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Gun-violenceIt may not meet the definition typically associated with the word these days, but there should be no mistake that “terrorism” came to Lumberton, North Carolina yesterday.

Amazingly, however, it barely made a ripple in the news cycle. Raleigh’s News & Observer devoted all of a 130 words in a few buried paragraphs from A.P. to the genuine horror:

A 3-year-old boy has died after accidentally shooting himself with a handgun he found behind the counter of his father’s Lumberton convenience store.

Police Capt. Terry Parker told local media outlets that officers were called to the store around 11 a.m. Sunday.

Parker said the boy was at the store with his father, Manal Abdelziz of Laurinburg. The boy’s name was not released.

Parker said the boy found the gun under the cash register. He said the father’s attention had been diverted momentarily.

The boy was taken to Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton where he was pronounced dead.

Parker said the Robeson County District Attorney’s Office will decide whether charges are filed. It is illegal to have an unsecured gun in the presence of a child.”

Now, just imagine what the news coverage would have looked like if the child had been killed by someone who met the usual definition of “terrorist” — especially a “foreign terrorist.” There would be people in the street demanding vengeance, missile attacks, strategic bombings and perhaps even a declaration of war.

But, of course, here’s the remarkable truth: Since the end of the September 11 attacks in 2001, roughly 400 Americans have been killed in “terrorist” attacks. (The number balloons, of course, to 3,400 or so if you include the 9-11 horrors.)

During that same period, the number of Americans killed by gun violence is well north of 400,000. That’s more than 133 September 11 attacks! There were 372 “mass shootings” and 64 school shootings in the U.S. in 2015 alone. Gun murders in the U.S. occur at 30 times the rate in the United Kingdom.

Talk about terror. If Osama bin Laden were alive today, he’d no doubt be smiling at these data and the fact that American gun manufacturers and their apologists are taking on so much of the task he had assigned to himself and his followers.

Commentary
Sen. Phil Berger

Sen. Phil Berger

It’s disappointing but not surprising that political opponents of President Obama reacted to his announcement yesterday that he wants to expand background checks to cover more gun purchases with pathetic and misleading soundbites.

Obama’s plan is a common sense idea that everyone from the NRA to House Speaker Paul Ryan used to support, not to mention 85 percent of Americans and 79 percent of Republicans.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger’s response was typical, calling Obama’s executive action on guns “an unconstitutional gun-grab.”

Gun grab seemed to be the soundbite the Right decided would be the most effective and dishonest way to describe a proposal that takes nobody’s gun away from them but merely makes it harder for some people to buy a gun who should not be able to own one.

The only thing more frustrating was that Berger and NC GOP Chief Dallas Woodhouse, who also employed the gun grab phrase, were not asked by any reporters what they meant. How exactly does making more people undergo background checks when they buy a weapon grab anybody’s gun?

It doesn’t make sense. But that’s the point of course. Anything Obama proposes is horrible in the Berger/Woodhouse world view and any proposal to enforce federal gun regulations must be demogogued to stoke the Republican base.

Too bad most of the media outlets let them get away with it.

Commentary

The good folks at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence reacted this morning to President Obama’s executive action on guns with words of praise:

“North Carolinians Against Gun Violence commends President Obama for his brave leadership and for remaining steadfast in his commitment to reducing gun violence. The Executive Action measures detailed in the “FACT SHEET: New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer” are broad and cover a wide range of key points including expanding background checks by clarifying which gun sellers must register as licensed gun dealers and thus perform background checks to help keep guns out of dangerous hands; making communities safer by increasing ATF action and work on keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers; and providing more funds for improving mental health treatment as well as making sure that appropriate mental health records are submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Polling shows that 90% of all Americans, including the majority of gun owners, want background checks on all gun sales. It is unconscionable that the Republican Congress has failed to act on this one important measure. We applaud the President for putting the safety of Americans above the will of special interest groups. The people have spoken and the President has done what he can to deliver. North Carolinians Against Gun Violence is committed to making sure such executive actions are implemented and is proud of our President for taking these actions.”

Meanwhile, the lead editorial in the New York Times, lauded the President for his “modest, limited set of executive actions” and the Charlotte Observer, while voicing unease that the President was forced to act without Congress, described expanding background checks as one of the “common sense things” that the nation must do.

Commentary, News

President Obama meets this afternoon with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to finalize a set of executive actions on gun control.

While specific details are expected to be released later in the week, it’s reported that one such action would require occasional dealers – such as those who sell firearms at gun shows – begin conducting background checks on potential buyers.

Congressman David Price told N.C.Policy Watch just before the holidays that the nation desperately need action on gun violence.

Price agrees with closing the so-called “gun show loophole” and also wants to lift the ban on federal funding for gun violence research.

“No one of these things would solve the whole issue, we know that….but surely we can do more, surely we  more.”

Click below to hear a portion of Rep. Price’s recent radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon.

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Thursday evening President Obama will host an 8:00 p.m. town hall on gun violence with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Commentary

Our good friends at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence will be holding a vigil this Thursday evening in Durham. Here the details:

This has been a long, tragic year.  In February, we were rocked by the killing of three young Muslim students at an apartment complex in Chapel Hill. Then in June, nine African-American worshipers were gunned down at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. October included two mass shootings at college campuses in Oregon and Arizona that left 11 people dead and 13 injured. And now the death of fourteen people in San Bernardino, CA, and three people in Colorado Springs, CO.  Enough.

Please join us for a candlelight vigil to honor and commemorate these victims, the victims in the Sandy Hook massacre, and the 90,000 lives that have been lost since December 2012.

WHEN: December 10, 2015 at 7pm – 8pm

WHERE: Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 W Cornwallis Rd. Durham, NC 27705  Google map and directions

CONTACT: Becky Ceartas · ncgv@ncgv.org

Also, whether you can’t make the event or not, consider the following options for action from NCGV as well:

1) Sign up to volunteer – we need volunteers to take local action. Even if you’re only able to send emails or make calls – we need your help.
2) Sign our petition to our NC Senators to urge them to reverse their votes to reflect the will of the people. The vast majority of Americans, including gun owners and NRA members, support common sense gun reforms like universal background checks. You can also call, send them an email, or tweet them.
3) Make a gift – the reality is that as a nonprofit organization, most of our work is volunteer based while the NRA is one of the wealthiest organizations in the country. We cannot continue our indispensable efforts without the basic resources, and a gift of any amount goes a long way.