Commentary

Advocates, editorials praise Obama’s action on gun safety

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

New Year brings renewed attention to gun violence, closing loopholes (Audio)

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

Some tangible things you can do about gun violence this week

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.

Commentary

Stop the suicidal gun madness

The lead editorials in this morning’s New York Times and Los Angeles Times are absolutely correct in their assessments of the insane gun carnage that grips our nation. This is the excellent conclusion of the NYT piece:

“Those who reject sensible gun controls will say anything to avoid implicating the growth in the civilian arsenal. The House speaker, Paul Ryan, for one, responded to the killings at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs with a call for better mental health care, and is supporting a new bill that sponsors said would expand services to provide earlier treatment so violent people might theoretically be intercepted. “For those with mental illness, what we ought to be doing is treating the mental illness instead of responding to the crime,” Representative Tim Murphy, a Pennsylvania Republican and a chief sponsor of the bill, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview on Tuesday.

This is the familiar line trotted out by Republican politicians after every massacre, as if unfettered access to high-powered weaponry — which they and the gun lobby have made possible — is not a factor in this national catastrophe. Congress’s Republican leaders are betting they can brazenly go through another election cycle without enacting gun safety laws.

Congress has allowed the domestic gun industry to use assorted loopholes to sell arsenals that are used against innocent Americans who cannot hide. Without firm action, violent criminals will keep terrorizing communities and the nation, inflicting mass death and damage across the land.”

The LAT puts it this way:

“Enough. This nation’s infatuation with guns — inflamed by the ludicrous stances of the NRA, and abetted by Congress’ fear of that powerful but irresponsible group — is suicidal. There are too many guns, too easily obtained. Often they are in the hands of those who should not have them at all, such as the mentally ill.

It’s absurd that one of the richest, freest, and most advanced societies in world history endures such a scourge with such equanimity. But there is hope. A Gallup poll in October found that 55% of Americans support stronger gun control measures, and other surveys have found that even a majority of NRA members support mandatory background checks — something the NRA itself has assiduously opposed. There is broad political support for stronger laws to address the nation’s gun addiction, but gun control advocates have so far been unable to counter the money and organizational heft of the NRA. It’s obscene that a single interest group is able to endanger an entire nation’s safety….

This crisis in American society must be combated through the ballot box, and through lobbying to loosen the iron grip the NRA holds on Congress and many state legislatures. That is where the pushback against this culture of death needs to occur. And it needs to occur now.”

Amen.

Commentary

If only assault weapon buyers received a tiny fraction of the vetting that Syrian refugees must endure

Syrian refugee

Image: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The common sense responses to the irrational fear-mongering taking place over Syrian refugees in recent days are so numerous and compelling as to leave any caring and thinking person shaking his or her head in embarrassment at the performance of public officials of both parties.

As one friend of NC Policy Watch wrote to us this week:

About one million people arrive in the US every day, by land, sea and air. (Yes, many are Americans; but many are foreigners who just show a passport and get waved through.)

Last year, for instance, there were 95,000 international arrivals among the 4.8 million people ‘deplaning’ at RDU.”

Meanwhile, our friend noted:

“The Governor is trying to create a national panic over a few thousand Syrian refugees, mostly women and children, who undergo several levels of vetting to be admitted to the US while also adamantly insisting that many thousands of persons be allowed to buy guns at gun shows with NO background checks. A terrorist’s dream!

In keeping with our friend’s take, here are some more actual details of the process that refugees must endure. As reporter Alicia Caldwell explains at Talking Points Memo, it is lengthy and thorough. This is from her article:

“Refugees who spent years waiting for approval to come to the United States said authorities asked detailed questions repeatedly in multiple interviews, including pressing them about their backgrounds and reasons for fleeing Syria. Nedal Al-Hayk, who was resettled in suburban Detroit with his family after a three-year wait, said officials interviewed him and his wife in separate rooms, asking repeatedly and in different ways where they were born, where their parents were born, what they did before and during the war or whether they were armed, part of a rebel group, supportive of the government or even politically outspoken.

Syrians initially file refugee claims with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which then refers them to the U.S. government. The process has no guarantee of approval and takes so long — Syrians wait nearly three years for approval to come to the U.S. — that experts said it would be a longshot for an extremist group to rely on the refugee program as a way to sneak someone into the United States. The Islamic State group has had far more success appealing to people already living inside the United States to commit or conspire to commit violence. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told lawmakers this week that roughly 70 people have been charged with crimes related to foreign-fighter activity and homegrown violent extremism since 2013.”

The bottom line: Of all the threats to domestic peace and tranquility in modern America, refugees are way, way down near the bottom of the list. Would that our quick-to-demagogue politicians were as concerned about the real threats (gun violence for example) as they are about the illusory ones. Read more on the vetting process that refugees must endure and who they are by clicking here.