New groups in NC tackle gun violence

The past three months have been busy ones for North Carolinians concerned about the scope of gun violence in the United States.

In January, for instance, a few Apex and Cary residents gathered to discuss the issues involved and coalesced into the Kitchen Table Group. About 15 members of the group met in mid-February with a representative from U.S. Sen. Richard Burr's office to discuss their perspectives and suggestions. Later that afternoon, about a dozen of us traveled to Dunn to meet with representatives from U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers. A month later, the Kitchen Table Group, led by Nancy van Dijk of Cary, has grown to more than 350 members and counting.

Since meeting with representatives from Sen. Burr's and Rep. Ellmers' offices, we have since met with several other state and U.S. legislators from North Carolina. We've also teamed up with other groups tackling gun violence, including Forward Americans, North Carolinians against Gun Violence, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Last week, on March 13, four Triangle members from those groups took part in Moms Take the Hill Day, an event hosted by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. We were among more than 250 women and men from around the United States who gathered in the nation's capital to take on a citizen lobby effort.

We started the day with an hourlong policy briefing at the White House. The briefing was engaging, succinct, and informative. Overviews of current bills making their way through Congress were provided by staff from the White House Community Engagement and Intergovernment Affairs Office, the Economic and Domestic Policy Office, the Office of the Vice President, the White House Council on Women and Girls, Office of Public Engagement, the White House Legislative Affairs Office, and Valerie Jarrett, special advisor to the president.

For the next ten hours, we traveled from one legislative office building to another to speak with the staffs of U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, Sen. Richard Burr, Rep. George Holdings, Rep. Tim Meadows, and Rep. David Price. We were the subject of a Congressional press conference that featured several women legislators who themselves have experienced gun violence in their lives -- Dianne Feinstein, Carolyn McCarthy, and others. We welcome the Sandy Hook Cyclists, who cycled all the way from Connecticut with messages for Congress.

The takeaway from the day is that our legislators are completely inundated with what Sen. Hagan's staff called "the rhetoric of misinformation and misunderstanding," and what even Republican staffers called "irrational fear" from constituents who seem to truly believe that President Barack Obama is planning a civil war against gun owners.

Also, whereas Rep. David Price has maintained his lead role in addressing gun violence and now serves as vice chair of the V.P. Biden-led Gun Violence Task Force, Sen. Hagan (also a Democrat) is not prepared to sponsor, co-sponsor, or support any efforts to reform the gun culture in the United States. She will need a lot of contact from constituents and a lot of push to take a stand. We're used to this with her, of course. But we pointed out that we're her pool of campaign volunteers for her reelection -- and that since the grisly murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School, parents concerned about their children's safety are creating a sea change that will only grow in impact. Hagan has the opportunity to recognize the crest of the change and lead, or ignore it and lose her leadership role in North Carolina and the nation.

We must urge our elected officials to apply qualitative analyses to the comments they receive and not merely keep a tally of how many "for" and how many "against" common-sense gun reform. Some of the rhetoric is extremely hostile and even threatening, and such comments should not be given the same weight as more reasoned suggestions and perspectives.

Since Moms Take the Hill Day, a few of us have gone on to visit with state legislators and other groups addressing gun violence. Today, five of us met with N.C. Sen. Tamara Barringer. Barringer is a new legislator and is just learning the ropes, but she is an ardent supporter of health and human services issues (she was a foster parent for more than 10 years and understands the complexities, lack of funding, and the injustices of the HHS system). Our sense was that she can make the leap from her concerns about public health and safety to the necessity of being on board with firearms reform to protect children.

We'll report more as the events and weeks pass. We're hoping for a new visit with Rep. Ellmers herself in two weeks, when she's back in Dunn during the session break in DC.

Join us! Find Kitchen Table Group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, and Forward Americans on Facebook and become part of our citizen lobby to effect change.

Comments

We're not going to take away your guns, dagnabbit!

Background checks will not lead to federal detention for responsible gun owners; an assault-weapons ban will not mean you can't hunt wild elk; opposition to firearms/ammunition trafficking will not increase highway tolls. And George Soros personally promised me we're not going to have a civil war against gun owners unless and until there's a return to 1980s hairstyles and universal acceptance of the mullet.

Maybe not you...but.....

Unfortunately there is no guarantee that some future event or date may cause the unthinkable to happen So (the thinking goes) There is no way to allow the camel's nose under the tent, as it were. They are also onto our tried and true incrementalism, and as such, are going to fight hard hard hard against ANYTHING no matter how slight. because they feel , no they KNOW, that any ground they give no matter how slight will be used as the next step against them.

In short they are on to us.

Plus in the end they know they get the final vote, for when all else fails. Which for them is terminal lead poisoning delivered for the intended from 500 yards and 1000ft/sec. Oh and the second amendment is not about hunting they say. Hunting is a bonus for having guns. The real point is being able to deliver terminal lead poisoning when needed, get the governemnt goon away they say) I've no idea how you get around that. Its like a whole different world over there.

Enforcing the gun laws on the books

If you look in the crime sections of local newspapers across the state you will see where felons have been arrested in possession of a firearm. If you keep reading you will see where they get bail. Keep reading long enough and you will read where some get arrested again for the exact same weapons charge. I would think that a felon in possession of a firearm would be considered more of a threat than, let's say, the homeowner who has granddad's old .45 in the gun safe.

I am all for gun control! But before I think that gun control is being taken seriously I hope to see the laws on the books enforced to the max. If you do not believe this then check out your local courthouse to see what happens to the felons arrested in possession of a firearm. Come down harder on those who use guns in violent crimes now, today. There are plenty awaiting trial right now. That is an excellent place to start.

I keep hearing about

I keep hearing about enforcing laws already on the books instead of legislating more for gun control.

Are the any specific laws that can be mentioned that will help the problem? Or do we just keep slinging existing laws up on the wall to see if one sticks?

Putting people in jail AFTER they've shot someone is really my idea of prevention.

Rather than a slap on the wrist

Yeah, a felon convicted of possession of a firearm could return to jail rather than a suspended sentence. That would be a start. If felons feared a return to prison for possessing firearms maybe they would stay away from them. I say again, a felon in possession of a firearm has more potential for violence as he or she has already been convicted of the same. A good start would be to come down hard on them for gun violations. The laws are already on the books, enforce the hell out of them. What's wrong with that?

A case in point: In today's online Daily Reflector newspaper, Greenville, NC, there is a photo of a young man named Rouse. He was arrested on March 21, 2013, and among other charges was one for possession of a firearm by a felon. Looking further, he was also arrested on January 11, 2013, among other charges one was for possession of a firearm by a felon. Now I do not doubt that the January charge has probably been postponed as will the current charge. Meanwhile, a felon walks the street in possession of a firearm. As I say, I fear him more than the CPA who has a gun locked up in the attic.

But if we come down hard on the felons then the tears start to flow. I will believe that we are serious about gun control when we come down hard on those felons violating the possession laws currently in place. But do we have the stomach to enforce these laws when the various groups start complaining that we are being too harsh with these felons?

We will see.

"Coming down hard" is not a

"Coming down hard" is not a law to be enforced...Judges hand out sentences - whether they "come down hard" or not is their discretion....not a law.

What are the laws that are not being enforced that are already on the books that you refer to?

correction please...

*Putting people in jail AFTER they've shot someone is really ***NOT*** my idea of prevention.

Perhaps "is NOT really my idea of prevention"?

Yes, we really have to enforce laws on the books. One law, for instance, holds parents liable if they "give" their child a firearm and the child causes harm. Recently in Apex, a 4-year-old boy shot himself when he took a loaded gun from the glove compartment of his babysitter's car; neither the car nor the glove compartment was locked. But the babysitter cannot be charged with liability as the parents could, because of the wording of the law and the ambiguity of its wording. (How many parents actually "give" their child a gun?)

Some of the broader strokes we should focus on are: the trafficking of ammunition and firearms; beefing up the background check system; an assault-weapon ban (much like the existing machine-gun ban that's been in effect for decades); addressing the issue of large-capacity ammunition magazines; and researching the implications of 3-D printing of weapons and large-capacity magazine accessories.

Home Farm Owners For M-1 Abrams Battle Tanks

Breaking News....A Another Group of concern citizens has bang themselves into the Gun Control debate with visits to all local elected officials in the State Of North Carolina. This group of citizens from Lizard Lick North Carolina said today " Of course we are concern about the present danger of Government control Terrorist groups getting their battle scar toes on Used M-1 Abrams Battle Tanks with less mileage of 10,000 miles on them and than hiding them under loopholes of the Federal law by claiming they are Tractor Farm defense units to fight big Agri Seed control corporations. Just last week, A Farmer had to fight off two Panzer Units from the Monsanto Corporation who roll into their Corn field claiming they had their Seeds stolen from them by the Wind and a Act of God. The Farmer manage to roll back the Monsanto Attack Panzer Units by using his used supercharge Ford rebuild Tubo Engine and a Laser lighting missle from a old Hollywood Starwars Movie to win the Day for the 2nd Amendment Right and Free Speech..

When will anti-gunners realize they are living in a Republican Paradise when it comes to Control Freak anti Basic Constitution Rights?

I'd love to have an Abrams

I'd love to have an Abrams tank, as long as I can get you guys to cover the fuel for it lol!