Gun Issues to Watch
The AAUW member-adopted Biennial Action Priorities advocates “freedom from violence and fear of violence in homes, schools, workplaces, and communities.”
The History of AAUW's Position on Gun Violence Prevention
NYS Fact Sheet: Protecting Women From Gun Violence
My Word (and welcome to it): America’s Epidemic of Gun Violence (Sept. 28, 2017)
Updated: Ocotber 18, 2017
- Gun waiting periods prevent hundreds of homicides, according to 45-year study - A study tracking handgun laws on wait periods over a 45-year period found that a delay in obtaining a firearm after purchase reduced gun homicides by 17 percent. That breaks down to about 36 homicides per year for the average state. As of 2014, such laws in 16 states and the District of Columbia prevented about 750 gun homicides per year. If all 50 states required a wait, around 910 more lives could be spared, the authors report. “Waiting periods would therefore reduce gun violence without imposing any restrictions on who can own a gun,” according to the authors, led by Deepak Malhotra, a negotiation and conflict-resolution expert at Harvard Business School.
- Surprising no one, the NRA is against a bump stock ban after all - It turns out the NRA really isn’t in favor of gun control laws after all, the pro-gun rights organization came out Thursday against legislation that would ban bump stocks — the firearm accessory used by the gunman in the Las Vegas shooting. The Nation Rifle Association’s position against any type of ban comes a week after the pro-gun rights group said it would be in favor of additional regulation on the device that converts semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic weapons, allowing them to shoot hundreds of rounds per minute.
- What could we learn from federally funded gun research? - "It's one of the few public health problems facing the country about which we have basically no scientific base of information to guide us how to deal with it," said Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "The public health implications are obvious," he said. People die or get injured from guns every day. "The question is -- without violating their Second Amendment rights -- what can be done to minimize the unintended negative consequences of the ability of people to own firearms?" he said. This, he said, is the reason research is necessary. "It's probably the public health issue about which we know the least," said Leshner. "We don't know what interventions work to minimize firearm related violence and we don't know much even about the prevalence, how many guns there are out there."
- Poll: Majority backs stricter gun control laws after Vegas shooting - A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows that a majority of voters support stricter gun control laws in the wake of last week’s mass murder of 58 concertgoers in Las Vegas by a single man with nearly two dozen firearms shooting from the window of his 32nd-floor hotel room. On most of the proposals to regulate gun ownership — including background checks, restrictions on where Americans can carry firearms and prohibitions against accessories like the “bump fire” stocks used by the Las Vegas gunman — large majorities express support in the poll, conducted last Thursday through Monday.
- Paul Ryan Calls For Regulatory Fix On Bump Stocks - House Speaker Paul Ryan called for regulatory action on bump stocks, the device used by the Las Vegas shooter to convert semi-automatic weapons into automatic firearms. The Wisconsin Republican said Wednesday that allowing the Trump administration to take the lead on the ban would be the most efficient route to address the problem. “We think the regulatory fix is the smartest, quickest fix, and I’d frankly like to know how it happened in the first place,” Ryan told reporters at the House GOP leadership press conference.
- NRA CEO won’t back bill banning bump stocks - LaPierre blamed the “elites” who “protect themselves with armed security” for trying to politicize the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Stephen Paddock sprayed bullets from his Las Vegas hotel room into a country music concert, killing 58 people and wounding 500 others. LaPierre, who had earned $5.1 million in total compensation in 2015 as the head of the NRA, also travels with armed body guards.
- America's Gun Fantasy - Three percent of the nation owns half the firearms—to prepare for an ultraviolent showdown that exists only in their imagination. In fact, fewer of us now own any kind of gun for any reason—even as the number of guns has increased phenomenally. In the 1970s about half of Americans had a gun, and it was almost always just a gun, one on average. Today only about a quarter of Americans own guns—but the average owner has three or four. Fewer than 8 million people, only 3 percent of all American adults, own roughly half the guns. Members of that tiny minority of superenthusiasts own an average of 17 guns apiece. Very, very few of the guns in America are used for hunting. Americans who own guns today keep arsenals in a way people did not 40 years ago. It seems plain to me that that’s because they—not all, but many—have given themselves over to fantasies.
- It’s time for companies to boycott gun-lax states - Gun safety advocates should take heart from the backlash against bathroom bills and other anti-gay laws in red states. The institutions that stood up in those fights — from Apple to the NCAA — offer a path forward. Boycotts can carry enormous social power. In 2015, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill allowing businesses and individuals to use religious beliefs to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced that the company was cancelling all programs that would bring employees to Indiana, and Angie’s List aborted an expansion that would have netted 1,000 jobs for the state. Most major employers in Indiana denounced the legislation. Within 10 days, Pence and legislators reversed course with a new bill that protected lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
- A sensible approach: Continued research on gun violence needed to direct policies - We need a more comprehensive analysis of what triggers people to commit this kind of violence and how it can be detected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used to fund research into these very questions. But this work stopped more than 20 years ago following pressure from gun rights advocates. In-depth studies on this problem are exactly what we need and should be resumed. This could well provide information on what works, what doesn’t and where to go from here.
- Here’s the State Police’s explanation of NY law on bump stocks - You can have a bump stock in New York. But as soon as you attach it to a semi-automatic weapon, you’re violating the law. According to State Police, that’s the long and short of state law regulating such devices, which were found attached to weapons used in the Las Vegas mass shooting last Sunday. Such devices help increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic weapons.
- GOP leaders look to avoid a fight with base over guns - Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are signaling that they want the Trump administration to write new regulations for a gun accessory that may have allowed the Las Vegas shooter to fire hundreds of rounds per minute. While not explicitly ruling out legislation to outlaw bump stocks, the GOP leaders’ words and actions suggest they’d rather avoid a head-on fight with the National Rifle Association — which prefers a regulatory approach to passing a new law. Sources close to GOP leaders say that if bump stocks circumvent the federal law banning the civilian sale and possession of machine guns, the matter should be left to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
- How the erosion of trust leads to murders and mass shootings - When we lose faith in our government and political leaders, when we lack a sense of kinship with others, when we feel we just can’t get a fair shake, it affects the confidence with which we go about our lives. Small disagreements, indignities and disappointments that we might otherwise brush off may enrage us — generating hostile, defensive and predatory emotions — and in some cases give way to violence. This may be rooted in our biology. Primate studies have shown that apes and monkeys secrete more of the hormones that cause or facilitate aggression, and less of the hormones that deter aggression, when their tribes experience political instability, faction fighting and struggles for dominance.
- Mike Bloomberg offers to 'match every donation' to fight gun violence - Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) says he will match donations to Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group he founded, after the national debate over gun laws was reignited this week after the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
- The Trump administration has already been rolling back gun regulations - With less public attention, the Trump administration has eased some gun regulations in recent months. Among them: The Army Corps of Engineers has filed notice in a court case that it is reconsidering a ban on carrying firearms on its land; the Justice Department narrowed its definition of fugitives barred from purchasing weapons; and the Interior Department lifted a federal ban on hunting with lead ammunition in national parks.
- The Second Amendment Doesn’t Say What You Think It Does - When you actually go back and look at the debate that went into drafting of the amendment, you can squint and look really hard, but there’s simply no evidence of it being about individual gun ownership for self-protection or for hunting. Emphatically, the focus was on the militias. To the framers, that phrase “a well-regulated militia” was really critical. In the debates, in James Madison’s notes of the Constitutional Convention, on the floor of the House of Representatives as they wrote the Second Amendment, all the focus was about the militias.
- Needed: A “Men Against Gun Violence” Campaign - Men in their sixties, for instance—age mates of the 64 year-old shooter, Stephen Paddock—could be among the organizers of the campaign, demanding we recast US gun culture. Like me, a lot are grandfathers; many have time on their hands, as well as money and access. They could, for instance, start a project to convince 58 senators—one for each of the murder victims—to vote not only for gun control, but also for funding the CDC to study how boys are socialized. Then, since there were 520 people wounded, they could call for all 435 members of the House of Representatives to vote for sane gun legislation. Add the governors of all 50 states, plus the mayors of the 35 largest cities in the country and it totals 520. See, in a campaign like this we are limited only by our imaginations.
- Top three gun manufacturers have received more than $100 million in subsidies - While the country mourns yet another mass-shooting, little attention is being paid to the fact that the companies producing the weapons are being subsidized by taxpayers. The nation’s top three gun manufacturers have received more than $100 million in taxpayer subsidies, most often as inducements to move their manufacturing plants. Most of those subsidies came in the wake of the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
- The NRA's New Scare Tactics -
“We’re seeing the rise of a new NRA,” says Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor whose latest book, Gunfight, chronicles the battle over gun rights. “It’s long been committed to a die-hard approach to gun policy; they focused like a laser beam on Second Amendment issues. Now it’s focused on immigration, race, health care. We’re seeing the NRA become an extreme right-wing media outlet, not just a protector of guns.”
- The NRA's New Scare Tactics - With Trump in the White House, the gun lobby has transformed into a right-wing media outlet. - Now, with no one in the White House to strike fear in the hearts of its members, the NRA is embarking on a bold new strategy. Instead of sticking solely to its pro-gun agenda—pushing for firearms in schools, allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines—the group has joined the ranks of Breitbart and Fox News. Last fall, in the weeks before the election, the NRA launched its very own streaming service called NRATV. Some of the 34 shows it produces—from Armed & Fabulous to Trust the Hunter in Your Blood—are little more than infomercials for gun manufacturers, who sponsor the programs to drum up business. But many of the shows focus on issues far beyond the NRA’s traditional purview, from immigration to the “fake news” media.
- Advocates warn NYers are vulnerable to other states' gun access laws - Anti-gun violence advocates are renewing calls for a new law that they said might prevent some of these events in the future. New York has one of the strictest laws in the nation on the sale and possession of firearms. The law, known as the SAFE Act, expanded the state’s ban on purchasing new assault weapons, established more comprehensive background checks for gun and ammunition purchases and toughened laws against illegal gun possession. But Paul McQuillen with New Yorkers Against Gun Violence said the 2013 law is not as effective as it could be because it’s easy to buy some of the banned guns and ammunition from other states, like Pennsylvania, Ohio and many Southern states.
- Why Congress still won’t ‘do something’ about gun laws after Las Vegas - There may be some gun-control measures that could gain substantial public support after Las Vegas, up to and including background checks, magazine limits and an assault weapons ban. But half of America simply doesn't see these things as addressing the problem, and that creates almost no impetus for action — especially within the all-important Republican Party. And if you don't think these address the problem, you're more likely to believe specific proposals overreach into “gun grabs.”
- 5 Things That Are Harder to Get in America Than a Gun - Like a puppy. - Take a look, for comparison's sake, at the following things that are harder in some ways to obtain than a gun.
- America is exceptional for its unique, deadly gun culture - The firearm homicide rate in the United States far outstrips those of its peers — 16 times the rate in Germany and six times that of Canada, north of the border. The Guardian compiled a staggering data visualization of 1,516 mass shootings in the United States over the past 1,735 days. Elsewhere, sweeping measures taken to ban or restrict access to guns, such as in Australia, have led to a marked decline in homicides and the end of mass shootings, but are seen as nonstarters in the United States.
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