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Member since: Sun Jan 14, 2007, 02:51 PM
Number of posts: 7,981

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Should Gun Violence Be Treated Like Car Accidents?

The gun-control debate in the aftermath of a mass shooting is a stark reminder of the deeply held beliefs in the U.S. about firearms and access to them. Some members of the medical community, however, have been trying for years to broaden those conversations to include, not just arguments about the Constitution or political ideologies, but a discussion about the toll gun violence takes on public health. Their goal: to work to reduce incidents of gun violence in the same way as campaigns that targeted polio, smoking-related cancer or car accidents.

It's a controversial approach. Opponents, among them the gun lobby and many Republicans, believe the move is a thinly veiled effort to further restrict gun ownership and to provide new grounds for seizing firearms. But supporters, including doctors and medical associations, say that designating gun violence – which they define to include homicides, suicides and injuries – as a public health issue will save lives. Doctors already counsel patients about a range of safety issues, including avoiding lead paint, wearing seatbelts, getting vaccinated and dealing with the dangers of backyard pools. If the designation were to change, they could more often ask patients about whether they keep a gun in the home and, if so, how it is secured.

"We're not debating the constitutionality of firearms – that exists," says Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director for the American Public Health Association. "Firearms exist and people get hurt and die from firearms. There are ways for us in a nonpolitical manner to make people safer with their firearms in a society."

Posted by SecularMotion | Tue Jul 7, 2015, 04:51 PM (45 replies)

Police: Soldier was carrying loaded magazines during rifle-toting incident at mall

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- The Fayetteville Police Department has charged an Army soldier after getting multiple reports of an armed gunman at Cross Creek Mall Thursday evening.

A huge number of law enforcement officers flooded the mall located off the All American Expressway when 911 calls started coming in just before 6:30 p.m.

On Friday, Fort Bragg officials confirmed the rifle belonged to Wolfinger and was not military issued.

Fayetteville Police spokesman Lt. Todd Joyce confirms Bryan Scott Wolfinger had some loaded high capacity magazines in his bag while he was at the mall. The 25-year-old soldier was carrying an AR-15 rifle, a military ballistic panel carrier and wearing a Kevlar vest.

Posted by SecularMotion | Sat Jul 4, 2015, 06:23 AM (22 replies)

The NRA, and the tactics of fear

I recently received a “Dear Mr. Plum” letter from the executive vice president of the NRA. Had it not been for the obvious marketing design of the envelope, I may have thought that he was writing to me about my monthly appearance outside his office as part of our End Gun Violence Vigil. No, he was writing to invite me to become a member of the NRA! The mass marketing firm responsible for the mailing may have lost their contract after sending a letter to me.

And if that was not enough, the letter went on to explain in bold type with underlining and capitalization that “They’ve vowed to fight on and never surrender…Not until they BAN tens of millions of commonly owned firearms…SHUT DOWN gun shops and shows…Impose crippling TAXES and FEES on firearms and ammunition…REGISTER gun owners…and DESTROY your right to defend yourself, your home and your loved ones.”

The tone of the letter was disturbing with its repeated references to “fight, defend, destroy, war, muscle, defeat.” All the bluster and loud noises are attempts to distract from the efforts on the part of many organizations to have common sense gun safety measures passed that leaves the Second Amendment in place but enhances safety in our homes and community. I continue to introduce a bill to close the gun show loophole as a way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and persons who are violent.

The purpose of the signed petition is explained later in the letter again in bold type: “When NRA is fighting gun control legislation and regulations, we can point to these signed petitions and tell your Virginia politicians that there are thousands of gun owners standing ready to elect the Second Amendment’s allies and defeat her enemies!” Unfortunately this fear tactic works with too many elected officials.

Posted by SecularMotion | Fri Jul 3, 2015, 09:57 AM (20 replies)

I own guns. But I hate the NRA

Some time after I bought my first gun, I got a robocall from the National Rifle Association, asking me to join. After the customary "Please stay on the line..." from a pleasant but earnest voice, I recoiled from the barkings of an angry-sounding man: "Did I know that Barack Hussein Obama and European leaders are meeting on American soil right now, at this very moment, to plot the confiscation of my guns?"

The caller continued with his insinuations of an imminent United Nations plot against America, but before I could be handed off to a live operator, I hung up the phone.

I was amused, and then insulted, that someone would think I was dumb enough to fall for such a pitch. But the sad truth is that there are enough people willing to open their checkbooks to make such a noxious fundraising appeal worthwhile.

The NRA claims to have 5 million dues-paying members (though there's some reason to believe this figure is inflated). That sounds formidable, until one considers that there are approximately 50 million adults who own firearms. Still, the organization has successfully positioned itself as the singular representation of gun owners. For decades they've worked to defend and expand access to firearms in spite of polls showing that most Americans, including gun owners, favor laws that would limit access in various reasonable ways (even three-quarters of NRA households favor background checks prior to private gun sales). But when a U.S. congresswoman was shot in the face, the NRA made certain that no law was passed that would have made her safer. There's no doubt that the NRA does have some grassroots support, but it's smaller than we think. The NRA does not represent all gun owners, and it certainly doesn't represent me.

Posted by SecularMotion | Fri Jul 3, 2015, 08:20 AM (20 replies)

Experts study ‘gun culture’ and its impact on gun violence

Almost a third of American adults own a gun, but the rate varies widely by state and tops out at almost 62 percent of people in Alaska, new survey data show.

Gun ownership was closely tied to “social gun culture,” wherein family and friends also own guns and think less of non-gun owners, researchers found.

About 29 percent of people nationwide reported owning a gun. Only five percent of people in Delaware and six percent in Rhode Island owned a gun, compared to almost 62 percent in Alaska. More than half of people reported owning a gun in West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Regionally, gun ownership was least common in the Northeast and most common in the South and West.

About 5 percent of people said they used their gun for hunting, and 10 percent reported attending gun safety classes.


Posted by SecularMotion | Thu Jul 2, 2015, 08:27 AM (14 replies)

Risk managers offer workplace gun violence mitigation tips

Businesses and other organizations are facing growing gun violence and need to consider it in their risk management plans.

Of 160 active shooter incidents in the U.S. between 2000 and 2013, over 80% occurred at sites where people worked, according to an FBI study published in late 2013. Nearly 70% of the incidents ended in five minutes or less, with more than half of the incidents ending before police arrived.

Employers from a wide range of sectors, including Starbucks Corp., Cigna Corp., and most recently Uber Technologies Inc., have banned guns from the workplace in an effort to protect their employees and manage risk.

Employers are also incorporating active shooter emergency drills and training employees to communicate any threats that may lead to violence

Posted by SecularMotion | Wed Jul 1, 2015, 07:17 AM (13 replies)
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