May 7-11, 2018
Vote Them Out
Voters are ready to sweep out gun lobby champions and bring in gun safety champions with the courage to pass laws that keep guns out of dangerous hands. This November, it is crucial that we as a nation elect leaders who possess the courage to fight for gun safety.
Giffords announced our endorsement of 11 gun safety candidates this week. These champions are committed to fighting for stronger gun laws and have proven they have the courage to stand up to the gun lobby. They join a growing list of champions supported by Giffords in 2018.
Giffords also released the next round of priority races in their #VoteThemOut campaign, part of their 2018 political program focused on defeating politicians who, for years, have refused to pass any gun violence prevention legislation.
LEADING THE NEWS
We are Republican, Democratic and independent. We come from the East, South, Midwest and West. We are conservative, progressive and liberal. We are men and women. We include eight members of the Circle of Chiefs, the highest conservation honor of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. We are all different in many ways, but we have important commonalities. We are Americans; we are gun owners; we are hunters; and we support responsible firearm regulation.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy named a long-time state government insider as his gun-safety adviser. The Democratic governor said that Bill Castner will serve as senior adviser on firearms. Murphy made the announcement Monday alongside former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly and one-time Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Castner is a former chief counsel to former Gov. Jon Corzine and previously served as the top aide to the Democrat-led Assembly.
Gary Slutkin, an epidemiologist, has spent his life treating contagious diseases: cholera, tuberculosis, H.I.V. — and for the last 23 years, violence. Yes, violence. A disease is a condition with identifiable symptoms that causes sickness or death. That describes violence. And we know it spreads itself. There is overwhelming evidence that hurt people hurt other people. Children who grow up in poverty and misery do not commit violence — unless they experienced it. If they were chronically exposed to violence as a child, they are more than 31 times more likely than other people to behave violently themselves.
With a few clicks of the keyboard and a credit card, an untraceable 80 percent built gun could be yours. It’s known as a ghost gun. Not-quite-finished guns are sold all over the internet — including websites like ghostguns.com. That’s a problem, says J. Adam Skaggs with The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “Right now, somebody who would go to a gun store and try to buy a gun and fail a background check can just go online and with the click of a mouse, can make themselves a handgun or assault rifle,” Skaggs said.
Shareholders stood with a group of nuns challenging Sturm Ruger — one of the largest firearms makers in the country — in demanding on Wednesday that the company detail its plans to monitor violence associated with their guns and develop safer products. At the company’s annual meeting, investors approved a proposal from a coalition of religious women and health care networks that Ruger had for weeks urged investors to reject. The vote came at the first gathering of shareholders for a publicly held American gun maker since 17 people died in a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., in February — an attack that led to boycotts and rallies for gun control.
New data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that America saw a 28 percent uptick in gun violence in 2016 from the year before, in a developing trend that has seen tens of thousands more shootings a year. The new data released shows that 155,000 people were shot in 2016, a 28 percent increase from the gun deaths seen in 2015. That amounts to 34,000 more incidents of gun violence than seen in 2015, and 40,000 more gun violence incidents than in 2014.
Bank of America Corp.’s pledge to stop lending to firearms manufacturers isn’t enough for gun-control activists, who have turned on one of the only two U.S. banks to announce gun-related restrictions. At issue is the $43 million loan Bank of America is providing to help Remington Outdoor Co. exit bankruptcy court. The bank had pledged to stop lending to companies that make assault-style rifles for civilian use—at least in future transactions. But the financial arrangement with Remington predates the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida that left 17 dead.
Gavin Newsom’s campaign on Monday released a television ad that focuses on gun control and features former Rep. Gabby Giffords, the survivor of an assassination attempt, and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly. It’s the first time the couple, who became notable gun-control advocates after the mass shooting in which Giffords was shot in the head, have appeared in a television ad this election cycle. “Our country is at a crossroads,” Kelly says in the 30-second ad, which shows footage of young people protesting after the deadly shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school. “Our children are demanding we stop America’s gun violence epidemic.”
Under the Radar
Chicago, which had more murders in the last two years than any American city, may finally be bringing the violence under control. Promising crime statistics have been rolling in, sparking hope that the worst may be over — despite occasional spasms of shootings like one last weekend in which more than 40 people were shot, including a federal agent assigned to a gun violence task force. Homicides and shootings have declined for 14 consecutive months in Chicago, and were down by about 20 percent through the first week of May, according to police statistics. The reductions in the city’s South Side — where economic isolation and gang activity has driven runaway crime rates — are even more dramatic.
NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly speaks with prominent gun-right advocate Marion Hammer about her work defending the National Rifle Association — an organization that she was formerly president of — in light of recent protests over gun violence.
Data and Reports
American Psychiatric Association: Americans Overwhelmingly See Gun Violence as a Public Health Issue; They Want Congress to Act and CDC to Conduct Research
- 87 percent of Americans see gun violence as a public health threat, including 77 percent of Republicans and 96 percent of Democrats.
- 85 percent believe Congress should do more to address the issue of mass shootings.
- 70 percent of Americans believe lack of access to mental health services is seen as a contributing factor to mass shooting violence.
Kids Forward (Wisconsin): Lives Cut Too Short: Kids Killed by Guns and Our Failure to Protect Them
- Between 1999 and 2016, 461 children in Wisconsin were killed with guns.
- The number of children killed with guns in Wisconsin in 2016 reached the highest number since 2003 at 33.
- Homicides made up just under half the child deaths from firearms between 1999 and 2016, or 48% of the total. Another 45% of the deaths in Wisconsin were suicide. Accidental deaths from guns made up six percent of the total, or 29 child deaths. Other deaths, which include deaths caused by law enforcement and deaths for which the cause is unknown, make up the remainder.
New Jersey: Phil Murphy just made another move to fight gun violence in N.J. (and Gabby Giffords was there)
Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday continued his aggressive push for more gun control in New Jersey — and this move got the personal support of Gabby Giffords. Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who became gun control advocate after surviving an assassination attempt in 2012, and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, were in Trenton as Murphy named Bill Castner, a health-care executive and state government veteran, as a special adviser to the governor on firearms. “We hope that in having a single point of confluence for all of our gun-safety efforts, we will be a model for our nation on smart policy and smarter programs,” Murphy, a Democrat, said during a news event outside his office to introduce Castner.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has announced a $1.5 million grant program aimed at reducing gun violence around the state. Wolf unveiled the Gun Violence Reduction Initiative in Philadelphia on Tuesday at the Carl Moore Center. It’s a state-of-the-art health care facility in the Grays Ferry section, where patients are treated regardless of whether they can pay.
One of the largest public pension funds in the nation voted Wednesday to use its financial might to pressure gun retailers across the country to stop selling military-style assault weapons and accessories like rapid-fire “bump stocks” used at the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting. The $222.5 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System said it will try to unseat board members at companies that resist and could dump their stock if they still refuse to conform to laws already in effect in California.
Democrats in the State Senate today led passage of critical public safety legislation banning bump stocks which can turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons. Bump stocks are devices that transform the firing mechanism of a semi-automatic weapon into a weapon that fires like a fully automatic weapon, and was used in the Las Vegas shooting, where the shooter was able to fire an estimated 90 shots in 10 seconds. They also make the weapon less accurate. “I believe that we don’t need bump stocks in our society. They are a huge threat to our children, parents, and the citizens of Connecticut,” said Sen. Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford). “I am so proud to stand with my fellow democrats and vote to ban bump stocks in Connecticut.”
TOP SOCIAL MEDIA
— March For Our Lives (@AMarch4OurLives) May 8, 2018
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 6, 2018
The NRA used to believe in reasonable gun laws to keep people safe. But today, NRA leaders speak more for the gun industry than they do for gun owners, and they do so at the expense of public safety. pic.twitter.com/Sgfyum0IQs
— Mark Kelly (@ShuttleCDRKelly) May 4, 2018
— Nadege Green (@NadegeGreen) May 9, 2018
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) May 7, 2018