Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Secure Firearms Ownership

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Jimmy Kimmel has done it again. The comedian, who is seemingly becoming the conscience of America, has used his late night show to make a powerful statement in support of sensible gun responsibility laws that are needed to stop the horrible epidemic of violence gripping our country, only days after playing a pivotal role in rallying the country in opposition to the Graham-Cassidy iteration of Trumpcare.

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Eight ideas to protect our communities from gun violence

“The gun lobby will say that this isn’t a time for politics,” says columnist Nicholas Kristof. “But if we can’t learn the lesson from this carnage, then there will be more such shootings — again and again. This is a particularly American tragedy and completely unnecessary. So let’s mourn. But even more important, let’s act.”

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Gabrielle Giffords: Orlando and Jo Cox’s death show the horrors of gun violence

“We must change our gun laws to protect the living as we recommit ourselves to addressing the hatefulness that exists in our country,” writes former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords.

Quotation

I’m going to remain on this floor until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together on these two measures, that we can get a path forward on addressing this epidemic in a meaningful, bipartisan way.

— U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut (via Politico)

Aside

“Thoughts and prayers” aren’t enough

In the wake of tragedies like the horrific mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, it’s common for elected leaders, celebrities, and other public figures to issue statements saying that their “thoughts and prayers” are with the victims. But “thoughts and prayers” are not enough. As Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement released by the White House a few minutes ago:

Jill and I offer our prayers and deepest condolences for all those affected by today’s horrific events. But our prayers are not enough to end these kinds of senseless mass shootings. The violence is not normal, and the targeting of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans is evil and abhorrent.

We agree with Vice President Biden. We should feel empathy for all affected by the tragedy. But we also bear responsibility to each other and to those who come after us to act to prevent more tragedies like this. Swift action is needed on the part of local, state, and federal leaders to save lives and protect communities.

Other countries have responded to mass shootings by passing stronger gun safety laws, and have seen a decrease in such attacks. We have not, partly because America is home to a powerful gun lobby that is opposed to any attempt to restrict the sale or use of weapons designed to kill large numbers of people.

A few states, notably Massachusetts, California, New York, and Connecticut, have answered the call for stronger gun safety laws, but most states have gone in the other direction since Newtown, creating a patchwork of laws with a lot of weak links. Washington and Oregon have significantly strengthened universal background checks with Initiative 594 and Senate Bill 941, respectively.

But there is much, much more we can do.

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility is working to qualify Initiative 1491 to this November’s ballot. It would allow judges in Washington to issue extreme risk protection orders temporarily barring persons who are a danger to themselves or others from acquiring firearms. The Alliance must collect 300,000+ signatures by July 8th to qualify I-1491 to the ballot. We urge all those who want to create a safer Washington to join in the effort to pass much-needed laws like I-1491.

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Law enforcement upset with right wing over its attempts to allow and encourage people to carry guns everywhere

“In more than a dozen states with long traditions of robust support for gun ownership rights, and where legislatures have moved to relax gun laws during the past year, the local police have become increasingly vocal in denouncing the measures. They say the new laws expose officers to greater danger and prevent them from doing their jobs effectively,” The New York Times reports.

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In this must-watch clip uploaded by Comedy Central, The Daily Show’s Jordan Klepper completely debunks NRA’s “good guy with a gun” talking point.

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It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection.

The New York Times: End the gun epidemic in America

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The NRA will fall. It’s inevitable.

“Look at the demographics,” writes Adam Winkler, theorizing that there will soon come a time when the NRA’s power weakens. “[T]he heart of the organization’s power is the voters it can turn out to vote, and they are likely to decline in number. Unless the organization begins to soften its no-compromises stance on gun safety legislation, it’s likely to become increasingly marginalized in a changing America.”

 

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Awful: People are getting shot by toddlers on a weekly basis this year

The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham has come to an incredibly disturbing conclusion after sifting through news reports about little kids getting their hands on guns. “The stories go on and on like this,” he writes. “Roughly once a week this year, on average, a small child has found a gun, pointed it at himself or someone else, and pulled the trigger.”

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The five extra words that can fix the Second Amendment

Writing for The Washington Post, Justice John Paul Stevens explains why it would make case to change the Second Amendment to read, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”

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The myth behind buying guns for self defense

Writing for Politico, Evan DeFilippis and Devin Hughes explain that guns are more likely to do harm than good.

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This afternoon, President Obama took to the podium of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room to speak in response to today’s mass shooting at Umpqua Community College near Rosenburg, Oregon. The President decried Congress’ failure to address gun violence in stark, blunt terms.

Partial transcript:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America. So how can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer?

We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths. So the notion that gun laws don’t work, or just will make it harder for law-abiding citizens and criminals will still get their guns is not borne out by the evidence.

We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings. Friends of ours, allies of ours — Great Britain, Australia, countries like ours. So we know there are ways to prevent it.

And, of course, what’s also routine is that somebody, somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue.

Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.

I would ask news organizations — because I won’t put these facts forward — have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports.

This won’t be information coming from me; it will be coming from you. We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?

Well said, Mr. President.

Quotation

And I know the NRA, I know what their position is going to be. I can hear it now. They’re going to say, ‘Oh, gee, well, if they were carrying, this never would’ve happened.’ Well, I got news for you: If Alison or Adam had been carrying an AK-47 strapped around their waist, it wouldn’t have made any difference. They couldn’t have seen this thing coming. I don’t want to hear that argument from the NRA — and you know that’s going to happen.

— Andy Parker, the father of murdered journalist Alison Parker, blasting the extremist right wing National Rifle Association after vowing to make the enactment of sensible gun laws his new mission in life (via ThinkProgress).

Quotation

As we reflect with heavy hearts on this tragedy, it is appropriate to begin to ask questions about how we can prevent these senseless events in the future. Keeping guns out of the hands of people who would use them to harm our family, friends and loved ones is not a political issue; it is a matter of ensuring that more people can come home safely at the end of the day. We cannot rest until we have done whatever it takes to rid our society of preventable gun violence that results in tragedies like the one we are enduring today

— Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s statement on the conclusion of the search for Smith Mountain Lake shooting suspect, who had earlier murdered WDBJ7 journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward.

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It should not be normal in this country that people are shot and killed while doing their job, or studying in class, or watching a movie. Leaders in the Commonwealth and in our country can no longer sit idly by while more Americans are gunned down. It is time that they act to protect Americans and do more to keep guns out of dangerous hands. We deserve better.

— Colin Goddard, Virginia Tech shooting survivor and Senior Policy Advocate for Everytown for Gun Safety, condemning today’s on-air murder of WDBJ7 journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward on behalf of Everytown and Moms Demand Action.

Quotation

This is the M.O. of this administration… Anytime there is an accident like this, the president is clear: He doesn’t like for Americans to have guns, and so he uses every opportunity, this being another one, to basically go parrot that message.

— Former Texas governor Rick Perry, calling the hate crime in Charleston an “accident” while attempting to slam President Obama for advocating for sensible gun laws. Freudian slip? (via The Hill) Emphasis is ours.

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Oregon Democrats plan to put their bigger legislative majorities to good use

Last year, the Oregon Democratic Party did something remarkable. In an election year that was rough for Democrats around the country, Oregon Democrats actually managed to pick up seats in the Legislature to increase their majorities. And now, with the Oregon state legislative session beginning, caucus leaders say they’re going to govern courageously and with purpose.

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Still more evidence that guns don’t make us safer: Toddler shoots, kills mom at Idaho Wal-Mart

A woman shopping at a Wal-Mart in Hayden, Idaho was killed today when one the children she had in tow with her (a two-year old) reached into her purse, pulled out her handgun, and fatally shot her. Other news reports indicate the woman had a concealed weapons permit for the firearm. Regardless, research has documented that gun ownership makes families less safe. The truth is, guns are more likely to be used against their owners than against some intruder or external threat.

Quotation

I’m just confused. All of these kids getting shot and killed. It doesn’t make any sense… It’s not like it was when we were kids.

— Shawn Zimmers, the aunt of one of the victims shot outside of Rosemary Anderson High School today in Portland, lamenting the latest in a series of tragedies caused by gun violence.

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Gun sales are significantly down after record year

Businessweek reports that sales of long guns, modern sporting rifles, and handguns all fell during the last twelve months. The magazine says that “overeager” gun manufacturers anticipated that demand would be much higher than it was.