Posts Tagged ‘Newtown’

When Will Apple, American Airlines and PayPal Address Gun Violence?

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016


If the death of 20 first graders, the shooting of Rep. Giffords and the San Bernardino massacre did not drive federal gun safety laws, nothing will. After the San Bernardino massacre, lawmakers would not even ban people on the Terror Watch List from buying guns actually placing “gun rights” over our right to be safe from terrorists!


Yet it took about a week for Indiana lawmakers to change their mind about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act when Apple, American Airlines, the NCAA college sports league and others threatened to pull their convention business. And American Airlines, PayPal, Wells Fargo and the NBA will no doubt have a similar effect on LGBT discrimination laws that states are currently trying to enact.


What is the difference? Money. Lawmakers can and do ignore calls and vigils from gun violence victims but when PayPal threatens to pull its $3.6-million, 400-job project or the NBA its 2017 All-Star game lawmakers wake up and smell the coffee. No state wants to be an economic island. (And remember how quickly the NFL reversed tolerance of domestic violence after hearing from sponsors like Anheuser-Busch and the Radisson hotel chain?)



NRA cartoons - Google Search


US corporations are twice hypocrites. First they speak out on LGBT rights and domestic violence but are mute on the need for laws to mitigate the gun violence epidemic that kills 82 people a day in the US—and accounts for the majority of domestic violence. And secondly, they allow gun carriers in their stores, restaurants or outlets while clearly banning them in corporate offices.


Just as 90 percent of the nation deplores LGBT discrimination, 90 percent of the nation wants sane gun laws like universal background checks. (Currently any criminal can buy a gun at a gun show.) Major chains like Panera Bread, Sonic, Chili’s, Chipotle, Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Target, Whole Foods, Peet’s, Ikea, Disneyland, California Pizza Kitchen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Toys R US and the AMC and Cinemark theaters recognize customers do not want to enter an armed zone and dine or shop next to “carriers” without even knowing it. But few have the courage to outright ban guns.


And there is more hypocrisy. Last week, the same gun rights absolutists who say gun-free zones kill because armed good guys can’t stop armed bad guys “suddenly got religion when it came to armed delegates in a convention hall in Cleveland,” says the New Yorker. Hey, those things kill. In 2015, Trump’s own hotel in Chicago had a “no guns” sign.


No, lawmakers don’t and won’t listen to gun violence victims no matter how many vigils we hold. They think people on the Terror Watch List have gun rights. But they do listen to corporate America which can make their state an economic island as we saw with Indiana and currently are seeing with North Carolina and Mississippi.


Stopping Gun Violence Requires Presidential Leadership of a Multipronged Approach

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

by Elliot Fineman, CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council
December 13, 2015


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.





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.











How’s That Demographic Thing Working Out for You, LaPierre?

Friday, April 17th, 2015

At last week’s NRA convention, executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre thundered that “eight years of one demographically symbolic president is enough.” The Democrats are trying to “reshape America” into an unrecognizable country, he bellowed.
But really it is the NRA not the Democrats that is on the wrong side of US demographics. Half of all millennials now support stricter gun laws and only 18 percent of those 18 to 25 even own a gun! Think about that.
Wayne LaPierre - Google Search
Yes, there are more total guns in the US than there were thirty years ago but they are concentrated in homes that already had them and heeded the “Obama’s gonna take your guns” warning. Now the post-Obama and Newtown “confiscation” gun rushes are over and gun makers admit they were a fluke. Last year, Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. and Remington Outdoor Co. reported profits down. Thomas Millner, outdoor retailer Cabela’s chief executive admitted the feeder frenzy after Newtown was “a bubble” as sales of firearms and ammunition dropped 50 percent.
While households that already had firearms now have more firearms, only a third of total households now have guns–down from half in 1977. The reason for the steep decline, says UPI, is “aging of the current-gun owning population, a lack of interest in guns by youth, the end of military conscription, the decreasing popularity of hunting; land-use issues that limit hunting and shooting and the increase in single-parent homes headed by women.”
Hunting isn’t even cool anymore to a growing number of young people. Kids are more involved with “cars, girlfriends or hanging out” and “think it’s boring to sit in a tree for hours,” said Kevin Kelly, a college student, to the lower Hudson Valley’s Journal News a few years ago. It’s not popular in middle school either agreed Carmel student Nick Sadowski.
“Only a couple of my friends really hunt,” high school student Jonathan Gibbons told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “The rest have never really found the appeal of sitting out in the cold to shoot an animal.” According to the Wildlife Service, the number of young hunters, aged 16 to 24, fell by 300,000 in just ten years.
Nor do young people “get” NRA’s “Stand and Fight” message, rolled out insensitively after the Sandy Hook massacre. Who are we fighting?
“The NRA in the last 20-plus years has fed its followers a steady stream of angry, defensive, apocalyptic rhetoric about the government, about gun laws, about Democrats, about liberals,” says Vice, with dwindling success. “Most gun owners are white people over age 50 who primarily live in the South, Midwest, and rural areas—a shrinking group that the GOP is desperately trying to look beyond as it tries to broaden its appeal in 2016.”
At the recent NRA convention, an attendee verified the demographic problem. “Look around you–what do you notice?” she said to a reporter. “It’s very white isn’t it? And very old. Where are the young people? Where the Asians? Where are the Latinos? If this is the audience of the Republican Party we’re not going to win.”


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

The NRA Doesn’t Hate All Gun Laws–Look at The Ones it Likes

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

The NRA hates the government’s jackbooted ATF agents and loves to whip up its wild-eyed prepper population: they’re coming to take your guns. Yet the NRA has quietly enacted a lot of regulations of its own which it relies on the same government jackbooted agents to enforce. Who can say hypocrite?
oppressFor example, the gun lobby-backed Tiahrt amendments tacked on to U.S. Department of Justice appropriations bills since 2003 prohibit ATF from releasing firearm trace data for use by cities, states, researchers, litigants and members of the public. Tiahrt amendments also mandate the destruction of all approved gun purchaser records within 24 hours and prohibit ATF from requiring gun dealers to submit their inventories to law enforcement.
Let’s get those bad guys!
The NRA actually got a program passed to help felons and others whose gun purchasing rights were revoked petition for them to be restored. “Felons Finding It Easy to Regain Gun Rights,” said a chilling New York Times report in November of 2011. Why should someone’s gun rights be abridged just because they’re a violent criminal?
After the NRA got laws passed that make it legal for employees to bring their guns to work and leave them in the company parking lot, it added some spite. It pushed for laws in some states to make it illegal for employers to even ask if the employee brought a gun to work! It’s none of their business–until workplace shootings occur.
The bills are similar to the NRA’s moves to make it illegal for doctors to ask patients if they have guns in the home–those meddlers. Of course the NRA doesn’t mind doctors stitching up the children who find Dad’s gun practically every week.
The NRA has also pushed laws to make it illegal to publish the names and addresses of gun owners even though the information is considered in the public domain like real estate transfers. Guns make them so safe–owners don’t want anyone to know they have them. What will the neighbors think? What if bad guys break in and steal them? Maybe they need more guns to protect their guns.
Of course the NRA’s favorite law is the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act which gives gun makers, gun dealers and trade groups complete legal immunity from negligence and product liability lawsuits. Passed after Columbine and Red Lake, but before Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora and Newtown, maybe the gun lobby knew what was coming.



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

Forgot Last Year's Shootings? That's What The NRA Hopes

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Until the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011 and the Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings in 2012, the public tended to regard mass shootings like storms–locally heavy but widely scattered and soon to be forgotten.

Who remembers the spate of gun violence in 2009 in which the gun “enthusiast” Michael McLendon killed his mother, grandmother, uncle, two cousins and the wife and toddler daughter of a sheriff’s deputy in Samson, Alabama, setting fire to his mother’s home and killing her dogs? McLendon had a cache of an M-16, an AK-47, a shotgun, two pistols and a “great amount of ammunition.”

Who remembers Bruce Pardo who dressed as Santa in order to shoot and kill his ex-wife and her family in Covina, California a few weeks earlier on Christmas Eve? Pardo had five semi-automatic handguns and two shotguns. Both Pardo and McLendon were shining exemplars of the “right” to buy more than one weapon a month which the gun lobby strongly defends.


Then there was Terry Sedlacek who shot and killed a pastor through the Bible he held at a church service in Maryville, Illinois. During those few weeks, there were 50 plus funerals of gun victims.

When new gun legislation is introduced after mass shootings, the gun lobby says “let’s not legislate on the top of fresh graves.” Yet that is exactly what the gun lobby does. Three days after Sedlacek’s murder of Rev. Fred Winters of First Baptist Church in Maryville, a group of gun owners in yellow T-shirts gathered outside the Illinois Statehouse chanting “Concealed Carry Now.” Nice.

“We’re not just going to lay down and take this stuff,” bellowed Todd Vandermyde, an NRA lobbyist, about Illinois bills during the same legislative period that would limit who could buy and sell guns.” Gun owners are such victims!

In both cases the NRA got its wishes but there is evidence the guns-everywhere-all-the-time agenda of the gun lobby is fading. The profit party after Newtown is over. Last December, both Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. and Remington Outdoor Co. reported profits down and Cabela’s firearms and ammunition sales were down 50 percent. The number of homes with guns has fallen from half in 1977 to a third today. And only 18 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds own a gun, half of them supporting stricter gun laws.

How many died in 2014 from gun violence? The NRA hopes we forget.

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.

NRA Puppet of the Week- Jeb Bush

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Some may have forgotten that you signed the first Stand Your Ground law, removing the duty to retreat from confrontation before using deadly force which was imitated by 34 states. Now Wolfgang Halbig, a former Florida State Trooper who you appointed to the Florida school safety commission has come out as a Sandy Hook “truther.” The whole massacre was staged and a hoax says Halbig in a vicious campaign. Good appointment!

Gun lover making dangerous laws, appointments and Presidential plans, you, JEB BUSH, are the NRA Puppet of the Week.

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.

See List of All NRA Puppets

Elliot Fineman's oped about Hallmark action appears on the Hill

Monday, June 16th, 2014

June 13, 2014, 10:30 am

A real Father’s Day present for your Dad—your safety


By Elliot Fineman


On Valentine’s Day 2012, National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC), a group I founded after my son was killed by a deranged shooter, launched an action against Starbucks called “Brew Not Bullets.” Starbucks had been sanctioning the open and concealed carry of firearms in their stores, a clear threat to the safety of Starbuck’s employees and patrons.

First, with a boycott of Starbucks, that company found out the hard way that when people from all walks of life join forces to protect their families, those who ignore our basic right to life will lose every time. Since then—due to our work and that of other great organizations advocating for gun safety—a number of other companies from Chipotle to Chili’s have followed suit.

In doing so, they’ve stood up to vocal “open carry” advocates, honoring not only the overwhelming sentiment of their customers, but the innocent lives taken in such spaces.  This includes that of my son—who was minding his own business having dinner with his wife in a San Diego restaurant when he was shot and killed by a mentally ill man who should never have had a gun.

Accordingly, the Newtown Victims & Clergy for Corporate Responsibility (NVCCR) and NGVAC decided to take the next step. We sent a letter to Hallmark Cards asking them to publicly support and proactively advocate for universal background checks.

Sadly, however, even though Hallmark says on its website it has “high standards of ethics and integrity,” and believes in “caring and responsible corporate citizenship for…each community in which we operate,” in response to our request, Hallmark Chairman Donald Hall, Jr. sang quite a different tune. He responded dismissively, refusing to meet with us, and saying, “We do not get involved in divisive issues.”

Sorry Mr. Hall, but that’s not going to cut it anymore.Hallmark bans guns in its corporate headquarters to protect its CEO and senior management, so why has the company deliberately chosen not to require Hallmark Gold Crown® stores to do the same? This would seem to send a message that the lives of Hallmark executives are more important than those of their customers, who buy their cards and pay their salaries.

Of course, no matter what Hall says, Hallmark clearly is involved in this divisive issue, because to not ban guns or support universal background checks is a pro-gun stance. Further, Hallmark takes strong stands on other issues and pays its eight lobbyists over $500,000 per year to try to pass laws related to postage, radio, television and taxes. One thinks they easily add gun safety to their portfolio, and what a difference they could make.

According to NGVAC’s analysis of a Johns Hopkins Center for GunPolicy and Research study of the rise in gun homicides when Missouri repealed its background check Universal background checks would reduce gun homicides by 2,000 lost lives per year,

Polling shows that 91 percent of Americans, including 74 percent of NRA members want universal background checks. Given these numbers, refusing to support universal background checks is not only a disgraceful moral abdication, but an incredibly ill-thought-out business decision.

To quote my friends, the Rev. Matthew Crebbin, Senior Pastor of Newtown Congregational Church and co-chair of NVCCR, and Rabbi Shaul Praver of the Newtown Synagogue,  “We can no longer let corporate America stand on the sidelines ignoring their ethical and moral responsibilities. We have seen where that gets us, with yet another slaughter of our children in Santa Barbara. By refusing to support universal background checks, Hallmark has turned its back on gun victims, as well as the American people.”

Over 5,000 fathers lose their lives to gun homicides each year, according to NGVAC’s analysis of CDC and FBI data. This figure does not include the number of fathers who have lost their children to gun violence, like myself, who can no longer celebrate another Father’s Day with their loved ones.

That’s why NVCCR and NGVAC are asking the public not to buy Hallmarkcards for Father’s Day. Instead we ask that you give a custom designed NGVAC Shattered Heart™ Father’s Day card, which can be downloaded free or sent electronically.

The truth is, if corporations were willing to get behind our families’ right to public safety, something 9 out of every 10 of their customers supports, we would have universal background checks tomorrow. Hallmark could have been a leader on this issue, but instead Mr. Hall’ chosen to be on the wrong side of history.

But he can’t hide behind a talking point. His customers understand that our lives are more important than his platitudes.

Fineman is CEO and president of National Gun Victims Action Council.



The NRA is a Lot Like the Criminals It Arms

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013


Like Colin Ferguson who killed six and injured 19 on a Long Island commuter train in 1993, the NRA likes to pretend it’s the good guy and “another guy” did the bad stuff.

“Did you see the suspect?” Colin Ferguson asked Donald Daley, the Nassau County homicide detective who personally questioned him after the massacre, at a hearing a year later. “Yes, I saw you,” replied the detective to Ferguson’s delusional question. “We put you in the interview room and you said your name was Colin Ferguson.”

“Are you able to assist the jury in any way in identifying the man who shot you?” Ferguson asked Kevin McCarthy a month later in the same vein, while serving as his own attorney during the trial. McCarthy was shot in the head and his father killed during the Long Island Rail Road massacre.

The NRA hates the “bad guys” but also arms them. A quarter of gun manufacturers’ yearly sales are to criminals according to a 1999 NAACP lawsuit. It has actually barred the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from putting gun sales records into a central database to catch the bad guys. Yet the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre said, “So, we’re going to make all those law-abiding people go through the system, and then we aren’t going to prosecute any of the bad guys if they do catch one,” on Capitol Hill this week with a straight face.

The NRA hates “bad guys” but helps them get their weapons back after revocation for criminal convictions, domestic battery and mental incapacitation; in Illinois 4,000 gun owners with revoked rights still have their weapons and 90 percent of mental health records are missing from the FBI database.

The NRA deplores crooked gun dealers but pushed through a provision in the Firearm Owners Protection Act that prohibits more than one unannounced inspection a year by ATF. It’s also pushed through laws to make it difficult to revoke dealers’ licenses and to identify dealers who falsify sales records. The NRA points to Chicago’s gun homicide rate as proof that “gun laws don’t work” while supporting operations like Chuck’s Gun Shop, on the outskirts of Chicago, where 1,300 weapons seized by police on the streets over the last four years were purchased.

The NRA says it’s a “civil rights” organization defending the “human right” of self-defense and protecting defenseless women but maintains an enemies list that includes doctors, nurses, teachers, poets, musicians and people of faith. It calls 200-pound gun owners the real victims after school massacres because their Second Amendment rights are under attack.

Finally, the NRA condemns delusional criminals like Colin Ferguson, James Holmes, Jared Loughner, Wade Page and Seung-Hui Cho but stands by the background checks the mass shooters sailed through. Mass shootings double and triple gun sales–everyone knows that. Can you identify the organization that arms these bad guys? END