of their deep gun denial. Clearly, a Congress that thought universal background checks, an assault weapons ban and better trafficking laws were too extreme after Sandy Hook, won’t be swayed by fifty new bereaved parents of slain college kids.

 

Still, there is a big difference between President Obama taking “executive actions” as politicians and anti-gun violence groups urge and invoking a true state of emergency. When the country is faced with large-scale danger, the President can declare a National State of Emergency which allows bypass of federal laws to protect citizens. During the swine flu epidemic in 2009, the President suspended laws governing hospital procedures, patient treatment and federal funding to save lives, as 20,000 were hospitalized and 1,000 died.

 

The gun lobby maintains that gun laws don’t work because “criminals don’t obey laws” but it is one of the lobby’s most lethal lies. The Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, Tucson, Santa Barbara, Navy Yard, Fort Hood and Aurora killers were legal gun owners as were the recent Charleston, Chattanooga, Lafayette, Roanoke, Roseburg and Flagstaff murder suspects. In fact, most mass shooters have no trouble buying gun after legal gun. (We don’t know about the gunman who killed a Texas Southern University student the same day as the NAU Flagstaff shooting, because he is still at large.)

 

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Not only do mass shooters follow gun laws, there is a chilling intentionality to their murders. Purdue University student Cody Cousins who shot and killed a teaching assistant in a classroom last year, legally purchased his gun a week before the murder. Aaron Alexis bought his legal gun at Sharpshooters in Lorton, VA two days before he killed 12 at the Washington Naval Yard in 2013.

 

Yet according to the gun lobby (and the pols in its thrall), gun lovers with arsenals and stockpiled ammo, who watch violent videos all day and issue social media threats have “rights” until they shoot our kids. On the tip of a woman whose former boyfriend was collecting strobe and laser enhanced assault weapons despite a domestic violence conviction, NGVAC notified the Glendale, AZ and Henderson, NV police departments both of whom told us he had “gun rights” until he killed. What?

 

When mentally unbalanced and homicidal gun enthusiasts can buy weapon after legal weapon for their mass shootings, the nation is beyond the need for “executive actions.” It is time to declare a state of emergency.

 

Tell President Obama it is time to declare a state of emergency–before the next copycat mass shooting.

 

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No Massacre Will Pry Congress Out of the Gun Lobby’s Hands–That’s Why We Launched This Petition

Monday, October 5th, 2015

 

If the shooting of one of their own–Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords–and the murder of 20 six-year-olds did not move lawmakers, certainly the dead at Umpqua Community College last week will not pry Congress out of the gun lobby’s cold dead hands.

 

After the first graders and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, federal lawmakers still thought universal background checks and an assault weapons ban were too extreme. Even an amendment “to increase public safety by punishing and deterring firearms trafficking” was too extreme for lawmakers and was defeated after Sandy Hook.

 

The Oregon shooter, like 10 recent mass shooters, was a legal gun owner amassing an arsenal of lethal weapons as the gun lobby says he has the “right” to do. Like the Sandy Hook murderer, the Oregon shooter also had a gun extremist for a mother who took him shooting. Nice. She was reportedly obsessed with the Second Amendment and government “confiscation” of guns.

 

At NGVAC, where we have lost loved ones because of loose gun laws, we deplore two lies that surface after every mass shooting–that the “real problem” is mental illness and that “no laws” would have stopped the bloodshed. Every country in the world has mental illness but they don’t have weekly shootings and–every developed country has enacted laws to prevent such mass shootings.

 

 

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There has not been one mass shooting in the United Kingdom since strong gun laws were passed after a shooting in Dunblane in 1996 in which 16 children and one teacher died. The same is true in Australia where strong gun laws were passed after a 1996 mass shooting at a popular tourist site in Port Authur in which 35 people were killed and 23 wounded. Before the Australia laws there had been 13 mass shootings; afterwards none.

 

As our military installations, media members, churches, movie theaters, restaurants, stores, offices, factories, schools, colleges, national parks and US highways are under siege and Congress won’t act, we have asked President Obama to declare a state of emergency. He declared a state of emergency in 2009 when the H191 flu hospitalized 20,000 people and killed 1,000. Guns cause 10,000 homicides, 70,000 injuries, 18,000 suicides and 2,000 accidental deaths a year in the US.

 

A state of emergency can be declared when the government lacks the procedures and capacity to address an unchecked natural or man-made public health epidemic. Clearly, that describes the US situation now as everyone waits for the next Aurora, Charleston, Chattanooga, Roanoke or Roseburg.

 

PLEASE SIGN THE NGVAC PETITION FOUND HERE.

 

 

 

 

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Will On Camera Assassinations Be a Tipping Point? Or Is More Gun Bloodshed Necessary?

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

 

Reporter and cameraman gunned down during live newscast? Beloved professor killed by another professor in his campus office? Another day of gun bloodshed in the US.

 

After mass shootings the media “play by play” is always the same. First the nation is horrified, then the suspect’s “mental illness” is examined, then memorial services are held and then, after self-muting for three days, gun advocates surface to say “no laws” could have prevented the carnage because the “real problem” is mental illness.

 

Wrong on all counts. First, the Charleston, Chattanooga and Roanoke suspects were legal gun owners despite clear mental problems. The gun lobby loves to say criminals don’t follow gun laws but the Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson, Fort Hood, Navy Yard, NIU and Santa Barbara shooters–and most other mass gun murderers– followed the letter of the law.

 

Secondly, other countries have as many mentally ill people as we do—but they have gun laws. After the Dunblane school massacre in the United Kingdom in 1996 and the Port Arthur massacre in Australia the same year, laws were passed that prevented future shootings. They learned their lesson. By way of contrast, after the US’s Red Lake massacre in 2005, laws were passed in the US to make it illegal to sue the gun industry.

 

In response to the gun lovers who like to argue “should knives, hammers and cars be outlawed too,” no one has ever wounded 82 people in seconds with a knife as the Aurora killer did with a gun. On the same day as the Sandy Hook murders, a man in China stabbed the same number of school children and none died. It’s the guns, stupid.

 

Many do not realize or can’t believe that the NRA works for the “gun rights” of convicted felons, domestic abusers and people under orders of protection because they have gun rights too. Most people under orders of protection are men, of course and eight women were shot by their husbands in the last week of August—six died.

 

Right after the Aurora movie theater shootings we, at NGVAC, were alerted by an ex-wife to a convicted domestic abuser who was collecting guns and military weapons, which he was legally banned from doing, and donning body armor. We were told by two police departments the possible mass-shooter-in-the-making had the “right” to his arsenal and society would just have to wait until he killed before they could do anything. What?

 

August’s on camera murders, July’s movie and military murders or June’s church murders may not have been a tipping point–but the whole nation knows one is coming. One of these days, one too many gun victim families will ask why their loved one was killed and why their lawmakers are serving the NRA not them.

 

 

 

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