The lights are somehow brighter at 2 a.m., fluorescent and imposing, shining directly onto the hard white table in the center of the room. The paramedics wheel in a gurney with a lifeless body, blood-stained clothes and the face of a boy. The words that follow are too familiar, ”16-year-old male, no known past medical, GSW to the abdomen and right lower extremity …” The boy is transferred to the trauma table and the battle for another life begins.
With the advent of March For Our Lives and the success of pro-gun control candidates in the 2018 midterm elections, today’s gun violence prevention movement is larger and more energized than ever. Meanwhile, the NRA is going broke, losing popularity and under investigation by multiple parties for campaign finance irregularities and ties to the Kremlin.
If a pile of dead children in a schoolroom could not change the debate, what would?
“91%: A Film About Guns In America” focuses on the majority of Americans who support comprehensive background checks.
Story produced by the Chicago Bureau. President Barack Obama delivered his second inaugural address Monday, promising to focus on climate control and pursue greater equality for gay Americans. Those issues, however, are just the beginning of the challenges he must face as he starts his second term. Fixing a broken global economy still ranks first in the minds of many Americans, along with ending our conflicts abroad. On the domestic front there’s no getting around the debate over gun control, with both sides digging in for a fight in Congress – spurred on by a mounting body count that now includes a family in New Mexico, shot dead by a 15-year-old boy.
Ambitious and certain to draw criticism, President Barack Obama’s plan to rid the nation of the most powerful weapons on the market and attempt to arrest mass and everyday shootings was expected by Congress Wednesday, marking a sharp turn in a decades-long fight to curb America’s gun violence. As the debate was playing out in Washington, several local and national leaders gathered at the University of Chicago Tuesday evening to discuss guns and policy, with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose city holds the dubious “murder capital” title, among the group and pushing sweeping gun control legislation that cracks down on assault weapons. Also on the panel was Democratic political consultant David Axelrod, who this week said that the National Rifle Association’s recent assertion that Congress would not enact the sort of change that Obama and others were pressing, was off base. In fact, he said, real legislation will squeeze through the legislative process and signal real change in the nation’s laws and gun dialogue. Also in attendance was the head of the University of Chicago CrimeLab, who noted that while the United States has managed to improve its count of more common crime – property theft, etc.
Initiatives emerging from shootings may conflict with efforts to reduce police involvement in school discipline
As the White House considers proposals to allocate federal money for armed guards in schools, prominent school-discipline reform groups have issued a report denouncing the idea as a misguided reaction to the Newtown school shooting. “Placing more police in schools has significant and harmful unintended consequences for young people that must be considered before agreeing to any proposal that would increase the presence of law enforcement in schools,”says an issue brief released Friday by the Advancement Project, Dignity in Schools and other organizations. The Advancement Project, founded in 1999, has offices in Washington D.C. and California, and has worked with school districts and states to adopt alternatives to school suspensions and expulsions. Dignity in Schools is also devoted to working with school districts, advocating fewer school suspensions and less involvement of law enforcement in school discipline. The groups called on the White House and Congress, before they act, to consider how the school-discipline climate changed after more police were introduced to schools in response to the Columbine school shootings nearly 15 years ago in Colorado.
The Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) has published numerous studies analyzing firearms-related deaths and injuries data, but over the last 16 years, the NCIPC hasn’t conducted a single study exploring why such acts of violence take place. The reason, several former CDC directors say, is because pro-gun lobbyists made the topic of gun violence research forbidden through several measures adopted in the mid 1990s. In 1996, several legislators co-sponsored an amendment that would cut the CDC’s budget, with a House Appropriations Committee adopting an additional amendment that prohibited CDC funding “to advocate or promote gun control.” Eventually, $2.6 million was removed from the CDC’s budget — the exact amount that the NCIPC spent on firearms injuries studies a year prior. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has long been critical of the CDC, with NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre recently telling the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) that he believed the agency was promoting a political agenda through the NCIPC in 1995. Other gun proponents agreed.
The Dec. 14 school massacre in Newtown, Conn. split the country, provoking dueling—and quick—responses even as gun control was already being considered in some areas of the nation, including Illinois. From one side there has been a chorus for more security in our nation’s schools. More police.
Gun-rights group used endorsements, campaign cash and political pressure to expand concept of self-defense
This story originally appeared on iWatchnews.org by The Center for Public Integrity
In 2004, the National Rifle Association honored Republican Florida state legislator Dennis Baxley with a plum endorsement: Its Defender of Freedom award. The following year, Baxley, a state representative, worked closely with the NRA to push through Florida’s unprecedented “stand your ground” law, which allows citizens to use deadly force if they “reasonably believe” their safety is threatened in a public setting, like a park or a street. People would no longer be restrained by a “duty to retreat” from a threat while out in public, and would be free from prosecution or civil liability if they acted in self-defense. Florida’s law is now under a cloud as a result of the controversial February shooting of Trayvon Martin, 17, in Sanford, Fla. The 28-year-old shooter, George Zimmerman, who was licensed to carry a gun — and once had a brush with police — claims he acted in self-defense after a confrontation with Martin, and some legal experts say Florida’s law could protect Zimmerman, who has not been charged.