All Articles Tagged "gun control"

The Pointless Theater of #NoBillNoBreak

June 24th, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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Listen, I consider myself a patron of the arts, but I have to give a half-a-star to that little dog and pony show that happened on the floors of Congress the other day.

I’m talking about the #NoBillNoBreak congressional sit-in.

Or as I like to call it #NoBillNoBreakfast – because breakfast was the only meal those revolutionaries of the managerial class was going to sit-out.

Seriously, how do folks do something and do nothing at the same time?

Those jokers held a sit-in after the vote on the two gun control measures had already failed and Congress as a whole was about to adjourn for summer vacation.

Because it was about the pageantry. Like “Toddlers and Tiaras”….

Yeah I know, I sound cynical but those congress people were out on that floor waving signs and chanting hashtagging, talking about it was an impromptu protest, even though all of their protest material was pre-printed. We had congress people out on that floor, puffing out chests and vowing to fight like they never had before, like we didn’t know this was an election year.

Even Bernie Sanders, the alleged radical of the Hill, showed up and offered his support for the sit-in and the gun control measures; which, when you think about it, is pretty much par the course with him. (Ahem, the crime bill)

To be frank, what I saw was a rip off and mockery of the few years of protesting, which has been done in the names of Black lives. The same folks who were wiggling out confrontations with protestors and telling Black Lives Matter that “protestors should respect everyone’s right to be heard” are now clasping hands, singing we shall overcome and being disruptive.

And don’t get me started on the Republicans, the party of No. The party of anything the Democrats do, we’ll say the opposite. I can see why the vast majority of their voters hate them too. At this point, it’s hard to tell who is the most unprincipled of the bunch.

If this is how the Democrats and Republicans fight, well consider me a proud independent.

And seriously, funk master flex these gun control bills.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S IN THEM?

Of course not because network television and internet newsy-type clips ain’t bother to tell folks anything other than some contrived and vague nonsense about gun control. Imagine that, 24 hours of available news time and not one word about what this supposed historic sit in was really over?

Anyway, here are the two bills, which were actually all amendments to the Justice Department’s spending bill, that supposedly had the democrats so riled up and acting like they couldn’t take it anymore:

First, is the “No-Fly, No-Buy” amendment that was introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., which would allow the attorney general to deny a gun sale to anyone if she has a “reasonable belief” that the buyer was likely to engage in terrorism or listed on the government’s very controversial “no fly” terrorist watch list.

And the second proposal was an amendment introduced by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, that would required background checks on every gun purchaser at gun shops and on the internet.

There were two other gun control amendments, sponsored by Republicans, but they were just as ridiculous as the Democrats’ proposals.

Okay that’s not totally fair: I’ll give Sen. Murphy a hat tip on the universal FBI background check. But after almost two weeks of campaigning for a ban on semi-assault weapons, a background check proposal, particularly a recycled one that failed once before after Sandy Hook, seems a little bit like a let down.

Sure we all know the Republicans wouldn’t have let a semi-assault weapon ban pass. But we also know that they weren’t going to let any gun control measure pass either and that includes the expanded background checks. So if we were trying to make statement, why make a half-ass one?

And don’t get me started on the other bill.

Heck, how are we going to introduce a bill centered around a list so controversial and error-prone that it once included Rep. John Lewis, their comrade, on it?

Not to mention how is a ban on guns for those on the No-Fly list gonna address the domestic terrorism problem, which many experts believe is far more a threat to American values, safety and liberties than any Jihadist organization in the Middle East? And what about those acts that were not called terrorism, like the Charleston shooting?

What could either background checks or No Fly lists bans have done to stop Dylann Roof from entering a church and murdering nine people in prayer?

Not a damn thing.

But I suspect that was the point; to not to do anything. Instead, this was all theater meant to show voters how ridiculously oppositional the Republicans are compared to the Democrats.

But who didn’t know that?

And quite frankly, it is all still gutless. Because if we are going to do that for something we don’t believe in, then why not for the actual stuff that matters.

Like, sit-in for Flint.

Or sit-in to end police brutality.

Hell, sit in for actual gun control legislation.

But if we ain’t about that life then go sit down somewhere else.

When It Comes To Gun Violence, America Could Learn A Thing From Australia

June 17th, 2016 - By Christine Mwaturura
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When people ask me why I moved from America to Australia, I hate to admit that one of the reasons was gun violence. It seems almost outlandish to cite gun violence as a reason for shipping oneself off to the farthest corner of the globe, but while I was living in America, the fear of being gunned down by a random assailant burrowed itself into the back of my mind and continued to grow with every occurrence of a mass shooting.

Here in Australia, the news is uneventful (and I’d like for it to stay that way). But Australian news could have very easily turned out to be like the American news we see today, had it not been for the swift gun control measures put in place by the Australian government following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre where 35 people were killed by a mentally unstable gunman. Between 1996 and 2014, the incidence of gun related deaths dropped dramatically — by about half. Moreover, by some definitions, there have been no mass shootings in Australia since 1996 (by other counts, one has occurred). Let’s discuss why. 

Australian gun law reforms

Under the National Firearms Agreement of 1996, Australia took a unified approach to regulating gun ownership across all states. As summarized by the Library of Congress, the reforms included:

a ban on certain semiautomatic and self-loading rifles and shotguns, standard licensing and permit criteria, storage requirements and inspections, and greater restrictions on the sale of firearms and ammunition.  Firearms license applicants would be required to take a safety course and show a “genuine reason” for owning a firearm, which could not include self-defense.  The reasons for refusing a license would include “reliable evidence of a mental or physical condition which would render the applicant unsuitable for owning, possessing or using a firearm.”  A waiting period of twenty-eight days would apply to the issuing of both firearms licenses and permits to acquire each weapon.

Alongside legislative reforms to implement the National Firearms Agreement, a national buyback program for prohibited weapons took place in 1996-1997 and resulted in more than 700,000 weapons being surrendered.

Some Second Amendment enthusiasts reading that may think, “Wow, what a nation of sticklers!” Yup, Australia might be the uncool kid who shows up to the skating park wearing knee and elbow pads, plus a helmet. But I’m good with uncool for the sake of safety.

But gun laws infringe on individuals’ freedoms, right?

We live in a world that looks drastically different than the world of the 18th century when the Bill of Rights came about: hate propaganda can now spread rapidly and easily via the internet, we see unprecedented levels of mental health problems, and gun technology has advanced significantly. It would be negligent to ignore these very different circumstances in which we live in the context of public safety and the laws that are meant to protect the public. Or, put in another way by an Australian gun owner who wrote in an article in Time, “Australia is a great country. You can go hunting, you can go shooting. And as long as you hurt nobody and abide the law you can continue to do it. That to me is freedom. The idea of having people own guns with no concept of gun safety and no reason to have a gun? That is not my idea of freedom.”

But “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” right?

Despite empirical evidence that more stringent gun laws do reduce gun related deaths, some people will argue that gun access is not the real issue at hand because, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” I do agree that gun violence is a symptom of other societal issues such as: poverty, mental illness, depression, racism, homophobia etc… These are very real issues which certainly deserve attention. However, treating the root cause of a problem does not necessarily have to preclude the treatment of its symptoms. If I go to the hospital with a broken leg, I want the doctor to fix my leg and also to give me pain meds. I wonder how much longer America can ignore this symptom–how many more lives need to be lost at the hands of armed attackers.

While it might not be feasible to 100% replicate the Australian solution in America, I believe that there are worthwhile elements of the Australian example that America can pull from in its fight against gun violence.

When I hear about the mass shootings in America, a place that I grew to love and called home, I am filled with both deep empathy and grave disappointment. The sad thing is that as I write this, I know that there is a good chance that in a few months there will be yet another mass shooting tragedy in America, and the world will go through the same cycle of outrage and frenetic social media hashtagging #PrayFor[insert name of city] #WeAre[insert name of city]. Often times people are left shaking their heads, wondering what they can do to help. There are grassroots movements to end gun violence (like the Everytown movement) that offer practical suggestions and resources for individuals who would like to get involved by signing a petition, completing a form letter to send to congress, donating to the movement, or getting information about how to connect to your senator. The time is now to speak up–what are you going to do to end gun violence?

“Thoughts & Prayers Are Not Enough” Pres. Obama Delivers Stern Remarks On Need For Gun Control Laws After Oregon Shooting

October 2nd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Yesterday, when I heard the news that there was yet another mass shooting, this time at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, I sighed. I asked myself if I knew anyone in Oregon and then checked to see if that person was ok.

At the time, they were reporting that there were 10-15 deaths and I took a brief moment to think about the loss of 10-15 lives. And then I went on about my day. Mass shootings are all too commonplace in America and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t desensitized to people being killed as they’re trying to go about their everyday lives.

And that’s sad.

Yesterday evening, as the details of the shooting and facts about the shooter, who was killed, continued to trickle in, President Obama held a press conference discussing the shooting and how it evidences the need for stricter, more effective gun control laws.

He was not playing around with this speech. Watching him speak so emphatically, President Obama reminded me of the type of  lecture your parents would give, in the middle of the night, when you just couldn’t seem to do the right thing. He looked angry and yet exhausted.

Check out the most poignant words from his speech below and watch the full video below.

…America will wrap everyone whose grieving with our prayers and our love. But as I said, just a few months ago and I said a few months before that, and I said, ‘Each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough.’ It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted some place else in America, next week or a couple months from now.

We don’t yet know why this individual did what he did. And it’s fair to say that anybody who does this has a sickness in their minds, regardless of what they think their motivations may be. But we are not the only country on earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people. We are the only advanced country on earth that sees these kind of mass shootings every few months.

You know earlier this year, I answered a question in an interview by saying ‘The United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient, common sense gun safety laws even in the face of repeated mass killings.’ And later that day there was a mass shooting in a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. That day.

Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine, the conversation in the aftermath of it. We’ve become numb to this. We talked about this after Columbine, and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newton, after Aurora, after Charleston. It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.

Later in the speech he spoke about the opposition:

Somebody, somewhere will comment and say Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.

I would ask news organizations, because I won’t put these facts forward, to tally up the number of Americans who have been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence and post those side by side on your news reports.

We spend over a trillion dollars and pass countless laws and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?

This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen, every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.

I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. But based on my experience as president, I can’t guarantee that. And that’s terrible to say… and it can change.

May God bless the memories of those who were killed today. May He bring comfort to their families and courage to the injured as they fight their way back. And may He give us the strength to come together and find the courage to change. Thank you.

 

Serious Question: Isn’t It Time We Start Thinking About Disarming The Police?

April 9th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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Another American cop has was caught on video murdering an unarmed Black man, and the only surprise here is that he was officially charged for it.

This piece was going to be about how Black people should start carrying guns to protect themselves from the police. However, after thinking about it for a short time, I realize now that such an idea will not work.

The laws will not allow it (because the state would just ignore it). The judges will not allow it. Morev, many in our community would not allow it. The likely outcome in such a scenario is that more Black people would be killed unjustifiably, but with the excuse that they died because they had a gun.

So I have another idea: Let’s disarm the police. No seriously, think about it…

Last August, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Mike Brown. His alleged crime was shoplifting a box of blunts from a local grocery store and then proceeding to walk in the middle of the road. He was unarmed, and witnesses present at the time of his death claimed that he was running away from Wilson when he was first shot. However, the unjust yet legally justified killing of Brown is only half of the story here:

As local citizens of the small Missouri town, with a population of 21,000, made their way out into the streets to protest the suspicious shooting and demand answers, we watched as the local police department deployed armed military style tactics on unarmed citizens. As Glenn Greenwald noted in his piece for The Intercept:

Their uniform would be mistaken for a soldier’s if it were not for their “Police” patches. They wear green tops, and pants fashioned after the U.S. Marine Corps MARPAT camouflage pattern. And they stand in front of a massive uparmored truck called a Bearcat, similar in look to a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, or as the troops who rode in them call it, the MRAP. They have short-barreled 5.56-mm rifles based on the military M4 carbine, with scopes that can accurately hit a target out to 500 meters. On their side they carry pistols. On their front, over their body armor, they carry at least four to six extra magazines, loaded with 30 rounds each.

While there was looting and rioting sparked by the killing, the looting and rioting was no worse than what happens after a college football team wins–or loses–a championship. And yet these military-grade local police rolled their tanks into a town and threw tear gas and smoke bombs at protesters. They also shot rubber bullets and deployed LRAD sonic cannons. They beat and roughed up not only average citizens, but the journalists covering the protests as well. For the next several months, Ferguson, which, again has a population of only 21,000, became an occupied small country.

In spite of the unbelievable nature of what happened there, Ferguson is pretty much reflective of the kind of militarization that has been happening to our local police departments across the country for years. It is only getting worse. According to the New York Times, over the last eight years, local law enforcement agencies have added “tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft” to their arsenal.

And according to a report released last year by the ACLU titled War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing, this militarization of local law enforcement has been paid for mostly through grants given by the Department of Defense’s 1033 Program, the Department of Homeland Security’s grants to local law enforcement agencies, and the Department of Justice’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. The 1033 program has made it possible for an estimated 500 local law enforcement agencies across the country to receive Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. These vehicles were built to withstand armor-piercing bombs found on the road.

The report also finds that more times than not, these paramilitary weapons, as well as tactics, are deployed mostly in communities of color. They are used to do everything from drug raids to executing a search warrant. Only a small handful of deployments (seven percent) were for hostage, barricade, or active shooter scenarios, and in the majority of those cases, the targets were white people.

And if you think these well-armed departments are to ensure the safety of these brave officers who put themselves on the frontlines in the war against crime, the report also notes the following:

SWAT deployments often and unnecessarily entailed the use of violent tactics and equipment, including armored personnel carriers; use of violent tactics and equipment was shown to increase the risk of bodily harm and property damage. Of the incidents studied in which SWAT was deployed to search for drugs in a person’s home, the SWAT teams either forced or probably forced entry into a person’s home using a battering ram or other breaching device 65 percent of the time. For drug investigations, the SWAT teams studied were almost twice as likely to force entry into a person’s home than not, and they were more than twice as likely to use forced entry in drug investigations than in other cases. In some instances, the use of violent tactics and equipment caused property damage, injury, and/or death.

That’s right: Instead of maintaining public safety, these well-armed departments often make matters worse.

But an unarmed police officer is less of a threat to the public than an armed officer because it forces officers to use better discretion when entering potentially dangerous situations. Imagine that…

And for those wondering how an unarmed police officer would protect his or her self, as pointed out by the website Disarm The Police, FBI data has shown that in 50 percent of the murders of American cops, suspects attacked the officers before the officers had the opportunity to remove their weapons from their holsters. In other words, an armed cop isn’t guaranteed to be safe.

Last year, a D.C. councilman became a national laughing stock for suggesting that a disarmed police force was the best way to encourage better relations between police and the community.

According to the Washington Times:

“My staff won’t let me tell you that I think we ought to get rid of guns in this city, and that police shouldn’t have guns, so I’m not going to tell you that,” said council member David Grosso, at-large independent, at a Wednesday night council committee hearing. “But I think we have to re-imagine the way that we relate to one another across the board and then change MPD.”

As naïve as it sounds, I honestly feel like Grosso had a valid point. Deadly force should only be used as the last resort when all other peaceful means have been exhausted. But more and more, these well-armed cops reach for their guns first and think about peace later. Point blank, if they have guns, and the support of the state, they will use them. This is no way for a civilized country to behave.

School Allows HS Seniors to Pose With Guns In the Yearbook, Because America

October 27th, 2014 - By Rich
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A Nebraska high school recently updated its yearbook guidelines for graduates giving them even more options for their senior portraits.  In addition to being able to use things like musical instruments or sports equipment as props, students at Broken Bow High School can now pose with guns.

While many would object to teens being allowed to brandish firearms in a yearbook photo, folks in the rural community of Broken Bow think it’s perfectly acceptable as long as the portraits are “done tastefully” and are taken off campus.

The rule change came after parents pressed the school board to allow teens to show off their weapons because many engage in hunting, skeet shooting, and other hobbies involving firearms. The school board approved the measure on Monday in a unanimous 6-0 vote.

“The board I believe felt they wanted to give students who are involved in those kinds of things the opportunity to take a senior picture with their hobby, with their sport, just like anybody with any other hobby or sport,” Superintendent Mark Sievering said.

The new guidelines will not give seniors carte blanche to take just any kind of photo. Pictures with drugs, alcohol, or tobacco will not be allowed, and images with firearms will be examined on a “case by case basis,” said Matthew Haumont, a school board member.

Despite the overwhelming support for the change, some are questioning if allowing weapons in school photos sends the right message, but school officials aren’t concerned.

“I understand that in different cultures this would be viewed differently, but in the rural, hunting culture here, it is something that is viewed in a positive way,” Sievering said.

While hunting and sport shooting are a way of life in Broken Bow, I doubt we’ll see school districts across the country copying their lead, especially in urban areas where gun violence is rampant, or in smaller communities where fears of mass shootings have lead many schools to adopt strict zero tolerance policies.

Still, the folks in Broken Bow believe the updated guidelines are a good thing for students.

“For me as a sportsman, I think the policy’s important because it allows those kids who are doing those things a chance to demonstrate what they’re doing and to celebrate that. I think that’s important and fair in our country.”

 

What do you think of the school’s policy? Would you let your teen pose with a gun in their yearbook picture? Weigh-in! 

Moms Group Starts Ad Campaign Against Kroger’s Open Gun Policy

September 9th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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kroger adNo more shopping with guns!” says a mothers group to Kroger.

Kroger allows customers to carry firearms in its stores, and the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a gun control group supported by mega wealthy New York City former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, wants them to stop.

The organization is taking out half a dozen newspapers with ads meant to get the grocery giant to stop permitting customers to openly carry firearms in its stores. The ads will be featured on the websites of USA Today, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Columbus Dispatch, the Houston Chronicle, The Detroit News, and the Detroit Free Press, and on a billboard in Cincinnati, where Kroger’s corporate headquarters is located. The ads will appear in some of the print editions as well. Ads will also be taken out in the print edition of The Tennessean.

In the  ads there will be images of shoppers doing seemingly harmless things that are currently banned in the nation’s largest grocery chain — such as eating ice cream or shopping without a shirt on — beside images of people carrying rifles. Unbelievably, it’s not the person with the gun that Kroger has a problem with.

According to a spokeswoman for Everytown for Gun Safety, the umbrella group that includes Moms Demand Action, the ad costs ran in the “six figures.”

Moms Demand Action decided to take this approach after several shootings happened in or near Kroger stores. Kroger, which has about 2,500 locations in the U.S.,  said that it would continue to follow local gun laws.

Moms Demand Action has gotten  Chipotle, Sonic, Target and Starbucks to all change their gun policies.

“Moms Demand Action’s most effective technique has been to circulate photos taken by people who support the right to openly carry weapons in public. Some of the photos depict people holding large rifles as they wait in line to buy a burrito or order a hamburger,” reports The Huffington Post

The earlier campaigns by Moms Demand Action were mainly played out on Twitter and Facebook.

“These images bring into stark contrast Kroger policies that prohibit skateboards, food and a lack of appropriate attire in stores, but allow the open carry of loaded guns,” said Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, in a statement. “Businesses have an obligation to protect their employees and patrons.”

How Young Is Too Young to Handle a Gun?

August 29th, 2014 - By Rich
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On Monday, a 9-year-old New Jersey girl accidently shot and killed a firearms instructor as he was trying to show her how to shoot an automatic weapon. The girl was reportedly firing an Uzi at an Arizona gun range when she lost control of the weapon and fatally shot the instructor in the head. The story has, predictably, made national news, igniting a debate about whether or not young children should be allowed to handle guns.

While many young people safely shoot rifles and other hunting weapons, it’s hard to imagine why a 9-year-old girl would be allowed to shoot a military-grade firearm like an Uzi. Popularized in films and music, an Uzi is a compact submachine gun first created for use by the Israeli military. The powerful gun can easily shoot 10 bullets per second and pumps out around 600 rounds in a minute. Though semi-automatic Uzis are legal in some states, letting a 9-year-old child handle such a weapon—whether it’s legal or not—seems absurd.

Gun enthusiast Mel Robbins explains why letting a child shoot a machine gun is a horrible idea:

“This is not a shotgun,” Robbins writes on CNN.com. “As this Uzi pumps out 10 bullets a second, the kickback is substantial. It is designed to be fired by a soldier during war, not a fourth-grader on vacation. It’s too powerful, it’s too big and it’s too deadly. Many adult novices can’t control that weapon.”

Many gun activists agree with Robbins, but won’t go as far as suggesting lawmakers pass legislation that will keep kids away from guns. One attorney speaking to the Los Angeles Time said this tragedy shouldn’t prevent parents from allowing their children to shoot guns.

“Anti-gun people will exploit it into mass hysteria about kids and guns,” he said. “I don’t think you should keep kids away from firearms. This shouldn’t keep people from taking their kids to the range.”

Though many have questioned the need to allow a child to handle such a powerful weapon, outspoken gun rights group, the National Riffle Association (NRA), has been uncharacteristically mum on the issue. After the horrific shootings in Newtown, Conn. and Isla Vista, Calf., the NRA came out strong vowing to fight any attempt to pass common sense legislation that would restrict the rights of gun owners. And so far, they seem to be succeeding.

Unlike other industrialized nations that do not have the amount of guns in circulation, or shooting deaths, America’s love affair with guns in longstanding. However, as fatal shootings continue to plague urban centers across the country, and as mass killings continue to claim the lives of many Americans, putting machine guns in the hands of kids seems like a wholly irresponsible way to teach children how to use weapons.

 

Photo: Mohave County Sheriff’s Office

 

What do you think? How young is too young to handle a gun?

Compton Gets Rifles: Do School Police Officers Really Need Military-grade Weapons?

August 20th, 2014 - By Rich
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It’s been 11 days since 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by a Ferguson police officer, and people are still demanding answers. While President Obama acknowledged, “In too many communities, too many young men of color are left behind and seen only as objects of fear,” Ferguson residents have continued to take to the streets to protest the lack of progress, information, and continued disrespect by local law enforcement, and the world has been surprised by the militarized response from the police.

Night after night, peaceful protestors (and the media) in Ferguson have been met with teargas, rubber bullets, flash bang grenades, and ear-piercing sirens by law enforcement officers dressed like they’re going to war, instead of protecting American citizens. The heavy-handed approach by police in Ferguson has led many to question federal programs that pass military-grade weapons from the Defense Department down to local governments, and others have asked why local police forces are becoming more and more militarized at all.

On the heels of this debate, The Atlantic reported that the school board in Compton, California recently approved a measure that would allow school police to carry AR-15 assault riffles on campuses.  Compton Unified Police Chief William Wu told the school board his department will use the assault weapons to “save lives” if schools are hit by an terrorist attack or experience a mass shooting. Despite the Wu’s statements, many parents and community leaders are uneasy about having such high-powered weapons in the hands of school police.

Francisco Orozco, a recent high school grad and founder of the Compton Democratic Club said the riffles are unnecessary. “The school police has been very notorious in the community and in reality has never had to shoot anyone before,” he said. “So this escalation of weapons we feel is very unnecessary.”

Compton isn’t the only Southern California school district that has military-grade weapons. Los Angeles School PD, Baldwin Park School PD, Santa Ana School PD, Fontana School PD, and San Bernandino School PD all have AR-15 riffles in their arsenal.

As we continue to watch in horror as unarmed men and women of color like Mike Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Rekia Boyd, Ezell Ford, and Omar Abrego are killed by police across the country, we have to ask ourselves if we should also expect to see the same levels of violence at our schools.

 

What do you think? Should school police carry military-grade weapons? 

Up In Arms Over Gun Control! 10 Black Female Politicians Who Support Stricter Gun Laws

May 6th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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A still from the Moguldom Studios film "Gunland."

A still from the Moguldom Studios film “Gunland.”

The nation has endured tragedy after tragedy due to gun violence. But the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Today, more than half of Americans are in favor of stricter gun laws. Still, it’s difficult to get a gun control discussion going in this country.

Hearing the cries of their constituents loud and clear, black female politicians near and far are lobbying to strengthen lax gun laws, advocating for policies that support background checks,  the ban of assault weapons, the requirement of child-safety locks on guns and more. Let’s take a look at our African-American female lawmakers who are working for change in firearm regulations.

The latest documentary from Moguldom Studios, Gunland, about the epidemic of gun violence in Chicago, is available for purchase on iTunes, Google Play and VHX now! Learn more here and purchase here. Buy it now!

Two Nationwide Campaigns Seek To Curb Gun Violence Through New Measures

April 29th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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A December rally in Chicago for gun control. via Getty Images

A December rally in Chicago for gun control. via Getty Images

In the face of persistent gun violence and continued lobbying by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other pro-gun groups, new anti-gun violence campaigns have sprung up that seek to tackle the issue from new angles.

The Campaign to Unload has gathered those affected by gun violence as well as more than 30 organizations to defund the gun companies that receive investment from 401K plans.

“A vast majority of Americans support common-sense changes in public policy while respecting the rights of lawful gun owners, but a small number of well-financed extremists have blocked the political process,” the campaign writes on its website. “Since funding is now driving the process, de-funding the industry has become an appropriate and important priority for those committed to sensible reform.”

Video from the campaign is available below.

Unload Your 401k from Unload Your 401k on Vimeo.

A new group, composed of Moms Demand Action, Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns and, once again, those who have been impacted by gun violence have also created a group called Everytown for Gun Safety, which is fighting for gun law reform. They’ve created a 21-page report about the NRA and how it has shifted focus over the past decades and released a PSA in time for the NRA annual convention, which took place over the weekend. Former mayor Bloomberg has pledged to back the effort with $50 million.

We’ve got their first PSA after the jump.