Posts Tagged ‘Second Amendment’

The Gun Lobby Is Okay with A Few Police Officer Deaths to Protect “Gun Rights”

Thursday, July 14th, 2016


After Miami police officer Jose Somohano was killed and three others wounded in 2007 with a high-power, assault style rifle, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, a former police officer and police director said, “There’s absolutely no reason I can see having these weapons out on the street.” The International Association of Chiefs of Police agreed and urged Congress to pass “an effective assault weapons ban,” condemning the “firepower available to criminals.”


Two years later in Oakland, four police officers were killed with high-power, assault weapons and, in Pittsburgh, three officers were killed and two injured with such weapons. Both the Pittsburgh murderer and this month’s Dallas murderer were legal gun owners whose “rights,” including the right to high-power weapons, the NRA defends.


Why is the NRA okay with assault weapons, armor-piercing bullets and high capacity magazines even when our law enforcement officers are sniped, ambushed and assaulted?






The reason, according to Joshua Holland writing in the Nation, is the insurgency interpretation of the Second Amendment “holds that Americans must have the right to own military-style weapons because a heavily armed populace is the last bulwark against a tyrannical government running amok.” Without civilian owned military-style weapons, goes the thinking, we could turn into tyrannies like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the 24 countries of the E.U.


“The whole point of firearm ownership is that it allows civilians to fight against agents of the government, be they law enforcement officers or members of the American military, should a situation arise when the government grossly violates the rights of American citizens,” says a gun advocate Holland quotes–in a chilling replication of the exact thinking behind the Dallas murders.


How can the gun lobby claim patriotism while hating the government asked veteran newsman Bill Moyers this week. “On the one hand, its supporters are mostly conservatives who believe in law and order, the kind of folks who value social and familial hierarchy and respect for authority. On the other hand, the group preaches contempt for government — and police are the spear point of government authority.”


After the shooting of four Miami police officers in 2007, the Washington Post noted that since the 2004 expiration of the federal assault weapons ban “the guns, once found solely in the hands of soldiers, are aimed at officers on patrol,” and that “already 12 of the 60 homicides have involved the high-power guns.” John Rivera, president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association at the time, said police did not even have a “fighting chance” against such weapons.


Since then, things have only gotten worse. In Dallas, the murderer’s weapons were so powerful, it looked at first like there were multiple snipers. The police, the “good guys with guns,” had to use a bomb to stop him. The NRA was strangely silent about the murderer with his legally bought guns.

Why Are Corporations Silent on Gun Violence? Get Ready for Our New Campaign

Friday, January 15th, 2016

January 15, 2016

Light a cigarette in any US business and you will be asked to put it out and possibly leave. Since secondhand smoke, SHS, (also known as “involuntary smoking”) was exposed as having no safe level and being linked to cancers of the larynx, pharynx, brain, bladder, rectum, stomach, breast and liver, you can smoke exactly nowhere. (more…)

Who Needs Gun Laws? Our Top Editorial Graphics in April

Monday, May 4th, 2015

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National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC) is a non-profit network of 14 million gun victims, survivors, the faith community and ordinary people leveraging their buying power to change America’s gun laws. NGVAC initiated the successful action that caused Starbucks to change its gun policy. NGVAC pursues novel legal strategies to reduce gun violence and encourages corporations to be proactively involved in advocating for sane gun laws. NGVAC can be found at
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

Why Can't a “Law-Abiding Citizen" Carry Ricin?

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

ITGS_comp_screen BLACKWhy Can’t a “Law-Abiding Citizen” Carry Ricin?

By Elliot Fineman


Part of the IT’S THE GUNS, STUPID Series

“Law-abiding” citizens have the right to carry guns to defend themselves” is the meme that drives our gun laws. Relying on this meme, laws have been passed that allow concealed and open-carried guns in public places ranging from restaurants, bars and movies, to churches and offices. Georgia’s “Guns Everywhere” law is the most extreme law a state has ever passed, ironically after one of the nation’s biggest gun violence incidents, at Sandy Hook elementary school in late 2012.

Here in Illinois, Circuit Judge Richard Posner cited the rights of law-abiding citizens to self-defense in overturning Illinois’ ban on concealed weapons–yet the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision never mentions the individual’s right to carry a gun for self-defense–only to have it in the home. Nor does the Second Amendment mention “self-defense” or even “firearms.” Clearly, judges themselves have bought the “meme.”

The insanity of our guns laws is demonstrated by a conversation I had with someone after a talk I gave who did not agree that we need better gun laws. I asked him if he were familiar with ricin, a substance that is so poisonous that a dose the size of a few grains of table salt can kill an adult human. He said yes he was.

Well, I said, I am a law-abiding citizen and under the Second Amendment I have the right to carry ricin to defend myself and my family. The Second Amendment doesn’t say anything about guns or firearms–it just mentions “arms” and, according to the United Nations, there are at least 33 different types of arms. What do you think about me carrying ricin for self-defense, I asked.

The gun advocate said he did not feel too good about it because it was “pretty dangerous and you could kill a lot of people.”

In point of fact, in the U.S., ricin is so controlled that scientists must register with Health and Human Services before they can possess it to use for their research. A Mississippi man was recently sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for mailing ricin-tainted letters. Would anyone in the U.S. tolerate “law-abiding citizens” carrying ricin–even if there were a lucrative ricin lobby pushing universal ricin carrying like there is for guns? Would anyone tolerate citizens carrying ricin if it were responsible for 30,000 U.S. deaths a year?

I often end my talks about the need for sane gun laws in the U.S. by saying there is one country where the government imposes no gun regulations. People can have all the weapons they want and take them anywhere whether they are criminals, mentally ill, have vendettas, have no training or are children. The government never gets in the way of their “gun rights” or imposes gun laws or restrictions. That country is Somalia.


NGVAC’s 90 minute, bi-monthly radio show, IT’S THE GUNS, STUPID, airs every other Thursday at 6 PM Eastern Time on 1480 WPWC in Washington, D.C., an AM station that also covers northern Virginia and southern Maryland and reaches nearly 600,000 social media members. The show may be viewed live on the YouTube We Act Radio channel and heard on (“Listen Live”), and on Androids or IOS smartphones (TuneIn>Search>”We Act Radio”). Highlights of the show, the complete show and previous shows are posted on the NGVAC website.

Why Is the Illinois Rifle Association Afraid of a Live Test of Gun Self-Defense With Mutually Agreed Upon Terms?

Monday, March 24th, 2014

The Test Will Cost Them Nothing If They Win


by Elliot Fineman


National Gun Victims Action Council

It's the Guns STUPID!

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For two years I have challenged the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) to a live test to confirm whether carrying a gun in public provides self-defense. The terms of the test would be mutually agreed upon and it would cost ISRA no money if it wins. Yet there has been no response! Not even a thanks but no thanks!

Needless to say, the “self-defense” that is provided by carrying a gun in public is a basic tenet of the laws that ISRA and other gun groups advocate. Yet it refuses to put its money where its mouth is. Could it be it knows it will lose?

How would the challenge work? NGVAC would ask gun carriers to submit scenarios of how they think carrying a gun outside of their home–whether in a purse or a holster–would protect them from armed assailants. The exact scenarios would then be recreated at police training facilities that simulate crime situations, if possible and if ISRA agrees. The gun carriers would represent a cross-section from those with no training (who are allowed to carry in some states) to those who go to the range several times a week to maintain their skills. NGVAC and ISRA would agree upon the carriers and the scenarios.

To fund the test, both NGVAC and ISRA would post $50,000 earnest money, which would be returned to the winner. If the test costs less than the money raised, the winner would also keep the remaining funds.

Why would ISRA refuse this challenge which will cost it nothing if it wins and perhaps make it money? This challenge would inspire more people to seek concealed carry permits, convert gun skeptics including lawmakers, sell guns for manufacturers and substantiate concealed carry laws! There is only one reason. ISRA knows it will lose.

Richard Pearson, head of ISRA, and other gun advocates love to share stories of criminals stopped mid-crime because someone had a gun. But, like the “big fish that got away,” there’s seldom evidence that the events really happened like police reports or crime records. Worse, the criminals are allowed to walk away and presumably attack someone else.

When ABC’s 20/20 with Diane Sawyer tested gun self-defense in a 2009 special called “If I Only Had A Gun”–the only test we are aware of–carriers failed miserably at defending themselves and others. Gun advocates cried “no fair” because the gun carriers lacked enough “training”–literally admitting that carrying only works with sufficient training. We at NGVAC vehemently disagree. Training or no training, carrying a gun does not provide self-defense. Why? Because the element of surprise always defeats the gun carrier.

Now gun advocates and ISRA have a chance to prove that carrying a gun in public provides self-defense which is the basis of all concealed carry laws. It won’t take the challenge. Why not?

Does Carrying a Concealed Weapon Really Offer Self-Defense? Richard Pearson, Head of Illinois State Rifle Association, Refuses Our $50,000 Challenge to Find Out

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

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Pearson Also Won’t Appear on National Gun Victims’ “IT’S THE GUNS, STUPID” Radio Show.

By Elliot Fineman, CEO of National Gun Victims Action Council

Richard Pearson is Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA). Pearson is full of anecdotes about how he and other pro-gunners stopped criminals mid-crime because they were armed. Yet Pearson is the typical NRA bully/coward who suddenly goes mute when given a chance to debate someone who actually knows the facts and truths about gun violence and could expose his misinformation. That is why he declined our invitation to appear on “IT’S THE GUNS, STUPID” NGVAC’s bimonthly hour-long radio show originating from Washington D.C. on WPWC 1480 AM.

Even more cowardly, Pearson has refused to accept a $50,000 matching challenge from National Gun Victims Action Council to answer the question, Does carrying a gun in public offer self-defense? If carrying a gun actually kept someone safe, no police officers would ever be killed. Tragically that is not the case because the element of surprise always defeats the gun carrier. There are countless other examples including Chris Kyle, a.k.a. the American Sniper, falling due to the element of surprise.

In 2009, Diane Sawyer and ABC’s 20/20 news show tested whether the presence of guns actually kept a classroom safe and found it didn’t. At the time, the pro-gun community whined and shouted that the experiment “wasn’t fair.” Yet when offered a chance to test gun self-defense again, the Illinois State Rifle Association runs the other way. If ISRA doesn’t want to chip in $50,000 to match NGVAC’s contribution, to design an experiment both sides agree will prove the premise that carrying a gun offers self-defense once and for all, it is an admission that they know it doesn’t. They won’t come to the table, but their myth that carrying a gun in public provides self-defense sure sells a lot of guns and justifies a lot of insane gun laws.

Pearson “talks the talk” but when asked to “walk the walk” by appearing on our “IT’S THE GUNS, STUPID” radio show he is nowhere to be found.

Misguided, Uninformed Illinois Judges’ Gun Rulings Will Cost Lives by Elliot Fineman

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Three days before the Newtown massacre, on December 11, 2012, a federal appeals court in Chicago declared Illinois’ ban on concealed firearms unconstitutional. Last month, a federal judge ruled Chicago’s ban on gun retailers within the city also unconstitutional. Both rulings bastardize case law: the Second Amendment says nothing about “firearms” or “self-defense” and the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision only affirms the individual’s right to keep a firearm in the home for self-defense. Neither address an individual’s right to carry a firearm outside the home in self-defense as both judges erroneously state.

There’s another concept not found in the Second Amendment that both Circuit Judge Richard Posner in his 2012 decision and Judge Chang last month bandy around in their decisions–“law-abiding citizen.” Judge Posner’s reference to “law-abiding” adults and Judge Chang’s reference to “lawful” purchases and sales legitimize the gun lobby’s slick fiction of two kinds of people–“law-abiding” and criminal–on which most gun regulation is based. According to the gun lobby, criminals won’t follow laws and law-abiding people don’t need them because they always do the right thing in every situation. By this logic, law-abiding drivers do not need red lights, stop signs, speed limits or laws against driving drunk because they would always drive in a safe and responsible manner.

The truth is most of our nation’s high profile gun massacres (Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson, Washington’s Navy Yard) were perpetrated by “law-abiding” citizens. And “lawful” gun dealers like Chuck’s Gun Shop in Riverdale, near Chicago, flood the criminal market thanks to NRA-driven laws that say they don’t have to keep track of their inventory and “lost guns”–which is the main way criminal and trafficker sales take place. More than 1,300 crime guns have been traced to Chuck’s since 2008. And thanks to last month’s ruling, Chuck can now open a store in Chicago and be closer to his criminal and trafficker customers. “Lawful” gun dealers like Chuck’s also enjoy immunity from crimes committed with their products thanks to NRA-driven laws.

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There is another gun lobby “truism” that is not found in the Second Amendment–that there’s a “right” for everyone to be armed at all times, wherever they go, for self-defense. This overlooks the reality that carrying a gun in public does not provide self-defense. President Reagan was surrounded by Secret Service and local police all of whom were armed and looking for assailants yet a would-be assassin with a $45 handgun was able to shoot all six of its bullets and hit four people. If carrying a gun offered self-defense, no police officers would be killed. Unlike the new generation of gung-ho carriers, police receive constant training. And why was Chris Kyle, arguably the best shot in the US, murdered last year on a firing range? The element of surprise always defeats the person carrying a gun for self-defense.

Finally, the judges inaccurately state that there’s no evidence that more guns in society, whether through increased sales or increased places to carry, add to the public danger. Actually there is a wealth of evidence of the harm starting with the 526 people and 14 law enforcement officers who have been killed by concealed carriers since 2007, according to in-depth studies by the Violence Policy Center (VPC) and additional studies cited by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

But true gun death and injury statistics reported remain unknown thanks to gun lobby-driven defunding of government research and state and local laws which prohibit the public from knowing which of their neighbors keep guns, are concealed carriers or even which mass shooters were legal carriers, like Jared Loughner who shot Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords.

In ruling in favor of the Second Amendment Foundation last year and the Illinois Association of Firearm Retailers last month, Judges Posner and Chang take away the fundamental right of Illinois citizens to walk the streets and inhabit public spaces in peace, without fear of gun violence. These rulings misinterpret the Second Amendment to make money for gun manufacturers and will only increase Chicago’s bloodshed. We as citizens paying their salaries deserve to be protected from such uninformed decisions that put us and our loved ones at increased risk every day. Minimally, the judges should be required to attend training so that they understand the actual facts before making misguided and dangerous rulings.

Elliot Fineman is President and Chief Executive Officer of National Gun Victims Action Council.

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From President Reagan to Chris Kyle, There Is No Safety in Being Armed–Why Does The Myth Persist?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

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If being armed made you safe, no law enforcement officer would ever get killed. President Reagan would not have been shot and Chris Kyle, arguably the best shot in  America, would have not been killed.

Rather than a High Noon, duel like scenario in which the armed opponent approaches from two blocks away, the violence that befalls law enforcement officers and befell Kyle and President Reagan is unexpected and cannot be defended against.
Of course gun extremists always have an answer for why armed good guys did not come to the rescue and prevent bloodshed. There was an armed guard at Columbine but he was out to lunch. Virginia Tech had an armed SWAT team but they didn’t get there in time. Ditto for the trained and armed personnel at Fort Hood who did not get to the room when Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was shooting in time.
To find out why armed good guys always seem to have the sun in their eyes when it comes to protecting themselves and others, ABC News set up some test scenarios in 2009 in an expose called, “If I Only Had A Gun.” To determine once and for all whether an armed person in the room can prevent bloodshed, ABC News planted gun carriers, some with 100 hours of training, in a lecture hall and told them an armed intruder would soon burst in. It was an embarrassment. The gun carriers failed to stop the gunman and he also would likely have used their weapons against them. Even being armed, ready and forewarned wasn’t enough for the carriers to defend themselves and others. Oops.

Clearly the element of surprise trumps the proximity of skilled and trained marksmen when it comes to gun violence. Why else would President Reagan have been shot when surrounded by guards trained for that exact event? Why would Chris Kyle have been shot while he was himself shooting at a range?
The myth of armed good guys preventing violence is as tenacious as the myth of a firearm providing safety at home when it is more likely to cause homicide, suicide and accidents within the family.
Worse,  all those armed good guys put society in general at risk. In a real incident, the self proclaimed Rambos will likely hit themselves and innocent bystanders if they even get a shot out.
And there is another danger of the good guys with guns myth. The myth that they can defeat bad guys keeps the focus off straw buyers and crooked gun dealers who arm the bad guys and who the gun lobby supports with friendly and toothless laws. (Hey, sales are sales.) 1,300 firearms seized on Chicago streets were traced to one dealer, Chuck’s Gun Shop, since 2008. Clearly we need good laws not good “guys.”