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.

Firearms Not Permitted Campaign

Yesterday I ordered some additional stickers to continue the campaign in Wilmington to place them in the front window of restaurants and bars serving liquor.  It will continue until we have contacted as many establishments in Wilmington as possible.  Our success rate has been surprisingly good and the reception from owners and managers has been very positive.  It has been encouraging to find all of the places that already have their own signs placed in the front entrance.

Divesting in Mutual Funds Containing Gun Manufacturers

The total stock index fund which I have owned for decades included two large gun manufacturers.  Today I divested all of the money I had in this account and reinvested it in a mutual fund that does not include any gun manufacturers.  The performance over the last 5 years has been very similar for both of these funds.  So you do not need the money from gun manufacturers to maintain a good, balanced, profitable portfolio.  I urge everyone to research your investments and eliminate the gun manufacturers from your own, personal portfolio.

“Firewarms Not Permitted” Sticker Update

There has been a reasonably good response to our “Firearms Not Permitted” sticker campaign in Wilmington, NC.  We have now posted over a dozen stickers and have yet to move into downtown.  It is also very encouraging to see the establishments that already have stickers of their own posted.  We will continue our efforts until we have covered downtown and all of the major commercial streets.  Even some of the locations that have not placed a sticker have agreed to have discussions with their corporate management on the issue.  In addition to  keeping guns and alcohol form mixing we want to keep this subject under discussion and in the public eye until Congress passes a sensible gun violence prevention law with a minimum of broader background checks to include gun fairs and internet purchases. 

Firearms Not Permitted Sticker II

Firearms and Alcohol Do Not Mix

Firearms Not Permitted Sticker in Window

Firearms and Alcohol Do not mix Well

Firearms Not Permitted Campaign in Wilmington, NC

Guns and alcohol are a bad mix and on Jan 24, 2013, we began a campaign to ask restaurants that serve alcohol and bars to post a sign indicating ” Firearms Not Permitted”  Many establishments have posted such signs for which we are very grateful.  We have had some success and have learned much regarding the type of sign that may be acceptable.  We are currently modifying our sign to make it smaller and very easy to interpret by using a a circle with a line through it over a gun and the words ” Guns Not Allowed”.  Interestingly, almost all of the managers want to have the signs posted but some owners won’t allow it.  To our delight there is another individual whom we do not know representing North Carolinians Against Gun Violence that has also approached many of the locations to post such a sign.  We will continue our campaign to try and address all alcohol serving locations in Wilmington.  We have had some limited success to-date and look forward to more in the future.  
 

Support Moms Demand Action “No More Silence” Initiative

In memory of the the anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Moms Demand Action has sponsored a week of “No More Silence” activities.  I have sent e-mails to Representative McIntyre, Senator Hagan and Senator Burr. Today I called Representative McIntyre and Senator Burr ( at both Raleigh and DC offices ) to encourage them to sponsor and/or support common sense gun violence prevention legislation, specifically broader background checks.  Go to momsdemandaction.org and you can get all of the information for participating in the activities they are sponsoring.  

Let your voice be heard!!

Visit to Senator Hagan’s Raleigh Office on Dec. 4, 2013 and Call from Representative Mike McIntyre

Barbara and Charlie Brooks and I had a positive discussion with Michael Jones, Regional Liaison, at Senator Hagan’s Raleigh office.  We again thanked Senator Hagan for supporting broader background checks and asked her to support and sponsor legislation that she would favor with appropriate definitions of assault weapons and magazine limits.  Michael indicated he would pass this on and let her know we paid the visit.  He also stated that community involvement is one of the strongest methods to influence gun violence prevention.  We discussed the gang situation in Wilmington and asked Senator Hagan to help change the North Carolina laws regarding concealed weapons on campuses and in bars.  Michael said her influence with the Republican North Carolina legislature is limited but understood our request to do what she could.  My feeling is this type of visit helps keep the gun violence prevention topic in front of legislators.  We told Michael our goal is a meeting with Senator Hagan in person and that we would keep pressing until some common sense legislation is passed in Congress.

The Moms Demand Action organization has sponsored a ” No More Silence” campaign to represent the 90% of Americans who support broader background checks at a bare minimum and stronger gun violence prevention legislation in general.   Please support their efforts where you can.

After my meeting at Representative Mike McIntyre’s office in Leland, NC he called me on the phone but unfortunately I was not able to receive the call at that time.  Bad luck.  I will try again.  He and his staff get credit from me for following up and making the effort.  If we can only convince him to support gun violence prevention legislation, he can help sponsor legislation to help keep our kids and everyone safer.  Please send him letters so he knows how strongly his constituents feel regarding this topic.

Visit to Representative Mike McIntyre’s Leland Office on Oct 15, 2013

Today I made a trip to Leland to find the local office of Representative Mike McIntyre.  After it was found, I went in and met one of his staff, Roselie.  She was very welcoming and talked to me at length regarding the pros and cons of gun violence prevention legislation.  I was able to encourage her to ask Representative McIntyre to support the following legislation:

H.R. 1565 the King/Thompson bill

S 1290 – Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 2013

H. R. 2648 – Keeping Guns from High Risk Individuals Act

H. R. 1914 – Preventing Victims of Stalking Act of 2013

H. R. 1117 – Domestic Violence Survivors Protection Act 

She agreed to help me at least have a phone conversation directly with Representative McIntyre.  She indicated he is very willing to visit with constituents but it is difficult to set it up with his schedule.  

Support Moms Demand Action

Today is the day to call your representatives and make them aware of the 9 women killed each week by gun violence from an intimate partner.  Request their support in passing common sense legislation to braoden background checks that will help this situation.  I have attempted today to make the calls and , due to the government shutdown, only was able to leave a message for both Senators Hagan and Burr.  Representative McIntyre had a full mailbox and I could not even leave a message at his Washington, DC office.  I was able to get through to a voicemail at his Leland office (9103991134) and did leave a message there.

Let’s do what we can to support this effort from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and try to get legislation passed that will make women safer.

Jenn Hoppe also sent out an e-mail with a request to e-mail your Congressmen.  Use their simple format to easily send a very well written letter to each Congressman with just one click.  Go to momsdemandaction.org.  

Newtown Action Alliance Anniversary Strategy

Newtown Action Alliance is planning some activities for the anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  Please support their efforts.  Click on attachement to see their announcement.

Newtown Action Alliance One Year Anniversary Strategy

Support Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Jenn Hoppe, the Program Director for Moms Demand Action, sent out a request today for everyone to take action next week to make our representatives aware of the 9 women shot dead every week on average by their husband or intimate partner.  She requests the following –

Monday, Oct 14, 2013 Call your Members of Congress and tell them to support expanded background checks and other common sense legislation.  You can call the US Capitol switchboard at 2022243121 to reach Senators and Representatives.  In North Carolina you can call directly to Senator Kay Hagan at 2022246342, Senator Richard Burr at 2022243154 and for me in my district Representative Mike McIntyre at 2022252731

Tuesday, Oct 15 Join the Thunderclap they plan.  I have signed up GunControlToday to be part of this on Facebook.  If you wish to do so independently you can go to momsdemandaction.org 

Wednesday, Oct 16 Tweet from 1-3 pm facts about domestic gun violence.  I do not have a Tweet account so I encourage those that do to participate.

Thursday, Oct 17 E-mail Congress and tell legislators to enact common sense reforms to prevent gun violence.  Moms Demand Action has an e-mail tool to reach all of your members of Congress.  Use it!  Go to their website.

Friday, Oct 18 Post photos of a number 9 you have designed to Facebook – on your own page and your Congress members’ pages and send your photos to photos@momsdemandaction.org.  This is to remind the members of Congress of the 9 women who are killed each week by gun violence.

Jenn and her daughter met us at the steps of the Capitol building at the end of our March from Newtown, CT to Washington, DC.  Her support of GunControlToday should be returned with our help during this week long event to maintain the pressure on Congress and keep this topic in everyones mind until common sense legislation to prevent gun violence is passed.  

Support Moms Demand Action

Support Moms Demand Action

This organization can make a difference.  Be a part of it!

Additional Activities on Sept 17, 2013

Due to the horrific events at the Washington Navy Yard, the hearing scheduled by Senator Durbin on “Stand Your Ground” was postponed from 10 am Sept 17 to an unspecified date and time.  While disappointed that I could not attend this hearing, I did take the opportunity to visit Senator Hagan’s, Senator Burr’s and Representative McIntyre’s offices to urge each to support gun violence prevention legislation.  The events of the previous day only highlighted in my mind the importance of pursuing improved gun violence prevention legislation.  It is sad to think that one of the factors allowing Alexis to obtain a gun is the 1986 Firearms Owners Protection Act which made it more convenient for gun buyers.  According to Kristen Rand, the legislative director at the Violence Policy Center,  “The convenience of the gun owner always seems to trump the right of victims not to be shot”.  This must change.  Let Your Voice Be Heard!

March on Capitol Hill to Promote Gun Violence Prevention with NAA, Sept 17, 2013

Yesterday was an exceptional day with dozens of concerned individuals including me meeting with over forty representatives to convey our dismay at the continued lack of action by Congress on gun violence prevention.  Many of the participants were gun violence victims or parents and children of gun violence victims.  Their stories are compelling to any normal, caring individual.  They were allowed to tell their stories to the over 40 representative offices visited and ask for each representative’s help in preventing further victims of gun violence.  Our group included two young men whose lives were forever changed due to gun violence,  stopping a career in one case and permanently handicapping in another.  The parents of the young girl from Chicago who participated at a function for President Obama and was killed by a gun shortly thereafter where present and determined to make a difference.  Another young man involved yesterday lost both of his parents to gun violence and has been advocating for improved gun violence prevention ever since.  Parents of victims from the Aurora and Sandy Hook tragedies were present and actively trying to create a change in the attitude of Congress to support common sense gun violence prevention legislation.  Their courage to be a part of this event and to publicly tell their heart wrenching stories to make the gun violence issue real to these representatives was inspiring.  I wish you all could meet them and see their determination.  It was an honor to participate in this event alongside such courageous people.  Many groups were represented at this event including but not limited to the Newtown Action Alliance, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Coalition Against Gun Violence and numerous others.  The letter that was given to the representatives had over 100 organizations supporting this effort including GunControlToday.  The total number of individuals represented by these organizations is over 10 million people.  We are making progress but we need over 100 million to voice their concern for this issue.  

The letter to the representatives that was delivered yesterday listed the names of over 8000 gun violence victims that have occurred since the Sandy Hook tragedy trying to encourage the representatives into action.   At the meetings I attended the argument against passing broader back ground checks centered around mental health issues.  The representatives felt the civil rights of mental health individuals were not being protected sufficiently by the proposed legislation.  It is important to protect civil rights and we encouraged them to consider the civil rights of the gun violence victims too.  It is interesting to note that the potential infringement of the civil rights in a mental health case has been more influential with the representatives than the civil rights of an innocent person who has been shot dead with a gun.  We have an epidemic in this country of gun violence and need to take action to prevent it spreading further.  

The other discussion point raised by some is the real matter of enforcement.  The argument is that the current laws are not enforced so why go to the trouble of adding more laws that will not be enforced.  They have stated that law enforcement officials have told one representative that broader background checks would not make any difference.  There is evidence to the contrary.  Statistics from those locations that have passed broader background checks clearly demonstrate a reduction  in gun violence, particularly for women in domestic violence cases.  We must as a country take the time and energy to pass additional legislation that can potentially help stop the avalanche of gun violence in this great country.  Why does Congress not want to at least try.  Because it takes an effort and may not be as effective as we would like?  We must do what we can and, if it could help, why would we not do it.  Every state that has had the unfortunate occurrence of a mass gun killing has passed significantly improved gun violence prevention legislation.  Does every state have to experience this type of tragedy before we initiate federal legislation that will help prevent such actions.  I do not think so and urge you to be involved.             Let Your Voice Be Heard! 

Demonstration in Washington, DC on Sept 17 and 18 – Consider Attending

There is a rally initiated by the Newtown Action Alliance to address the Congress regarding action on gun violence prevention on the nine month anniversary of the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School.   This event will present a list of all gun victims since the tragedy in Newtown, CT to Congress men and women.  Each congressional office will also receive a hand delivered letter demanding expanded background checks.  I am planning to go and support this effort and would welcome anyone from Wilmington who would like to ride along.  My plans are to leave on Sept 16 in the afternoon, stay overnight, attend activities on Sept 17 and return home that evening.  I will meet the group at 10 am in the Dirksen Senate Office Room 226 for Senator Durbin’s Stand Your Ground Hearing.  Please check the Senate Judiciary Committee website to confirm location since it could change – http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/.  You can obtain all the information on this event at the Newtownaction.org website under “Take Action” ( see below copy ).

Let your voice be heard!

Nine Month Sandy Hook Anniversary Trip to Washington D.C.

Join Us In Washington, D.C.!

September 14th marks the nine month anniversary of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. According to Slate’s estimate as of August 30, 2013, ~ 7,653 Americans have been killed by guns since Newtown (excluding suicides).  The casualties of gun violence grow each and every day and there has been no federal action taken by congress to pass what the majority of Americans support – universal background checks to save lives and make our communities safer.

In honor of the 26 lives lost on December 14, 2012 and the lives of 7,653 killed by guns since that day, the Newtown Action Alliance is traveling to Washington D.C. with gun violence survivors and victims from across the country on September 17th and 18th to participate in the following activities:

Attend Senator Durbin’s Stand Your Ground Hearing:

Hearing Before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights:

Date: September 17, 2013

Time: 10:00 a.m.

Location: Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 226

(Room location is tentative; please check Senate Judiciary Committee website to confirm – http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/)

Speak Directly To Congress:

On September 17th in the afternoon and throughout the day on September 18th , members of the Newtown Action Alliance and other advocates from across the nation will meet with both Democratic and Republican  congressional leaders.

Deliver Important Letters and Lists:

Throughout the two days, we will pound the pavement to visit every congressional office buildings in D.C. to hand-deliver letters to congress demanding background checks and a list of gun violence victims since Newtown.  The background check letter has been signed by over 100 gun violence prevention alliance partners across the country with gun violence prevention organizations from over 25 states.

If your organization is interested in signing the letter then please complete this form:  https://docs.google.com/a/newtownaction.org/forms/d/12HZfMj-g6SIIj_o8lB96yO4gofblklUAFeMYlTQhk2Q/viewform

Press Conference with Legislators:

We will be holding a press conference with key congressional leaders at noon on September 18, 2013 in the Capitol Building.  Please review the video from our 6-month D.C. press conference:

Tentative Schedule:

September 16, 2013
  • Out of state guests will arrive (some Newtown NAA members will greet out of state guests)
September 17, 2013
  • 6AM Advocates from Newtown, surrounding towns and urban areas in CT will travel down to DC-expected arrival time between 12:30-1PM
  • 10:00AM Stand Your Ground Hearing-Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 226
  • 12:30-1:30 Quick meeting at Methodist building to meet our groups
  • 1:30-6:00PM Meetings with legislators
  • 6:00PM Return to hotel
  • 7:00PM Dinner at the hotel
  • 8:00PM Social at the hotel
 September 18, 2013
  • 7:00AM Breakfast at hotel
  • 8:00AM Departure to the Capitol
  • 9:00AM-Noon Meeting with legislators
  • Noon-NAA Press Conference in Room us SVC 203-02
  • 1:00PM-6:00PM Additional legislative meetings
  • 6:00PM Newtown contingent will travel back home.
  • Out of state guests will travel back home.

Recent Activity

Hello to all following our efforts to improve gun violence prevention.  Last week I sent donations to both Newtown Action Alliance and Moms Demand Action to help support their courageous efforts to address Congress and local establishments such as Starbucks and Staples.  I encourage all to do the same.  These groups are organized and able to make an impact.  With our help they will keep the pressure on until Congress actually does something to help gun violence prevention.  Today I delivered a letter ( form provided by Moms Demand Action ) to the manager of our local Staples requesting they set a policy of no guns permitted on the premises that was signed by Judy and me.  The manager was very cordial and stated that this was not Staples corporate policy.  I encouraged the manager to request a change in this policy.   She indicated that she would pass on my request.  They need to hear from us.  Let your voice be heard!

Clarification on Mental Health Issues

Today Margaret Coulter, Health Policy Assistant for Senator Richard Burr, and I had a constructive conversation regarding the impact of mental health issues on gun violence prevention legislation.  Margaret indicated that Senator Burr had concerns pertaining to the privacy protection wording in the bill that was not passed.  He believes the HIPA laws would have been circumvented with the wording used in the bill and therefore could not support it.      He felt the bill could exempt HIPA and he did not agree with doing that.  She stated these were some of the unintended consequences of the bill that prevented Senator Burr from voting for it.  There is no doubt this is an important point but I indicated that the gun violence in this country is out of control  and needs to be addressed.   I asked Margaret to request Senator Burr to author a gun violence prevention bill he would support that addresses broader background checks, clear definitions for assault weapons and magazine capacity limitations.  She said she would tell him my thoughts and thanked me for contacting his office.

Www.newtownaction.org

Www.newtownaction.org