Thursday, December 20, 2012

Changing the Gun Culture


President Obama spoke today about creating a task force headed by Joe Biden to figure out ways to stop gun violence.

Of course the President has the best of intentions, but with Congress out of session for the holidays, and the President's Inauguration early next year, the timeline for working out a plan will take until at least the end of January. Many are worried that it will take too long to get legislation going, or that the will of the people will dry up at the grassroots level, allowing the NRA to usurp the message after their press conference on Friday of this week.

But I don't think so - not this time. Things are happening all over the country that are fundamentally different in a way we've never seen before and people are taking action - Check it out:

New Jersey Has Record-Setting Gun Buyback
"A lot of people said they don't want the guns around the house now," said state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa as he announced the result of the program held Friday and Saturday at two Camden churches. The state brought in 1,137 guns, surpassing the previous record of 700 weapons from a 2009 Essex County event. Among them were scores of rifles, shotguns and pistols, sawed-off shotguns, a century-old antique weapon, a rifle used for hunting elephants and five fully automatic weapons. Some 90 percent were in working condition. Many were illegal weapons under state laws; some were so-called community guns stashed around neighborhood. Nearly all are to be destroyed.
. . . The state had $110,000 in cash to give to those who turned in guns, along with $6,000 in gift cards left over from a previous program.
"At 2 o'clock," he said, "we were out of money."

From Gawker:
Stephen Barton, one of the 58 movie-goers injured during the mass shooting in Aurora that claimed the lives of 12 people, appears in a new non-partisan PSA asking voters to demand a plan from both President Obama and his GOP rival Mitt Romney to curb gun violence.
"I was lucky," Barton, who was struck by 25 shotgun pellets, says as he sits inside an empty movie theater. "In the next four years, 48,000 Americans won't be so lucky because they'll be murdered with guns in the next president's term — enough to fill over 200 theaters."
The push for a "plan" is backed by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of 725 mayors called who have set up an online petition that has received over 250,000 signatures to date.

Danbury, CT, Gun Show Cancelled
The Danbury Gun & Knife Show scheduled for Jan. 5-6 has been canceled. The show’s promoter, Big Al’s Silver Bullet Productions, announced the cancellation on its website, as did Mayor Mark Boughton on Twitter.
The show was to include ”Premium Knives, Firearms, Gun Accessories, Ammo, Tactical Clothing, Hard-to-Find Items, Tactical Gear and more!”
A call to Big Al’s was picked up Tuesday afternoon by a person who responded, “No comment,” when asked why the gun show was canceled.

Florida Pawn Shop Owner Stops Selling Guns
“Dropped her (his daughter) off yesterday, saw the children, came to work prepared to display our firearms, and the first one I display is a Bushmaster AR-15," James said. "I said to myself, 'that’s it; I just can’t hang this on my wall.' ”
James said he is still a firm believer in the Second Amamendment. He’ll continue to carry a firearm, and he will have them in his home, but he can no longer fathom the possibility of a gun he sells end up in the wrong hands.
“It would have been devastating," he said. "I think of that scenario every day."
James and his daughter have tacked up green and white ribbons in place of the guns to honor the victims of the Connecticut shooting.
James said he’s not sure what he’s going to do with all of the guns, and since gun sales were such a large part of his business, he will have to make some changes in order to keep the store open.

Private Equity Firm Cerberus Sells Bushmaster Gun Stake
Calling the deadly assault "tragic and devastating," private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management said Tuesday that it will sell its 95% stake in Freedom Group Inc., which makes the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that police said was used in the attack.
The massacre was a "watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level," Cerberus said.
. . . The California State Teachers' Retirement System said Monday that it would review its holdings in Cerberus in early January because of its link with Bushmaster. Through its investment in Cerberus, CalSTRS owns 2.4% of Freedom Group.

Dick's Sporting Goods Pulls Guns from Shelves
Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc., the largest U.S. sporting-goods chain, suspended sales of modern sporting rifles nationwide in the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, as the massacre’s victims are mourned.
Sales of all guns have been stopped at its store closest to the shooting, the Coraopolis, Pennsylvania-based company said today in an e-mailed statement.
. . . “We are extremely saddened by the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week,” the company said in the statement. Dick’s is removing the guns “out of respect for the victims and their families.”

Coach Pat Kelsey Demands Action on Guns
The last thing I want to say is I'm really, really lucky, because I'm going to get on an eight-hour bus ride, and I'm going to arrive in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and I'm going to walk into my house, and I'm going to walk upstairs, and I'm going to walk into two pink rooms with a 5-year-old and a 4-year-old laying in that pink room, with a bunch of teddy bears laying in that room," he said, concluding his remarks in the wake of a 65-55 loss at No. 7 Ohio State.
"And I'm going to give them the biggest hug and the biggest kiss I've ever given them. And there's 20 families in Newtown, Conn., that are walking into a pink room with a bunch of teddy bears with nobody laying in those beds. And it's tragic."

. . . "I know this microphone's powerful right now, because we're playing the (seventh)-best team in the country," he said. "I'm not going to have a microphone like this the rest of the year, maybe the rest of my life."
"I don't know what needs to be done. I'm not smart enough to know what needs to be done, OK?" he said. "I know this country's got issues. Is it a gun issue? Is it a mental illness issue? Or is it a society that has lost the fact, the understanding, that decent human values are important?"
Kelsey called on political leaders to get past petty differences and accomplish something.
"I didn't vote for President Obama. But you know what? He's my president now. He's my leader. I need him to step up," he said. "Mr. (John) Boehner, the Speaker of the House ... OK, he needs to step up."
"Parents, teachers, rabbis, priests, coaches — everybody needs to step up. This has to be a time for change," he said. "And I'm going to be an agent of change with the 13 young men I get to coach every day and the two little girls that I get to raise. But hopefully things start changing, because it's really, really disappointing."
His voice rising, and with his eyes welling, he finished by saying, "I'm proud to grow up American. I'm proud to say I'm part of the greatest country ever. And that's got to stay that way. And it'll stay that way if we change.
"But we've got to change."

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