READER’S EDITORIAL: WILL YOU JOIN ME AS A CITIZEN CO-SPONSOR OF MY BILL BANNING ASSAULT WEAPONS?

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By Senator Dianne Feinstein

December 20, 2012 (Washington D.C.)--Enough is enough. Of the 11 deadliest shootings in American history, five have happened since 2007.¹ My heart breaks for the grieving families in Newtown and across the country. They deserve our deepest condolences, but also our determined action to end these atrocities.

I sponsored the original ban on assault weapons back in 1994 -- which expired in 2004 -- and last weekend I announced that I will introduce legislation to renew the ban on the first day of the new Congress. I would be honored if you would join me as a citizen co-sponsor of the new bill. Will you?

I was heartened when I found out that more than 11,000 of you share my vision and have already expressed support for a similar approach. Please take the next step and join me as a citizen co-sponsor so we can work together.

I don’t take these things lightly. As I survey the field, I know I will need your help as I mount this campaign. We need a mass movement that can make calls, write letters, and mobilize your fellow citizens at a moment’s notice if we’re going to win this battle.

Join me as a citizen co-sponsor.

My new bill will ban the sale, transfer, and importation of assault weapons, and it will do the same to big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets. I've been working to take my original bill from 1994 and perfect it. I think this new bill will be even more effective.

Our argument is simple. Civilians do not need assault weapons. The only members of society who do are soldiers and highly trained law enforcement. Otherwise, they have only one use: mass murder. I know the gun lobby will do all they can to stop this bill, but I was reelected to the Senate because I stand on principle. I’m not afraid of a fight. And neither is President Obama, who just reiterated his support for renewing the assault weapons ban.

Are you with us? If so, we can ban assault weapons, and this time, make it stick.

1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/nine-facts-about-guns-and-mass-shootings-in-the-united-states/

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org

 

Comments

Murder

To be murdered means someone took a life. The victim did not die from any type of sickness or disease, but because someone either maliciously perpetrated a crime though premeditation or accidentally killed someone. Either way, it's a horrific incident for the victim and their surviving family, friends and loved ones.

Gun violence has increased all across this nation and has become lead stories in the daily news. My heart goes out to anyone who has been slain because of a violent act. I remember the day I heard about the senseless murders of the students at Virginia Tech University; I prayed and  cried the entire day. Even to this day, I'm praying for the protection of our children, all over this nation. I can relate to what the governor of Connecticut said the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacres. He said, "Evil has visited our community today." He was so right. Evil visited Sandy Hook Elementary. Evil visited Virginia Tech University. Evil visited Shirley Chambers, the mother in Chicago, who lost all four of her children to gun violence. Evil will continue to visit us in a multiplicity of ways, if we don't start praying for our nation. As a minister,  l live by the principles of God, one of which says, "If my people which are called by my name would humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14). The land that needs  healing is the United States of America. But until we (the nation) get on one accord and pray, change will be slow, if at all.

I join the country in its fight to remove assault weapons from the public. This notion that legislation is trying to take away people's rights to bear arms is a lie and a distraction--the President has not endorsed doing that. Soemthing needs to change and banning assault weapons is a good place to begin; but the bigger need is for the nation to get on its knees and pray.

First lady Michelle Obama will attend the funeral of Hadiya

First Lady Michelle Obama will attend the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton tomorrow in our hometown of Chicago. Hadiya Pendleton the 15-year-old student that marched in the recent Inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama became another victim of this senseless gun violence in Chicago and throughout the country. I am saddened for this beautiful young lady and her family and my heart and prayers goes out to them. Hadiya had such a bright future ahead of her, only to be cut down by gun violence while congregating with friends and schoolmates on the southside of Chicago, several blocks from the Church that I and my family used to attend, the Apostolic Church of God. This was also the Church that President Obama gave a renowned Father's Day speech at in regard to parental responsibilities. First Lady Michelle Obama will attend this funeral with White House advisor Valerie Jarrett and Education Secretary Arnie Duncan, all with roots in Chicago.  

GUN-CONTROL EFFORT HITS THE ROAD

President Barack Obama declared Monday that a consensus is emerging for universal background checks for gun purchasers. though he conceded a tough road lay ahead to pass an assault weapons ban over formidable opposition in Congress.

Chicago's 506 homicides in 2012

Chicago, my hometown, had 506 homicides in 2012, with 87% of the deceased dying from gunshot wounds. This is President Obama's hometown also, as his home is just several blocks from the Church that I and my family attended for so many years. While in Detroit, there were 411 homicides. Guns kill!

"Guns pour in at L.A. buyback events"

Mall parking lots were packed with after-Christmas shoppers. But nowhere were the lines longer than at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena and the Van Nuys Masonic Temple, where thousands of people came to exchange their guns for Ralphs gift cards. Cars queued up for blocks at the drive-through events, with the city giving cards worth up to $100 for handguns, shotguns and rifles, and up to $200 for assault weapons. There was a bit of haggling involved, but the guns were all taken. "What do you got?" an officer in Van Nuys asked a man in his late twenties as he pulled up in a green Mazda. "Just one handgun, I've had it since high school," the man replied. "Will you take $50 for this? "Sure." many came bearing more than one gun. They pulled 22 pistols from the trunk of one white Honda, a haul that earned the driver $1,000. Two men in a pickup truck with two children in the back seat handed over a rifle, a pistol and a MAC-12, altered with a silencer. Organizers and some participants credited collective outrage and anguish over the gun rampage in Newtown, Connecticut for the turnout. This, according to a story by Joe Mozingo and Wesley Lowery in yesterday's Los Angeles Times Newspaper. 

"good guys with a gun"

Two days after suggesting a "good guy with a gun" be stationed at every school in the country in response to the deadly shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre criticized critics of his plan. In an interview broadcast on Sunday's "Meet The Press," LaPierre reiterated the statements he made.

Banning Guns

I am from Newtown, Conn.  My children grew up there and even attended Sandy Hook Elementary School when they were young.  Two of my children still attend church in Newtown and one of my daughters works in Newtown, just a short distance from Sandy Hook area.  I have family and friends in Newtown.  What happened was beyond horrible, yet I am against banning guns because the people who shouldn't have them will still find a way to get them.  And the people who should have them, to protect themselves and others, will not have them.  The guns did not walk into the school by themselves, it took a person to bring them in. 

Banning liquor in the last century did not stop the consumption of liquor.  Banning marijuana does not stop people from getting marijuana.  Banning guns will not stop the sick people from getting guns but it will keep the good people from being able to protect themselves.  If we can put an armed guard in every bank to protect our money, why the heck can't we put an armed guard in every school to protect our precious children?

Dennis I am extremely sorry about what happened to you and your sons.  I am very glad you all survived.  I don't believe banning guns would have stopped either of you from getting shot, as only the honest citizens will turn their guns in; you can bet the criminals and crazies won't turn theirs in. 

CALIFORNIANS SUPPORT MORE GUN CONTROL, NEW POLL FINDS

A new poll on some of the most divisive issues of the day shows that a majority of Californians favor more gun control, support same-sex marriage and believe unauthorized immigrants should be allowed to keep working in the U.S. while applying for legal status. The survey conducted by the nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California found broad support for Governor Jerry Brown's approach to balancing the state budget and President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

Dave Chapdelaine, a Newtown-area resident

I have to beg to differ with my dear friend Linda, about her not believing that banning guns would have stopped either of us from getting shot, and that only honest citizens would turn their guns in. A case in point is the thousands of guns turned in recently in Los Angeles. I simply cannot and refuse to believe that banning guns would not have prevented me or my sons from getting shot, and we can't attribute to criminals and crazies those that are doing the shooting. I am sure many recall severall years ago when then Vice-President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his hunting partner.

 

Dave Chapdelaine, a Newtown-area resident for more than 40 years, is among many locals who question the wisdom of stiffer gun control laws, just as does my dear friend Linda. Chapdelaine, in a story in the Los Angeles Times Newspaper on December 21, 2012, recalled walking down the middle of his rural road with a shotgun in the 1970s, taking aim through the trees at rabbits, squirrels and pheasants. Every year he and three friends held a game cookout, and sold rabbit fur to a company in New York. Now houses are nestled in those woods, and Chapdelaine, a school bus driver, heads north to Vermont to hunt. He's among many in Newtown who question the wisdom of stiffer gun control laws, which President Obama called for recently at the White House. "To me, a firearm - 99% of the time, when it's unloaded - it's a beautiful work of art," Chapdelaine said. "It's meant to protect people and help you provide for your family. But you have to keep them out of the hands of the loonies." Over the last decade or so, the town's rustic character changed with the arrival of upscale families who commute to New York or other cities, and who see guns as a nuisance, if not a threat, according to the story in the Los Angeles Times.

 

"There are people that have had their families here for several generations, love this town for what it is and what it was, and they want to preserve that bucolic rural setting," said Andy Sachs, a real estate agent and member of the town commission that supervises police. "And there's a new guard who's moved in the past 15 years that want to see more growth opportunities, more commercial opportunities, more vibrant suburban living. That's a stuggle." Dozens of members of the Fairfield County Fish & Game Protective Assn., a 300-acre private hunting club on Newtown's southern outskirts, showed up at a town meeting in September to defend gun rights. Bowing to the outcry, the commission shelved the proposal, according to the story by Shashank Bengali and Tima Susman in the Los Angeles Times.

Publisher of Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper states:

The Publisher of the Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper in San Diego stated in regard to the Newtown, California tragedy: "First there are no words to express the regret and pain of seeing so many lives taken in the shootings of last week. The loss of 26 lives in one horrible incident and the fact that so many of them were children has touched America in so many ways deeper than Columbine and the Virginia Tech mass shootings. But while we mourn and remember these losses, let us not forget that the homicide rate in the city of Chicago this year has been even worse than the one day murders in Newtown, Connecticut. Both situations are the result of guns being available to young people who should not have then, regardless of whether there was or is legal ownership of firearms in their families. The murders in our urban cities like Chicago too often are only reported as faceless victims lying on our streets as a result of 'violence.' If we count youth under the age of 21, we have lost more youth this year than Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Newtown, Connecticut & Chicago, Illinois

Of course, I support the Senator's ban on assault weapons, but I would like to take it a step further, by banning all guns. While the weapons of choice in places like Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado seems to be assault weapons, in my hometown and that of President Obama, Chicago, the weapon of choice seems to be handguns. I am a living witness to the destructiveness of handguns. While at a family reunion in Chicago some thirty years ago, and while dancing with my wife, I was interrupted by my sister and told that our mother was in an altercation with another woman. Being the concerned and dutiful son, I proceeded to walk my mother outside to get her some air. A woman pulled out a gun and shot at my mother, but unfortunately shot me. I should probably say fortunately, for I believe by my getting shot, it saved my mother's life. I was shot in the stomach with a 22 caliber weapon, instinctively grabbed my stomach while looking down to see the blood, and feeling a pain somewhat lot a hot knife entering my body. I collapsed and fell on the floor, while people were scrambling all over the place. I began to pass out, with my life flashing before me, I was dying. After the commotion subsided somewhat, everyone else realized that I had been shot, and I was rushed to the hospital. The policemen asked me if I wanted to press charges against the woman, and I said no. The woman that did the shooting, I found out later was the mother of a friend of mine, and it turned out that both her and my mothers had been drinking. This woman also shot another guy while at this reunion, and ran out of this, "The Mecca Lounge." Needless to say, I survived this ordeal, after spending about a week in the hospital. I would incur stomach complications periodically over the many years after the incident, due to scar tissue in my stomach from the shooting.

 

I do not want to minimize what happened recently in Newtown, Connecticut, or  Senator Feinstein's proposed legislation to ban assault weapons, which I support, but I feel strongly that the type of weapon that I was shot with should also be banned. Two of my sons, Damien and Darius, would later be shot on the northside of Chicago, while coming home after watching the movie "Mortal Combat." Damien was 11-years-old and Darius was 16-years-old. I recall that "parent's nightmare' when two Chicago police officers came to our family home and told me that "both of your sons had been shot." I was almost afraid to ask the officers their condition, fearful that they might tell me that they had died. Unlike the pain and grief the parents in Newtown, Connecticut felt after the deaths of their children, my children survived and some 17 years later, they are leading productive lives. My heart goes out to those parents in Newtown! Although my son Damien did survive this shooting with a handgun, he did lose his spleen and has to take penicillin for the rest of his life. Our family have suffered the collective trauma of that situation many years ago in Chicago, but we are so thankful to God that he allowed our children to survive. "Guns kill People," be it handguns or assault weapons, and they all should be banned. President Obama has dispatched Vice-President Biden to lead an effort against this gun violence in our country, seemingly focusing on assault weapons, but handguns have proven to be just as deadly, and in my hometown of Chicago, even more so.

Dennis, thank you for sharing this painful story.

I can only imagine the anguish you and your family have been through due to gun violence, and yet even that pales in comparison to the grief suffered in Newtown.  I am glad that you and your sons survived these ordeals, and hope that legislators will take seriously the risks to innocent people and take some form of meaningful action.

GIFFORDS PLEADS FOR GUN CURBS!

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords begged lawmakers to act quickly to restrict firearms because "Americans are counting on you." Others testifying at the hearing disagreed, underscoring the divide over gun control.

"President Obama unveils $500 million gun violence package!"

In the wake of unending gun violence, from massacres to murders in the Chicago streets, President Barack Obama unveiled sweeping plans Wednesday (today) to curb gun violence, including actions he is taking right away and others that need Congressional approval. This, according to a story by reporter Lynn Sweet in today's Chicago Sun-Times Newspaper.

"Sharing Town's Grief"

Yes, my family did experience anguish and grief over the many years due to gun violence, and probably still do feel the residual effect and trauma of that experience so many years ago. Thankfully, we have not had to experience the ultimate of what the parents in Newtown, Connecticut experienced, never being able to hold their loved ones after a senseless act of violence that left their children dead. My heart goes out to those parents. This past Thursday a candlelight gathering in Balboa Park in San Diego included residents of the Connecticut community where 26 were slain. As reported by Teri Figueroa of the U-T San Diego Newspaper; "Many of those in the candlelight circle were strangers to each other. But on Thursday evening, they stood shoulders brushing as they grieved together for a community most of them had never heard of before last week. After days of watching and reading about the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, University City resident jack battaglia felt he had to honor the victims. On Thursday, he attended a vigil in front of the fountain near the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. He and his 9-year-old grandson, Giatano Battaglia, joined four dozen or so others who gathered to honor the 26 people - 20 children and six adults - killed in the school shooting."