Posts Tagged ‘background checks’

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson was the first President to propose and use ballot initiatives while WE the people are voting for our elected officials? And next week, for the first time since the killing of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, CT between the ages of 6 and 7, the state of Washington will have 2 questions on the ballot about guns.

Initiative 594 would require all firearm sales, including those at gun shows and conducted online, to be predicated on a background check of the buyer. Initiative 591, however, would disallow background checks for gun purchases unless explicitly required by the federal government. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/16/us-usa-firearm-measures-idUSBREA3F1XL20140416

62% of voters in that state favor expanding background checks according to polls, but since they can vote on both questions it may be confusing. Will Washington be the fifth state to close the gun show loophole, along with New York, Connecticut, Colorado and Delaware? Considering the most recent school shooting in Marysville, it is a timely question.

When we were young, we had fire drills in school. An alarm would go off and everybody had to proceed calmly towards the door, file into the hallway one by one in a straight line and convene outside in the parking lot. Teachers counted heads to make sure everyone was present and accounted for. They tell me we had atomic bomb drills too, hiding under our desks, but I don’t remember those. I do remember filing upstairs at Sacred Heart School for our first dose of a newfangled Polio vaccine

But today teachers and students are practicing what to do should a person with a gun walk through their front doors. It’s conveniently called a “Lockdown Drill.” Think about that for a second, our children are taking time out of their day to play hide and seek in a pretend scenario with a crazed maniac.

In this Washington Post article a teacher talks about having to keep her 4 and 5 year old students hidden and quiet in a classroom closet for 13 minutes!  13 minutes…”16 tiny bodies sitting crisscross applesauce, hands in laps, plus two adults…Instead of controlling guns and inconveniencing those who would use them, we are rounding up and silencing a generation of schoolchildren, and terrifying those who care for them. We are giving away precious time to teach and learn while we cower in fear.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/rehearsing-for-death-a-pre-k-teacher-on-the-trouble-with-lockdown-drills/2014/10/28/4ab456ea-5eb2-11e4-9f3a-7e28799e0549_story.html

She has a point, a very valid point. Instead of rehearsing for death WE the people should start screaming. I was sickened to learn that three states have ballot initiatives to try and curtail a woman’s ability to choose to have a child. TRAP laws and Personhood amendments galore, our glorious, religious right/wing/nuts would love to have government by and for WE the people control our sexual and reproductive health. But, hey keep your hands off our guns! They would rather have our teachers and children terrorized in school – and believe you me, WE are more likely to be gunned down outside a school in this country –  than propose universal background checks for gun owners. How sick and sad is that.

A ratio of 3 to 1, three states against choice to one that is trying to tackle gun violence. After Newtown, President Obama said “Shame on us,” if this tragedy doesn’t result in new gun laws. Shame on us indeed.

I teach in a country awash in weaponry. Maybe that moment I stood alone in my classroom was when I was closest to the truth. In 13 minutes, according to my gruesome and involuntary mental calculus, a single gunman with his effortlessly obtained XM15-E2S rifle and 26 rounds in each of two additional magazines could potentially kill 78 of us.    Proponents Of Increased Gun Control Laws Demonstrate In Washington

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What happens when Gabby Giffords writes an op-ed that says it better than anything else I may think of? My post this morning is short, because it’s never a good thing to write when you are mad. The Senate chose to give the American people the finger yesterday – claiming it’s criminals who need to be controlled, not guns. Well, guess what Senators, I’d like to suggest you look for another line of work. Because your actions yesterday were criminal, and the voters will retaliate when your seat comes up for re-election.

“I am asking every reasonable American to help me tell the truth about the cowardice these senators demonstrated. I am asking for mothers to stop these lawmakers at the grocery store and tell them: You’ve lost my vote. I am asking activists to unsubscribe from these senators’ e-mail lists and to stop giving them money. I’m asking citizens to go to their offices and say: You’ve disappointed me, and there will be consequences.” Gabby said this and more.

Democratic Senators Heitkamp, Pryor, Begich, and Baucus all voted to kill universal background checks. Shame on you. Granted we still would have needed a couple more Republicans to pass this common sense bill, and I have to think not all of them thought of the Sandy Hook parents as “props.” Here are all the Senators who voted against universal background checks, whose hands are in the pockets of the NRA.

Want to help get Washington working again? http://represent.us

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It’s not often I find myself agreeing with John McCain. But thanks to twitter, I just read his response to this filibuster certain GOP/hardright/teapartiers have got going against background checks for gun owners:

“Sen. John McCain is flabbergasted, telling CBS’s Bob Schieffer: ‘I don’t understand it. The purpose of the United States Senate is to debate and to vote and to let the people know where we stand (so you’d encourage Republicans not to filibuster?) I would not only encourage it. I don’t understand it. What are we afraid of?'”

Good question Sen McCain. What are Republicans afraid of? This is really a bipartisan issue, a public health issue and not a 2nd Amendment issue IMHO! In states where background checks are required before purchasing a gun, gun trafficking has decreased 48% – nearly been cut in half. And women killed in domestic violence by a gun? Those numbers have decreased 38%. Bob always points out that the vast majority of gun deaths in this country are the result of suicide. I would imagine that waiting for a background check to clear may give a depressed individual time to rethink his decision.

I had to submit to a background check in order to teach in a public school. I had a young policeman, a friend of the Bride’s from high school, walk me through inking my fingerprints on pads of paper. My mug shot was taken. Maybe today they do a retinal scan? Sure, I was afraid a few parking tickets from the 60s might show up, but lucky for me I had no bench warrants for illegal parking. I passed. The Bride had to gain security clearance before her first government job out of college – FBI agents were talking with our neighbors. She passed. If you have nothing to be afraid of, if you tell the truth, and you want to carry a gun, HELL I want you to pass a background check…and so does 90 of the American public!

In a UC Davis study this much was clear: : “…among those purchasing handguns legally, those with criminal records were more likely than others to purchase assault-type handguns,” (and) “among those purchasing handguns legally who had criminal records, those purchasing assault-type handguns were much more likely than those purchasing other types of handguns to be arrested for violent crimes later.”
http://www.salon.com/2012/12/26/banning_assault_weapons_works/ Which only makes me wonder why you can buy a handgun in California with a criminal record? It feels to me, the more I read, that we as a nation are going down a rabbit hole.

Senators, if we can’t reinstate an assault weapons ban after Newtown, then will calmer heads please prevail and agree with the lowly background check. It’s simple, we are already set up to do them in every state, we will most likely run into a backlog and wait for several weeks if not months for our pretty fingertips to check out, thereby preventing many suicides. The only thing you have to fear, is yourselves.

Proud of another senator, our own VA Sen Tim Kaine for tweeting this morning “I’m ready to vote yes on limits on combat weapons & universal background checks. Read my op-ed in the @PilotNews http://hamptonroads.com” Oh yeah, I’m jumping on this twitter wagon!

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