Saturday, March 31, 2018

Music Video: Hallelujah Parody - Letter to Wayne LaPierre, NRA

Parody of "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen - Based on the arrangement by Pentatonix.







LYRICS TO THE HALLELUJAH PARODY Open Letter to Wayne LaPierre You see yourself the defender of the amendment passed to you from above, and any change that happens must go through ya. While other freedoms slipped away with nothing standing in their way, you waved your gun and claimed your hallelujah. Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah We’ve heard you say these words before, about the guns that you adore. There really is no point in talkin’ to ya. You pride yourself the ears and eyes of five or so million other guys, and think your words will draw their hallelujah. Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah Your mind is stuck in sixty-five when cold-war commies were alive. And those who wanted change were out to screw ya. And gun controls of any kind mean liberal commies in your mind who'll steal your rights then raise their hallelujah. Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah Your logic is profoundly flawed, with teachers for your new vice-squad. You’d arm them to the teeth but they see through ya. Your rigid stance results in death. You claim that right with every breath, howling through your broken hallelujah. Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah We think it’s time that you step down. Just walk away and pass the crown, before someone decides they need to sue ya. The arms race lost, it would appear and you’ve become the thing you fear an echo of your bloody hallelujah. Hallelujah, Hallelujah Hallelujah, Hallelujah


To support Pentatonix's work please visit https://parodyproject.com/supportus

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Music Video: The President Sang Amazing Grace

“I was driving when I heard ‘The President Sang Amazing Grace,’” Joan Baez told The Atlantic, “and I had to pull over to make sure I heard whose song it was because I knew I had to sing it.” The 77-year-old folk legend included the song in her final album, Whistle Down The Wind, released in early March. Originally written and performed by Zoe Mulford following the 2015 mass shooting in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, Baez’s rendition of “The President Sang Amazing Grace” has been animated in a powerful new video.

Read more about the song and video at The Atlantic, HERE.

Nine men and women were killed by a lone gunman in a church in Charleston. Less than a week later, President Obama visited the church to lead the eulogy and led the congregation in singing "Amazing Grace," which is the subject of the song and video. Read more about that mass shooting, HERE.




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Monday, March 26, 2018

On Guns In America -- Tom Mooney

This is a guest post by a lifetime gun owner and hunter, Tom Mooney. Tom is very much in line with the majority of gun owners (and myself) in calling for reasonable gun regulation to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them and prohibit the sale of assault rifles.

Thank you, Tom, for sharing your post....



I have a confession to make. I am a gun owner. To most people who know me that probably doesn’t come as a surprise. After all, I’m the guy who brings venison stew to the potluck and shares my homemade wild game jerky. That meat comes from somewhere, and my guns are one of the tools that allow me to bring that lean, organic, healthy meat home to my friends and family. In light of our ongoing epidemic of gun violence in this country and the latest horrific example of it in Florida, I think it’s important for people like me to speak up. I believe my views represent the majority of gun owners and that fringe groups like the NRA do not represent us. Gun ownership is actually at the lowest level it has been since the late 70s, down from around 50% of households in 1977-1980 to around 30% of households now. Gun owners are definitely in the minority overall and a radical minority of those, combined with gun manufacturers represented by the likes of the NRA, have managed to completely dominate the conversation around guns in this country for decades. It’s time we change that, and my aim is to counter the narrative put forward by the NRA about gun owners and give my non-gun owning friends and fellow citizens a view into how I think and how I believe most gun owners think, about the issues of gun violence and gun control in this country.
I grew up in Montana, which has a robust gun culture, for lack of a better term. I received my first hunting rifle as a gift from my Grandfather when I was 13. It was a .300 Savage model 45 Super Sporter manufactured some time between 1928 and 1936 from what I’ve been able to find out. It lived a hard life behind the seat of his pickup for many years and was in pretty bad shape when I got it. I restored it to good shooting condition and took pride in the work and time it took to get it there. I still have that rifle, but it’s been retired from service now and stays safely locked away and out of the elements. it’s the only physical object I still have left from my Grandfather and the sentimental value of it is priceless. After I had put in the work to get the rifle in good shape, I took the Montana hunter’s safety course and went on my first hunt that Fall. This was a rite of passage that had a profound impact on the rest of my life. It was when I gained my love of the outdoors, an appreciation for time spent with family and friends in nature, and an understanding and respect for the circle of life. The thing about it is that it was never really about the guns per se. The gun had value because it was a gift from my Grandfather who I respected immensely and it was a tool that opened up opportunities to have adventures in the mountains with friends and family and bring home meat for the freezer. I won’t deny that there wasn’t some fascination in my teenage mind with the power I perceived that the gun gave me. However, the culture I grew up in, with a family that emphasized the utilitarian nature of the gun, and the formal safety training I recieved tempered that effectively. I was lucky to grow up in what I would term a “healthy” gun culture, that emphasized safety and looked at the gun as a tool not as an integral part of identity or as a means of exerting power.
Today I own a total of 3 hunting rifles including the one my Grandfather gave me 25 years ago, a .22 caliber rifle for cheap target practice, and a shotgun. No hand guns or assault rifles here. I admit I’ve struggled over the years with how to safely store them and to do my best to be a responsible gun owner. For a long time they just sat in my closet completely unlocked with ammo on the closet shelf right above. I figured it wasn’t a big deal since I didn’t have kids and I trusted the people I lived with. That was a bad choice in hindsight, however. All it would have taken is a single break-in, or a friend of a friend who I didn’t know and trust to get a hold of one of them for a tragedy to ensue. Today, I don’t have a proper gun safe since they are expensive, heavy, and hard to handle, but the guns do stay hidden and pad locked in hard plastic cases with trigger and bolt locks in place and bolts removed on the hunting rifles. Even if someone did manage to take one, cut the locks on the case and gain access, they would find an inoperable weapon. The ammunition and bolts stay locked in a small safe in a seperate location. I do not find the need to keep one easily accessible for “home defense”, and I certainly don’t have the need to carry one with me all the time. All the statistics show that a gun in a home is more likely to hurt the owner or a loved one than it ever is to be used against a hypothetical intruder. As much as the NRA would like people to be scared of things like home invasions so they keep buying guns, the truth is such crimes are exceedingly rare. The chances of being struck by lightning, eaten by a shark, or hit by a car walking down the sidewalk are probably greater than the chances of being a victim of a home invasion. As a result of this plain logic and risk assessment, I keep the guns as inaccessible as possible.
Now with that background on my personal history and relationship with guns out of the way, on to the nitty gritty of what we do about the gun violence epidemic in this country. As with so many of these big issues, there are multiple, intersecting issues at work. Among them is the culture of toxic masculinity that has given rise to the #MeToo movement and the growing awareness of the pervasiveness of rape culture and mysoginy in our society. Gun violence at it’s core is really a problem of male violence. It is the horrific end game of the endemic issues the #MeToo movement has brought to light around sexual assault and domestic violence that pervade every corner of our society. Sexual assault is not about sex, it is about power. Gun violence is much the same. We have an entire generation of men, white men in particular, who feel their power in society diminishing as the country becomes more mulicultural; Who have seen the middle class hollowed out, and good-paying, traditionally male jobs in manufacturing dissappear. This loss of societal and economic power among white men is one piece of the puzzle in explaining the rise of this toxic gun culture. Feeling powerless over their own lives, I believe many men turn to guns to give them a sense of that power back. As someone who has seen the devastating power of guns first hand, with the ability to bring down a 600 pound animal at 200 yards with a single well placed shot, I can understand the allure. It certainly does give one a sense of power, an almost god-like feeling of holding the key to life and death in your hands. The problem with this, and where it becomes toxic is that it gets wrapped up in people’s core identity. Instead of looking at guns as a tool, the gun and the power it brings, become a core part of who they are as a person. I believe this is part of the reason it has become so hard to talk about gun control in this country. Because for many people, it’s not just about guns, it’s about a core part of who they are and how they relate to the world. When you talk about limiting access to guns, they hear limiting access to one of the only things they feel they have left to give them a sense of power in the world. Obviously this is a huge issue, with many economic and cultural facets that won’t be solved any time soon. In the meantime, our children are dying and we absolutely must do something about it NOW!
What we can do now, while we continue to work on the cultural and economic issues that are at the root of the problem, is to join the rest of the industrialized world and pass common sense gun control legislation that keeps lethal weapons out of the hands of mass murderers and reduces the damage they can do in any single incident. The fact is that higher rates of gun ownership in a country are directly correlated to higher rates of gun violence. While it’s important to not conflate correlation with causality, it’s also just sort of common sense. The more guns there are and the more easily they are accessed, the more likely it is that they will be used to commit crimes. Again, the rest of the world has figured this out, it’s not rocket science. Now, the gun lobby would have us believe just the opposite. That they way to curb gun violence is for everyone to carry a gun. Arm teachers, arm doctors, arm Grandma in her wheelchair. Well, following that logic the United States should be one of the safest countries in the world since we have the most guns of just about any country in the world. As we are all painfully aware at this point, that is just not the case. No other comparable country has the level of mass shootings or gun violence in general that we do. Not to mention, I don’t think that is a society that most of us want to live in. A place where everyone is walking around armed to the teeth isn’t a civilized country, its a war zone, and that’s not where I want to live. Therefore, I believe our immediate goals need to be to limit access to the deadliest weapons and take steps to start to reduce the overall number of guns in this country. To be clear, I’m not advocating banning all guns, and I’m not advocating confiscation by force. As you know by now, I own guns, and I’d like to keep them and continue to hunt thank you very much. The fact is though that I don’t need assault rifles to do that and I don’t need an arsenal of 50 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition to do that and neither does anyone else. So, here are some the steps I belive we can take, and that as a gun owner I would fully support:
1.) Ban the sale, manufacture, and import of semi-automatic military style rifles, assault rifles, whatever you want to call them. Just as a side note, one of the favorite diversion tactics of the radical gun lobby apologists is to turn the argument to what is and what isn’t an assault rifle. I’m not going to play that game. We all know what they are. It’s like porn, you know it when you see it. I would define them as lightweight weapons that fire small caliber, high-velocity rounds at a high rate of fire that are designed to do maximum damage to as many human bodies as possible in as short a time as possible. The AR-15 is the most notorious example since it is the weapon of choice for mass shooters lately, but there are many others. Obviously part of this would be coming up with objective criteria that define what these are. We put a man on the moon, I don’t think coming up with criteria for this should be beyond our ability. These weapons are meant for one thing, to kill enemy combatants on a battlefield. No self-respecting hunter would use one and there’s no reason for any civilian to have them. If you think you’re going to fight the government with your AR-15, you’re delusional. If that’s your concern and your interpretation of the second amendment, then we better all have tanks, Apache helicopters and nuclear missiles because if the government did decide to turn against the people you’re AR-15 isn’t going to help a bit. In reality, they are used to mow down school children and concert goers. Be real and stop living in some kind of right-wing militia fantasy land where you and your AR-15 will be heros in some hypothetical revolution. Kids are dying now, and these weapons being so freely available are a huge part of the problem. if you want to play with battlefield weapons, go join the army, I’m sure they’d be happy to have you.
2.) Ban the sale, manufacture, and import of things like bump stocks and other parts that make it easy to convert a semi-automatic weapon to a fully automatic weapon.
3.) Ban the sale, manufacture, and import of high capacity magazines. If you can’t hit your target with 4 or 5 rounds, then you need a lot more practice and have no business with a weapon in the woods or anywhere else.
4.) Limit the amount of ammunition that can be purchased at one time. We do this with Sudafed for God’s sake, and it has been very effective in combating the methamphetamine epidemic. We should do the same with ammunition. You don’t need thousands of rounds of ammunition for hunting or even target practice.
3.) Raise the age limit for purchasing any kind of gun to 21.
4.) Institute mandatory universal background checks at the Federal level.
5.) Institute a mandatory waiting period of at least 10 days for any weapon.
6.) Require safety training and licensing for gun owners, just like we do for cars.
7.) Require that liability insurance be carried on all guns, just like we do for cars. I believe this would discourage the small percentage of gun owners who have massive arsenals because it would be prohibitively expensive to insure at some point. In my opinion this would be one of the best ways we could start to reduce the overall number of guns that are out there, without confiscation, just by letting the market do it’s thing.
8.) Require by law that guns be stored safely.
9.) Institute a nationwide voluntary buyback program. This worked very well in Australia. They had a school shooting in the 90s and part of their response to it was to start a nationwide buyback program that drastically reduced the number of guns at large in the country. Guess what, they haven’t had a school shooting since.
That’s my list of common sense gun control legislation that I would be fully behind and that most gun owners I have talked to would be fully behind as well. Would it make my life a bit more complicated? It sure would, but if a bit of inconvenience for me will save the life of even one child then it’s worth every bit. Purchasing a gun is a rare thing for most gun owners. Maybe a few times in a lifetime. Having to go through a few more steps, waiting periods, etc. would not be that big of a deal for most of us. It would have a bigger impact on collectors and the “prepper” set who feel the need to have a massive arsenal. But you know what, I don’t care. Their hobby or paranoia isn’t worth the lives of children.
One last point that I’d like to make about gun control is that as with everything in America we have to think about the racial aspect of it. The fact is, some of the first gun control laws were put into place in California with the full backing of the NRA, as a reaction to the Black Panther movement and black folks openly carrying guns. if we are not careful about how we institute and execute gun control legislation it will become just another tool like the “war on drugs” for targeting communities of color and perpetuating the national shame of mass incarceration of black and brown people.
Also, here are some organizations that I’ve contributed to that are doing good work around this and countering the likes of the NRA. I urge you to do the same.
  • Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
  • Everytown for Gun Safety
  • Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (I included BHA not because they are promoting gun control obviously, but because I believe they promote a more “healthy” gun culture; one focused on the gun as a tool and as a means to enjoy the outdoors, kind of what the NRA used to be before they were infiltrated by gun manufacturers and zeaolts. Their conservation work is also tremendous.)

Addendum by Baldr: There is a growing movement of gun owners against the NRA, as well as a number of organizations (such as Gun Owners for Responsible Gun Ownership) and Facebook groups (such as Gun Owners Against the NRA) of responsible gun owners who support commonsense gun regulation.  See my prior blog post on this, HERE.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Oregon Ballot Measure 43 - Ban Assault Weapon And High-Capacity Magazine Sales


Clergy members of all faiths, youth, advocates, and Oregonians who are gun owners and non-gun owners have come together as a coalition to stop the carnage in our schools, our streets, and throughout our country. The coalition, "Lift Every Voice," has one goal: to make the state a safer place for all Oregonians.


We have filed Measure 43 as a ballot initiative for the November 2018 election. Measure 43 would prohibit the future sale or transfer of semiautomatic rifles and large-capacity magazines. Any such firearms or ammunition, described clearly in the measure, owned at the time the act becomes effective must be registered with the state, sold out of state, permanently disabled or can be given to law enforcement for disposal. The same safety measures will be applied to large-capacity magazines, defined as a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds.

The ballot measure has been filed. Sponsorship signatures were turned in on Saturday, March 24. The push for 88,184 signatures will not begin until we have cleared any court challenges. At this time, we do not expect to be able to begin collecting those signatures until June.  Until then, this is an "initiative petition" (IP 43).

Sign up here to receive email alerts from Ceasefire Oregon about Measure 43, how you can help, and pending federal firearm legislation.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will people be forced to surrender their guns?
No. People will be required to register the firearms and magazines described in Measure 43. The firearms and magazines may also be sold out of state, permanently disabled or given to law enforcement for disposal.

Is this Constitutional?
Yes. Seven other states (HI, CA, NJ, NY, MD, MA, CT) and the District of Columbia already have similar laws banning assault rifles.

Is this divisive or controversial?
No. A Quinnipiac Poll from last month (February 2018) showed that 67% of Americans support an outright ban on the sale of  assault rifles. )

Why doesn’t the Oregon legislature pass this as a bill?
The Oregon legislature did not pass a similar bill (HB 3200) in 2013 after the Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook shootings. They have not been willing to address this issue since then.

How will this bill protect Oregonians?
When access to assault weapons is restricted, deaths due to mass shootings decrease. A 2014 study found that “both state and federal assault weapons bans have statistically significant and negative effects on mass shooting fatalities.” Everytown for Gun Safety, Assault Weapons Bans on Public Mass Shootings,” Applied Economics Letters 22, no. 4 (2014): 281-284, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504851.2014.939367.


HERE IS THE CURRENT LANGUAGE OF MEASURE 43

The Campaign to Stop the Sale and Transfer of Weapons of War

BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OREGON:

SECTION 1. Sections 2 to 5 of this 2018 Act are added to and made a part of ORS 166.250 to 166.470.

SECTION 2. The people of the State of Oregon find and declare that a reduction in the availability of assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines will promote the public health and safety of the residents of this state.

SECTION 3. As used in sections 2 to 6 of this 2018 Act: (1)(a) “Assault weapon” means any:

(A) Semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following:

(i) Any grip of the weapon, including a pistol grip, a thumbhole stock or any other stock, the use of which would allow an individual to grip the weapon, resulting in any finger on the trigger hand in addition to the trigger finger being directly below any portion of the action of the weapon when firing;

(ii) Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the nontrigger hand;

(iii) A folding or telescoping stock;

(iv) A shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or completely encircles the barrel, allowing the bearer to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned, but excluding a slide that encloses the barrel;

(v) A forward pistol grip; (vi) A flash suppressor, muzzle brake, muzzle compensator, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor, muzzle brake, or muzzle compensator;

(vii) A bayonet mount; or

(viii) A grenade launcher or flare launcher;

(B) Semiautomatic pistol, or any semiautomatic, centerfire or rimfire rifle with a fixed magazine, that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition;

(C) Semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than thirty inches;

(D) Semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following:

(i) Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the nontrigger hand;

(ii) A folding, telescoping or thumbhole stock;

(iii) A shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or completely encircles the barrel, allowing the bearer to hold the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned, but excluding a slide that encloses the barrel;

(iv) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at any location outside of the pistol grip; or (v) A threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor or forward pistol grip; 2

(E) Semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:

(i) Any grip of the weapon, including a pistol grip, a thumbhole stock or any other stock, the use of which would allow an individual to grip the weapon, resulting in any finger on the trigger hand in addition to the trigger finger being directly below any portion of the action of the weapon when firing; and

(ii) A folding or telescoping stock;

(F) Semiautomatic shotgun that has at least one of the following:

(i) A fixed magazine capacity in excess of ten rounds; or

(ii) An ability to accept a detachable magazine;

(G) Shotgun with a revolving cylinder; and

(H) Conversion kit, part or combination of parts from which an assault weapon can be assembled if those parts are in the possession or under control of the same person. (b) “Assault weapon” does not include any firearm that has been made permanently inoperable.

(2) “Criminal background check” has the meaning given that term in ORS 166.432.

(3) “Department” means Department of State Police.

(4) “Detachable magazine” means an ammunition feeding device that can be loaded or unloaded while detached from a firearm and readily inserted into a firearm.

(5) “Fixed magazine” means an ammunition feeding device contained in or permanently attached to a firearm in such a manner that the device cannot be removed without disassembly of the firearm action.

(6) “Large capacity magazine” means any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds or any conversion kit or combination of parts from which such a device can be assembled, but does not include any of the following:

(a) A feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds;

(b) A .22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device; or (c) A tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.

SECTION 4.

(1) Notwithstanding ORS 166.250 to 166.470, and except as provided in subsections (2) to (4) of this Section 4, a person commits the crime of unlawful possession or transfer of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine if the person manufactures, imports, possesses, purchases, sells or transfers any assault weapon or large capacity magazine.

(2) Subsection (1) of this Section 4 does not apply to: 3 (a) Any government officer, agent or employee, member of the Armed Forces of the United States or peace officer as that term is defined in ORS 133.005 if that person is otherwise authorized to acquire or possess an assault weapon or large capacity magazine and does so while acting within the scope of that person’s duties; (b) The manufacture of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine by a firearms manufacturer for the purpose of sale to any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or to a law enforcement agency in this state for use by that agency or its employees, provided the manufacturer is properly licensed under federal, state and local laws; or (c) The sale or transfer of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine by a firearms dealer licensed under 18 U.S.C. 923 to any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or to a law enforcement agency in this state for use by that agency or its employees for law enforcement purposes.

(3) Any person who, prior to the effective date of this law, was legally in possession of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine shall, within 120 days after the effective date of this 2018 Act, without being subject to prosecution: (a) Remove the assault weapon or large capacity magazine from the state; (b) Sell the assault weapon or large capacity magazine to a firearms dealer licensed under 18 U.S.C. 923 for lawful sale or transfer under subsection (2) of this section; (c) Surrender the assault weapon or large capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction; (d) Render the assault weapon permanently inoperable; or (e) If eligible, register the assault weapon or large capacity magazine with the Department as provided in Section 5 of this 2018 Act.

(4) Any person who acquires an assault weapon or large capacity magazine, for which registration was previously properly obtained under Section 5 of this Act, by inheritance, bequest or succession, or by virtue of the person’s role as executor or other legal representative of an estate or trust, shall, within 120 days after acquiring title, without being subject to prosecution under this section: (a) Surrender the assault weapon or large capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction; (b) Transfer the assault weapon or large capacity magazine to a firearms dealer licensed under 18 U.S.C. 923 for lawful sale or transfer under subsection (2)(c) of this section; (c) Render the assault weapon permanently inoperable; or (d) If eligible, register the assault weapon or large capacity magazine with the Department and meet all of the requirements under Section 5 of this 2018 Act, except the time for registering shall run from the date of acquiring title.

(5) Any person who moves into the state and immediately prior to moving is in lawful possession of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine, shall, unless exempt under Section 4(2)-(4) of this Act, within 120 days:

(a) Surrender the assault weapon or large capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction;

(b) Transfer the assault weapon or large capacity magazine to a firearms dealer licensed under 18 U.S.C. 923 for lawful sale or transfer under subsection (2)(c) of this section; or 4

(c) Render the assault weapon permanently inoperable. (6) Unlawful possession or transfer of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine is a Class B felony.

SECTION 5.

(1) Any person seeking to register an assault weapon or large capacity magazine with the Department shall do so as provided in this section within 120 days after the effective date of this 2018 Act.

(2) In order to register an assault weapon under this section, the owner of the assault weapon must: (a) Submit to the Department, on a form approved by the Department, the owner’s name and address and the identification number of each assault weapon owned by the owner: (b) Be the lawful owner of the assault weapon prior to the effective date of this 2018 Act; and (c) Allow the Department to conduct a criminal background check of the person to confirm that the person is not a prohibited possessor under ORS 166.250.

(3) In order to register a large capacity magazine under this section, a person must: (a) Submit to the Department, on a form approved by the Department, the owner’s name and address and information sufficient to identify any large magazine owned or possessed by the owner; (b) Be the lawful owner of the large capacity magazine prior to the effective date of this 2018 Act; and (c) Allow the Department to conduct a criminal background check of the person to confirm that the person is not a prohibited possessor under ORS 166.250.

(4) A person seeking to register an assault weapon or large capacity magazine must submit evidence satisfactory to the Department to establish that: (a) The owner has securely stored the assault weapon or large capacity magazine pursuant to existing law and, in addition, as provided in any rules and regulations adopted by the Department specifically relating to assault weapons and large capacity magazines; (b) The owner possesses any lawful assault weapon or large capacity magazine only:

(A) On property owned or immediately controlled by the registered owner;

(B) On property owned by another with the owner’s express permission in a manner consistent with subsection (4)(a) in this section;

(C) On the premises of a firearms dealer or gunsmith licensed under 18 U.S.C. 923 for the purpose of lawful repair;

(D) While engaged in the legal use of the assault weapon or large capacity magazine, at a public or private shooting range, shooting gallery or other area designed and built for the purpose of target shooting;

(E) At a firearms competition or exhibition, display or educational project about firearms sponsored, conducted by approved or under the auspices of a law enforcement agency or a national or state-recognized entity that fosters proficiency in firearms use or promotes firearms education; or

(F) While transporting the weapon in a vehicle as permitted in ORS 166.250 to one of the locations authorized under this statute.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Guns Explained Using Animated Cats

The whole issue of gun violence and legislative actions can get, shall I say, "heated," and is as complex of an issue as it comes.  So sometimes it's a good idea to simplify things with an analogy.  I once did so with a "play" about "gum control" in the classroom.

But here's a remarkably better analogy... CATS!  More specifically, an animated video using cats instead of guns:




"But my crazy cat-lady neighbor wants everybody to think it's okay to own a cheetah!"

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Victory In Oregon: Closing The "Boyfriend Loophole"

This week marks another great victory for gun regulation in the state of Oregon.  Governor Brown signed into law House Bill 4145.
The crowd as Governor Brown signs HB4145

In Oregon, it was already illegal for someone to own or possess guns if they were convicted of domestic violence against spouses, former spouses, someone they cohabit with, unmarried parents of their child, someone they've had sexual relations with whom they are cohabiting with, or someone they are blood relatives with.  Seems pretty broad, right? 

Unfortunately, it excluded those who were simply intimate partners who didn't cohabit.  In other words, the abusive boyfriend who is convicted of stalking or abusing his girlfriend. Thus, the "boyfriend loophole."

HB 4145 closes this loophole. The bill also now mandates that local law enforcement is notified when a prohibited person attempts to purchase a gun and fails a background check.

According to the Oregon Health Authority:
  • From 2003 to 2012,  256 people were killed in the context of intimate partner violence (IPV) in Oregon.
  • Most homicide victims were women and children.
  • More than 80% of female victims of intimate partner homicide were killed by their current spouses or boyfriends.
  • Most male victims are killed by someone other than an intimate partner.
  • Firearms are a common mechanism of death among IPV-related homicides.
“Today is a huge victory for Oregon families,” said Penny Okamoto, executive director of Ceasefire Oregon. “Convicted stalkers and abusers will no longer be able to purchase or possess guns. In addition, law enforcement now has the tools necessary to help prosecute prohibited purchasers who attempt to buy firearms illegally.”

Extremist pro-gun groups attempted to argue that a disgruntled girlfriend need only accuse her ex of abuse and his gun rights would be wrongly stripped from him. But that's a lie. They still have to be convicted of stalking or domestic abuse first.

HERE is a video of Governor Brown signing the bill into law outside the state Capitol, surrounded by hundreds of supporters including, in largest part, passionate teenagers who took off from their school day to show their support:



Both local and national gun control groups were pleased with the bill’s passage into law. “Today Oregon became a safer place to live,” said former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. “Guns and domestic violence are a deadly, tragic mix, something that Oregonians know all too well.”

To learn more about this new law, and related statistics, please visit the Ceasefire Oregon page for it, here:  https://www.ceasefireoregon.org/bills/hb4145/ 

Our thanks goes out to the Governor, the sponsors and supporters of this bill. Together, we are making a new trajectory for our society away from gun violence.




Thursday, March 1, 2018

A List Of Incidents Caused By Legal Gun Owners On School Grounds


-- THIS POST IS UPDATED AS NEW INCIDENTS ARE FOUND --

Every time there's a school shooting, the NRA and pro-gun forces come out of the woodwork again to say that schools, as "gun free zones," are targets for shooters, and that arming teachers and school staff is the only way to insure safety.  It's the myth of the "conceal carry hero" made into a school drama.

This lunacy came to a peak after the Sandy Hook shooting, when, after shameless silence, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre stepped up to the microphone and shocked the world by actually suggesting arming all schools, a move that was soundly rejected as insanity by nearly every national organization representing parents, teachers, and law enforcement, as well as the citizens of Newtown, and has no merit with any historical context, including when it failed to stop the Columbine shooting. Since then, the idea has been floated many times, including by various GOP legislators, extremist gun groups, and even President Trump after the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. States like Florida, Tennessee, and Mississippi have introduced bills to follow through with this. And a handful of school systems have decided to do it, including here in Oregon. Legislators have even tried to encourage armed vigilantes to prowl school grounds in return for tax credits.

Two different studies (HERE and HERE) have shown that armed guards in schools make students feel less secure, possibly affecting their academic performance. Not that student perceptions really matter to the pro-gun forces trying to make these decisions.

But could they be right? An analysis by Everytown found that there was an average of two school shootings at K-12 schools every month between 2013-2015. A more recent examination for 2018 by Everytown found an average of one school shooting every 63 hours. With all those school shootings, shouldn't there, by now, have been some good examples where armed civilians other than police have stopped a school shooting? 

Well, no, actually. There has never been a school shooting stopped by an armed teacher or a citizen conceal-carry owner. The closest case I ever found was of a school staff member (and Army reservist commander) who went out to their car and got a gun, but the shooting was over by that point, the shooter was out of ammo and was driving out of the parking lot (the only reason he was stopped was that the shooter crashed his car, allowing the staff member to get to him and hold him under arrest).

However, there HAVE been plenty of cases where gun owners, legally carrying guns on school grounds, have CAUSED incidents on campus, including incidents that wound children, other adults, or themselves.

Here is a list of those incidents that I have found, which will be updated as I find more.  So far, it is up to TWENTY SIX incidents, resulting in the wounding of five children and five adults. Sixteen incidents were caused by police officers or security guards.

  • October 5, 2018:  A security guard at Somerset Academy Bay School in Kendall, FL, left his loaded gun in the bathroom. A fifth-grade child found the gun and immediately notified administrators at the school office. The guard was fired, but no charges were filed.
  • May 23, 2018:  A parent visiting a classroom an Early Childhood Center in Pittsburgh, PA, when a 3-year old reached into her purse and pulled out her loaded handgun. Luckily, the child was stopped before pulling the trigger. The woman was charged with possessing a weapon on school property and four counts of recklessly endangering another person.
  • April 18, 2018:  A parent visiting a school in Gladstone, Oregon, for a volleyball tournament left their loaded revolver in a bathroom stall. Luckily, a coach found the gun before any children, and turned it in to police. The owner had a conceal carry permit.
  • April 4, 2018:  A county sheriff left his loaded backup handgun in the stall of a middle school gym bathroom in Shepherd, Michigan. A sixth-grade boy found the gun and reported it. Luckily, the gun was not handled.
  • March 13, 2018:  A teacher and reserve police officer was giving a class on gun safety in his high school classroom in Seaside, CA, when he unintentionally fired his gun toward the ceiling. Bullet fragments wounded a 17-year old boy in the neck. Other students were injured by debris falling from the ceiling.
  • March 13, 2018:  A school resource officer unintentionally discharged his handgun inside an Alexandria, VA, middle school. Luckily no one was injured.
  • February 28, 2018: A high school social studies teacher in Dalton, Georgia, barricaded himself in a classroom and fired a shot from a handgun. Luckily, no one was injured, and he was taken into custody. He had a history of mental problems and violent behavior that had led, at one time, of having his guns removed.
  • February 5, 2018: A police officer was at an elementary school in Maplewood, MN, "building relationships" with 3rd and 4th graders when one little boy reached over and pulled the trigger on the officer's holstered handgun. The gun fired into the floor. Luckily, no one was injured.
  • September 13, 2016:  A school teacher at Cumberland Christian School, in Chambersburg, PA, left a loaded, unsecured handgun on a toilet in a bathroom. Four children, ages 6 to 8, went in the bathroom before one of the children reported the gun. Luckily, none of them fired the gun.
  • February 19, 2015:  A school resource officer at Western Wayne School District in Pennsylvania unintentionally fired his handgun in the school.  Luckily, no one was injured.
  • September 11, 2014:  A teacher was in the bathroom of a school in Taylorsville, Utah, when she unintentionally shot herself in the leg with her own handgun.
  • January 18, 2014:  An armed security guard left his weapon unattended in the bathroom, fully accessible to K-8 students, despite being a retired police weapons instructor.
  • January 18, 2014: Two police officers serving as school resource officers decided to clean their guns while on the grounds of an Akron, Ohio, high school. One of them unintentionally discharged his gun. Luckily, no one was injured.
  • October 24, 2013:  A police officer left his loaded AR-15 assault rifle strapped to his motorcycle while visiting an elementary school.  A boy pulled the trigger, firing the weapon and leading to a shrapnel injury of three kids.
  • August 24, 2013:  A SWAT police officer was giving a presentation at an elementary school in Lodi, California, when a 6-8 year old boy fired the officer's holstered gun, hitting the officer in the leg.
  • May 15, 2013:  A Winchester, PA, police officer boarded a special needs school bus to calm a student. After the officer sat next to him, the child reached over and pulled the trigger on the officer's handgun, discharging a round into the bus seat and floor. Luckily, no one was injured.
  • May 14, 2013:  A school staffer with a conceal carry permit was offering a ride to a student, in the parking lot of a high school in Aurora, Colorado, when he unintentionally fired his legally concealed handgun, hitting the student in the leg.
  • April 16, 2013: A Boy Scout troop leader, who was also a retired police officer and conceal carry permit holder, dropped a fanny pack containing his gun while attending a scout meeting inside a Des Plains, Illinois, grade school. The gun discharged, striking him in the leg. No one else was injured.
  • March 6, 2013:  A recently-started armed resource officer program at schools in Highland, New York, was suspended after one of the security guards unintentionally fired his weapon in school Children were present, but luckily no one was injured.
  • March 1, 2013:  During a conceal carry training class, on school grounds, which was part of a new program to arm school staff, a school maintenance worker who was a student in the class unintentionally fired his weapon, wounding himself in the leg.
  • January 17, 2013:  A charter school in Lapeer, Michigan, decided to start having an armed guard on campus.  Three days after hiring a guard, the man left his weapon in a school bathroom where kids could have found it.
  • October 8, 2012:  A man with a concealed handgun visited an elementary school classroom in Moore, Oklahoma, to help the teacher with her computer.  His gun fell out and he left without it, only realizing it was missing after the media reported it.  Small children were present in the room at the time.
  • March 22, 2012:  A volunteer track coach at John Mall High School in Walsenburg, Colorado, unintentionally shot himself in the leg with his new .40 caliber Glock handgun, nearly bleeding to death.  He was in his vehicle in the parking lot of the school sports complex.
  • December 8, 2011:  A janitor with a conceal carry permit was working on ceiling tiles in a preschool classroom in Waterbury, Connecticut, when he took off his gun belt.  He then left the loaded gun in the classroom and forgot about it. Monday morning, teachers came in the room and found the gun, only moments before 3- and 4-year olds entered the room.
  • September 12, 2011:  An armed security guard, patrolling schools at night in Salem, Oregon, unintentionally lost his loaded firearm somewhere during his rounds The gun was never found.
  • May 12, 2011:  A school resource officer was cleaning his gun, while in the school building, and unintentionally fired the gun. The round went through the wall and into the nurse's room where there were two student, the nurse, and another adult. Luckily, no one was injured.

[By the way, this list doesn't include shootings by adults who are simply behaving badly on school grounds, such as arguments in the parking lot, like this one, this one, or this one, or shootings by children who bring guns to school. The list would be FAR longer. Instead, this list just focuses on "law-abiding" school staff, teachers, security, or anyone else who might be expected to protect kids with their guns, as the NRA argues.]

I urge you to save this list. The next time you hear a pro-gun supporter suggest that guns in school is a good idea, whether it is from a legislator, school board, or some gun guy off the street, please show them this list and challenge them to show you a comparable list of incidents that support their side. They'll come up with crickets. 
February 28, 2018, Dalton, GA

And you might also remind them that school shootings have been stopped by school staff... unarmed.  Like this one, who said "If I had had a gun on me, we'd have all been dead." There's also this one and this one. 

The idea of arming school teachers and staff is wrongheaded and flies in the face of the facts and common sense. Instead of turning our classrooms into guardrooms and our schools into fortresses, let's work to keep guns out of the wrong hands in the first place with better, common sense gun regulations.


ADDENDUM (5/7/18): A related article citing 30 incidents by armed adults at schools, collected from the Gun Violence Archive.