Get Out the Vote

If you have not used the early voting opportunity, please do so or be sure to vote on election day for gun sense candidates.  This is the first presidential election in which I will be a single issue voter.  Hillary Clinton has been very vocal regarding her strong beliefs in gun violence prevention legislation and for this reason alone I have voted for her.  Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has also endorsed Hillary Clinton.  We need gun sense representatives to be elected that can pass legislation to reduce the current epidemic of gun violence in our country.  Let your voice be heard!

Moms Demand Action has recruited me to be a spokesperson for the Wilmington chapter.  After two phone training sessions with Jennifer Hoppe and Susan Bream , several video training sessions and a good letter outlining some excellent points to keep in mind when talking to the public or the press from Erin Dando,   I was requested by Lauren Itzkowitz, the Wilmington Chapter Lead,  to make a speech representing Moms Demand Action at a Vocal Majority rally in Wilmington.  The Vocal Majority is a bus campaign sponsored by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly touring the country to get out the vote for candidates who are committed to gun violence prevention legislation.  Do your part – vote for gun sense candidates.  Below are some photos of the event in Wilmington, NC.  It was an honor to be present with the other speakers.

 

Current Activities in Wilmington, NC

As a followup to discussions at the initiation meeting for the new Wilmington chapter of Moms Demand Action, we had interviews with the public safety editor, Jim Ware, at the local paper Star News and a Wilmington Police Department representative, Barry Coburn.  Both were very receptive to our questions and provided good information on how to proceed to obtain more data on gun violence in Wilmington.  The Star News has some data listed on its online website using the key word “shotspotter” (a method that alerts WPD when shots have been fired).  Barry Coburn stated he would put me on the list to receive the police statistics when they are published.  Barry Coburn also suggested the following excellent opportunities to help prevent gun violence in Wilmington:

Support the PAL in its efforts to engage youth and provide alternatives to gang activity

Help provide economic opportunities for citizens living in distressed  areas                                (Wilmington has 6 known areas that are”hotspots” and need improvements)

Work with local schools in distressed areas to provide alternatives to gang activities

Modify the sentencing process so there is a better chance of not having repeat offenders

Support drug prevention programs ( 80% of violent crimes are drug related )

Fund before school and after school programs provided at local schools

 

There is plenty for everyone to work on and the results could help prevent gun violence far into the future.  We also need our elected officials to pass common sense gun violence prevention legislation to assist in the efforts to keep our children and adults safe.  It is a national epidemic we are experiencing right here in Wilmington.  It needs to be treated as such.  Let your voice be heard and be an activist.  It will take all of us to address this difficult problem.

 

Moms Demand Action Kick Off Meeting in Wilmington, NC

On June 2, 2016 in downtown Wilmington, NC a new chapter of Moms Demand Action was initiated.  Many thanks to Lauren, Mary Beth and Lora for spearheading this effort.  Lauren led the proceedings and is the organizer.  Mary Beth made all of the calls to get the 30 some people that joined the meeting.  It was a pleasure to meet and find out that there are many other activists who want to change the gun culture in our country and to promote gun violence prevention.  Congratulations to all that attended and thank you.  The next meeting is planned for July and at each meeting they will assign a specific purpose to help prevent gun violence.  Good job Moms!  Wilmington specifically needs all the help it can gain to prevent gun violence which is a real problem for us here as well as the whole country.

The establishment (Palate’s) where the meeting was held allowed us to place a “Firearms Not Permitted” sticker in its front window.  Baby steps, but one step at a time and maybe one state at a time until we have a safer environment in the whole country.  Congress could help but has not.  Be sure to vote this year in all of the local and national elections.  That is an opportunity to create a positive change.

Below are several pictures from the meeting.

126128129131

Moms Demand Action Comes to Wilmington, NC

Moms Demand Action for Gun Safety in America is initiating a chapter in Wilmington, NC on June 2, 2016.  Several GunControlToday members will be attending this meeting and will support this groups efforts.  I am very excited to see a Moms Demand Action group locally in Wilmington.  By raising the awareness of everyone in the community hopefully we can create a safer environment for us all to live in and encourage our representatives to pass common sense gun violence prevention legislation.  Many thanks to Mary Beth who is leading this initiative and putting her beliefs into action.  Wear orange on June 2 to demonstrate your support for gun violence prevention.  Thank you.

“Armor of Light” video

A group of GunControlToday members attended a showing of a video “Armor of Light”.  This movie describes the unbelievable relationship between religion and gun violence in this country. It also demonstrates the power of those impacted by gun violence to influence others to act and support efforts to pass legislation to prevent gun violence.  The work is not done but this film provides a powerful insight into some of the forces involved in this critical issue.  This video was presented by the Wilmington Faiths Against Gun Violence group.  My appreciation goes out to their efforts.

June 2 Gun Violence Awareness Day

Today I signed a petition to Mayor Bill Safo of Wilmington, NC to request him to declare June 2 Gun Violence Awareness Day.  Be sure to wear orange on June 2 to support this effort to increase awareness of the tragedy of gun violence we experience in this country every day.  This can be prevented but we need legislation to help.  Encourage your elected officials to pass gun prevention legislation.

Requesting Support from North Carolina Senators

In the last couple of months I have written to both Senator Tillis and Senator Burr asking them to support gun violence prevention legislation.  Both have now responded and expressed an interest in keeping guns ” out of the hands of dangerous individuals”  and keeping citizens safe.  Senator Tillis did refer to the second amendment and his unwaivering support of the rights of citizens to bear arms.  Senator Burr stated that he also is interested in ” protecting the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens”.   Senator Burr also stated his strong support for mental health issues.

The tone of these letters is much more encouraging than the last time I reached out to ask for support for gun violence prevention legislation.  It appears the efforts of all of the organizations pushing for good common sense gun violence prevention legislation is starting to have an impact on legislators.  Congratulations to all involved.  Obviously we are not there yet but the position of legislators is moving positively.  Keep up the hard work and let your voice be heard.  Many thanks to you all.

Victory in North Carolina

This week the North Carolina Senate passed the amended HB 562 bill with no changes.  Congratulations to all of those organizations who worked tirelessly to save the background checks that have been in place in North Carolina for all hand gun sales.  A special word of thanks to Moms Demand Action and Moms Rising for all of their efforts to insure safety for North Carolinians.  This success demonstrates the power of speaking up by the majority to provide good common sense gun laws.

Now we need a national law that makes this type of realistic legislation apply to all states.  Call and write your Congressman or woman to support gun violence prevention legislation.  At the very least background checks by all sellers of handguns whether it be a licensed dealer, a gun fair or on the internet should be required.

North Carolina HB 562 Amendments Passed

Yesterday on June 16, 2015, the NC House of Representatives had a very lively and lengthy debate regarding HB 562 amendments.  To the credit of all involved the result was the passage of good common sense revisions to HB 562 that will maintain the current background checks for hand gun purchases through gun fairs and on the internet.   Thank you to Representative McNeil for proposing this amendment that will help keep the citizens of North Carolina safe (see picture below of man with grey mustache and an empty seat in front of him that belongs to Rep. Rick Caitlin).  Another victory was the passage of an amendment to place severe restrictions on hand gun purchases for those arrested for stalking and domestic violence.  Many thanks to Representative Turner for proposing this amendment.  And, finally, this session agreed to an amendment not allowing hand guns in the General Assembly chambers.  A very rewarding and inspirational day for those of us fighting hard to prevent gun violence.

The debate that accompanied these votes was extremely interesting and provided arguments from all sides.  In the end, common sense won out and the majority voted for a safer North Carolina through good common sense legislation.  A big thank you for the hard work done by all of the gun violence prevention groups participating in fighting against the original version of HB 562 with a particular thanks to MomsRising, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (see picture below of Sara Green, North Carolina Chair) and North Carolinians Against Gun Violence.  Your voices have been heard and I thank you.

The only disappointment I had yesterday was the absence of my very own representative Rick Caitlin for all of the votes on the amendments to HB 562.  He made me feel like I had no representation at all on such an important bill.  He was there earlier and left when the HB 562 discussions began.  Why?  Personal emergency, maybe.  It appeared he was just running from having to place his vote.  Again, why?  He certainly received many calls requesting that he not support the original version of HB 562.  Can he not represent us even if he does not agree personally?  Very sad.  I want someone to actively represent me if he is an elected official to such an important office.

014 026 029 001

North Carolina General Assembly Meeting on June 8, 2015

In support of Moms Demand Action and Moms Rising, I went to Raleigh on June 8, 2015 to attend the legislative meeting where the legislators were to vote on NC HB 562.  A bill which would eliminate the requirement for background checks for hand guns at gun fairs and on the internet.   There were over 100 concerned people there actively demonstrating their opposition to this bill.  We completely filled the balcony section of the legislative hall ( see pictures below).  A motion was made to return the bill to committee due to all of the changes that were still taking place with this bill.  No legislator opposed this motion and the bill was sent back to committee.  Sara Green, the head of NC Moms Demand Action, indicated this was a significant development for those promoting gun violence prevention.  She stated that 5 years ago this bill would have just flown through the legislators and been passed immediately.  This indicates that our efforts are having an effect and we need to maintain our push to contact legislators, sheriffs and school personnel to oppose passage of HB 562.  She also encouraged us to contact supporters in the legislature and thank them for their stand for gun violence prevention.  Sara indicated that a successful blockage of this type of legislation in North Carolina would have ripple effects throughout the country.

After the legislative session was over reprsentatives Verta Insko, Pricey Harrison and Ed Hanes joined our group and gave words of encouragement and suggestions.  All of those present sent thank you e-mails to different representatives supporting the defeat of this bill.

This was an inspirational event for me and I suggest everyone attend at least one005 018 019 021 022 023 012 such session to see how the government really works and to experience the motivation of others who are effectively working to prevent gun violence.  We are the majority and we need to let our voices be heard.

Wear Orange Day on June 2, 2015

To support the Moms Demand Action group of North Carolina, Judy and I went to Raleigh, NC on June 2 to rally with this group and promote the defeat of North Carolina House Bill 562.  Wearing our orange shirts we went to select representatives offices and delivered a petition with 3000 signatures asking these representatives to not support HB 562.  This bill would eliminate the need for background checks for internet and gun fair sales of handguns in North Carolina which is currently a state requirement.  It was encouraging to see all of the people in the Genreal Assembly building who wore orange in support of this effort – orange dresses, scarves, ties, shirts and blouses.  Many of the legislators do understand the importance of background checks which are supported by 90% of North Carolinians, even those who own guns.

It was rewarding to meet some of the most active Moms Demand Action representatives from North Carolina – Sara, Christy, Kim, Allie and Kareen.  These promoters of gun violence prevention are very impressive.  They speak well, understand the issues involved and are actively seeking a positive change in our society.  It was an honor and privilege to work with them and to try and make a difference.  See pictures below of the rally.002 008 010 014 003 001

Let your voice be heard!  It will make a difference.

North Carolina HB 562 Contact List

Thanks to the MomsRising .org group I was able to obtain a copy of some of the important representatives on the North Carolina legislature.  These names, titles and phone numbers are listed below for your reference.  This afternoon I called each of them to encourage them to oppose HB 562.  Please do the same to keep North Carolina a safer place.

Speaker Tim Moore at 9197333451

Speaker Pro Temp Paul Stam at 9197332962

Senior Approp. Chair Rep. Nelson Dollar at 9197150795

Chair Linda Johnson at 9197335861

Chair Donny Lambeth at 9197335747

Chair Chuck McGrady at 9197335956

Just tell them your name and say you are calling to ask them to oppose House Bill 562.  This bill would negatively affect the permitting process.  The background checks currently in place is supported by 90% of North Carolinians.  Please do not make our state less safe.  Thank you.

Let your voice be heard!  Thank you for speaking out and standing up for a safer North Carolina.

Good News on HB 562

On Wednesday morning North Carolina State Rep. Jacqueline Schafer, R. Mecklenburg, pulled house bill 562 from a scheduled committee hearing.  HB 562 would have repealed the requirement for a state criminal background check for private handgun sales in North Carolina.  Mounting opposition to this bill has certainly helped to postpone any action on it.  Over 80% of residence in North Carolina do not want to see the repeal of the current laws on background checks according to one survey.  It does make a difference.  Many thanks to the efforts of the Moms Demand Action group and the Brady Campaign for their efforts to oppose this bill.   Yesterday we sent a donation to Moms Demand Action to help them in their fight for gun safety. Please support these groups as much as you can.  They are having a positive impact on gun violence prevention.

And most importantly – Let your voice be heard!!  It is making a difference.

Encouraging Legislators to Support Background Checks

North Carolina has had a fairly good set of laws for background checks for handgun purchases.  The North Carolina legislators are currently discussing HB 562 which is a bill to eliminate the Brady background checks for handgun purchases at gun shows and online.  Having been informed of this potential action by the Brady Campaign, I placed a call to Rick Caitlin’s office and requested that he oppose this legislation.  I urge all residents of North Carolina to do the same to prevent this type of dangerous legislation from moving forward and becoming law.  Call 18557821436 and ask for your representative and state your name, that you are a North Carolina resident and ask them to oppose bill 562. Background checks are a proven way to prevent those who should not possess guns from obtaining them.  States that have these background checks have a significantly lower level of gun violence.

Thanks to Po Murray from the Newtown Action Alliance group, I was made aware of the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s meeting in Washington, D.C..  Executives from the firearms and ammunition manufacturers, distributors and leading retailers are convening in Washington, D.C. to meet with members of both houses of Congress to promote their agenda.  I called Senator Lindsay Graham, Senator Kelly Ayotte and Representative Paul Ryan and asked them to support background checks not the corporate gun lobby which NSSF represents.  Please call 202 2243121 and ask them to support background checks.  Let your voice be heard.  We can not let organizations such as NSSF out shout us with Congress to get their way.  Gun violence prevention is too important to our country.

“Firearms Not Permitted” Initiative

With a final push last Friday when another 7 stickers were posted in restaurants and bars serving alcohol in the downtown area, the canvassing of Wilmington, NC, has been completed.  We were successful in placing 28 postings and found even more establishments than that who already had a notice posted requesting no firearms be brought into the establishment.

Many thanks to Barbara Brooks for her assistance in contacting the owners and managers of all of the establishments and for providing administrative and motivational support for this initiative.

The thought process for the next initiative is well under way.  Stay tuned!

Of course, we are still not shopping at Harris Teeter until Kroger, who owns them, establishes a reasonable gun violence prevention policy for its customers.  The current open carry policy is not acceptable and only serves to intimidate customers who are only trying to purchase food products for their families.

Be well, be safe and let your voice be heard.

Senator Kay Hagan Early Vote Tour

Senator Kay Hagan stopped in Wilmington to urge on supporters and to encourage early voting.  She gave a very good  speech that helped motivate those of us who have been campaigning for her.  I have spent the last three days going door to door trying to gain more votes for Kay.  She indicated that we have 5 days left to rally all of the registered voters to get out and vote for her.  I already have done early voting and I hope all of you who follow this blog will too.  We need good common sense senators in DC representing the best interests of the people.  Go Kay Hagan!!

We briefly discussed actions she has taken to help veterans and the importance of gun control legislation.

 

 

034 039 036

Meeting Senator Kay Hagan

013It was my pleasure today to meet Senator Kay Hagan at a campaign rally in Wilmington, NC. It provided an opportunity to thank her for voting for broader background checks and to ask her to continue to pursue gun violence prevention legislation. She indicated that she was a strong supporter of gun violence prevention laws even at the state level before she became a U.S. Senator. She said she would continue her efforts and try to help build a safer America.  Please help keep Senator Kay Hagan in office and vote for her.  I know I will.

Support Moms Demand Action with the Kroger Initiative to Halt Open Carry in Stores

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has requested Kroger to establish a no open carry policy in all of its stores. I have signed the petition, called the headquarters and sent an e-mail to support this effort. I recommend that you do the same to stop the dangers of open carrying guns in stores where everyone shops, particularly women and children. My statement to Kroger was that I would walk out of any store if I saw an open carried weapon. Who knows the intent of such a person and the fact that a gun of any kind is available leads me to the conclusion it could be used. I do not want to be any where near a Kroger store that allows this type of activity. We have switched our buying patterns from the local Harris Teeter ( owned by Kroger ) to Trader Joe’s and Food Lion until Kroger gets some gun sense. Please support this effort to help prevent gun violence in our country.

Kelly Report 2014

The Kelly Report 2014 is a comprehensive review of the status of gun violence prevention in the United States.  It offers status as well as common sense recommendations to the epidemic we face in our country of gun violence.  Please read and forward to all persons you think would benefit from its contents.  If you want to be informed on this issue, this is it.  Let your voice be heard!

newtownaction.org/kellyreport2014

Response from Senator Burr

Recently I received a response from Senator Burr to my request that he support broader background checks.  I would like to thank him for his personal letter and for supporting Senator Grassley’s amendment SA 275 to improve and reauthorize the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to criminalize the straw purchasing of firearms and gun trafficking and addressing mental illness in the criminal justice system.  Even though this amendment did not pass, I appreciate Senator Burr voting for it.

It was a disappointment that Senator Burr did not support increased requirements for background checks on private transactions of firearms or the Manchin/Toomey amendment expanding background checks due to serious concerns about how this proposal would affect both privacy of mental health records and due process for our nations veterans.  The exemption of mental health records submitted to NICS from current Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements is a concern to Senator Burr that this could jeopardize the privacy of certain individuals medical records and may deter patients from seeking the mental health care that they may need.  To me this is saying the privacy of mental health patients is more important than the safety of our nations children and citizens.  Furthermore, he believes these individuals with mental health issues should be allowed to buy firearms up to and including assault weapons.  I will never agree with this argument and urge Senator Burr to reconsider his approach to preventing violence with guns.

Regarding the due process for our veterans, I think getting veterans the medical help they need and deserve on a timely basis is a much more important issue he should address than who refers veterans that should be placed in the NICS system.

Our country desperately needs to close the loop hole and provide background checks for all firearm sales whether at a certified gun dealer, a gun fair or on the internet.  Congress can not continue killing our children for such weak arguments as put forth by Senator Burr.  The rights of the victims of gun violence whose numbers are continuing to grow every year in this country must be given a much higher consideration and weight than is currently being done by Congress and Senator Burr in particular.