January 2, 2016
- We will stop referring to ourselves as a “civil rights” organization defending “human rights.” It is a sacrilege to every victim of civil or human rights violations.
January 2, 2016
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.
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.
Sometimes the gun lobby’s rants sound like they are out of the Onion. Despite the Heller decision, the defeat of universal background checks and assault weapon/ high-capacity magazine bans after Newtown, despite the legalization of concealed carry in every state, gun owners are still “oppressed.”
Why can’t “carriers” carry in schools or churches? Bars? Courtrooms and government offices? Why can’t carriers bring their gun to work? Why isn’t their carry permit honored in other states? Why can’t they “carry” at Chuck E. Cheese and Toys R Us? Oppression!!
Of course, in truth there is almost no legislative battle the gun lobby has not won from legalizing guns on Amtrak and in national parks (the same government “trying to take your guns”) to defeating one-gun-a-month purchase limits and mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns laws. The gun lobby has even pushed through laws prohibiting the names of gun owners from being published. Guns keep their owners so safe—they don’t want anyone to know they have them?
But the string of legislative successes has created another problem for the gun lobby: how to convince followers they are still persecuted when it’s easier to buy a gun than Sudafed. Seven years ago “Obama’s gonna take your guns” galvanized the troops and sold a lot of guns, ammo and NRA memberships. Now crying “CONFISCATION ” is like crying “WOLF.” No one believes it anymore and the NRA looks irrelevant.
Enter new forms of “oppression” that gun owners did not even realize they were suffering from–like the oppression of waiting two days to procure a lethal weapon. Wisconsin’s 48-hour waiting period to buy handguns violates gun rights and amounts to a “time tax” charged Republican state Sen. Van Wanggaard this week. Why should “an individual that is able to lawfully possess a firearm,” be so restricted??
Laws against silencers also oppress gun owners’ rights. Why should gun owners have to endure ear damage when firing their weapons? Watch for bills legalizing silencers–which the gun lobby prefers to call “sound suppressors”–sailing through state legislatures in 2015.
Finally, the call for a ban on civilian sales of sniper weapons like TrackingPoint’s “Smart Scope” Military-Style Precision-Guided rifle which hits a target the size of a soup can from 1,000 yards away is another instance of gun owner oppression. “If we start banning technology like this, what’s next? What scope is next? What firearm is next?” wrote a Florida gun columnist. “We have to stand together to prevent this kind of erosion of our constitutional rights.”
Constitutional rights? To own a sniper weapon, silencer and endure no gun waiting period? In seeking new areas of gun rights “persecution,” the gun lobby sounds a lot like the boy who shoots his parents and cries he is an orphan.
Join our action to tell corporate America to get off the “sidelines” and take a stand against gun violence including the “can’t miss” sniper rifle sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws. Follow us at @GunVictimsAct
Guns have killed over 10,000 in Illinois in the last ten years and in Chicago, it is a daily blood bath, especially in minority neighborhoods. Yet five weeks ago, two prominent religious leaders from crime ridden communities, Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit Church and Pastor Corey Brooks, Sr. of New Beginnings Church endorsed a senate candidate who is, amazingly, against universal background checks!
Jim Oberweis, an Illinois Republican State Senator from the 25th District who is challenging Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin actually told the Chicago Tribune editorial board this week that he has not seen “evidence” that background checks would reduce crime. Since guns sold without background checks represent 40 percent of all gun sales, Sen. Oberweis must have been kidding.
Unfortunately, Oberweis made two other comments at the editorial board meeting that show him unfit to be a Senator in a country that has 30,000 gun deaths a year. First he, like most gun advocates, wants to use gun violence statistics to prove that gun laws “don’t work” while pretending that gun trafficking doesn’t even exist.
According to the Associated Press, Oberweis told the Tribune, Chicago’s gun violence problem exists despite Illinois having some of the “nation’s toughest gun laws.” What? The City of Chicago has issued clear statistics that many crime guns are unabashedly trafficked from Wisconsin, Indiana and Mississippi, states with looser laws. Does Sen. Oberweis want to pretend crime guns stop at state borders and city limits? And he wants to be a Senator?
Secondly, Sen. Oberweis buys into the NRA/gun lobby paranoid fiction that a database of gun owners is a prelude to confiscation, tyranny and black helicopters overhead. “People don’t believe the government should have access to too much information,” he told the Tribune, as if he is not trying to be part of the federal government. Which side is Sen. Oberweis on?
The same question can be asked about the NRA. While claiming to be patriotic, it has made sure the ATF lacks basic law-enforcement resources like computerized files thus assuring that “bad guys” and “bad dealers” are not caught. Thank you, patriots.
Recently gun advocate “patriots” heckled beloved Catholic Priest Michael Pfleger who was leading a demonstration at Chuck’s, a suburban gun shop that has provided as many as 1,500 crime guns in Chicago since 2009. The Illinois State Rifle Association actually compared Father Pfleger, a the man of God, to ISIS.
Speaking at a Chicago event on Wednesday, Sen. Durbin thanked Father Pfleger, who was also present at the event, for “reclaiming Chicago neighborhoods” through his work against gun violence and especially crime gun-linked dealers like Chuck’s. “You are our hero,” said Sen. Durbin.
But Sen. Durbin also asked whether the religious leaders who have backed his opponent even realize Sen. Oberweis has taken a very pro-gun stance. As trauma units and morgues in Chicago continue to fill with gun victims and churches continue to fill with their bereaved families, it is a good question.
Join our action to tell corporate America to get off the “sidelines” and take a stand against gun violence including sniper weapons sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.