.

Our Nation Mourns for Colorado – Again

70 People Shot in CO: "It’s time to tell our elected lawmakers – Expressions of sympathy are not enough: We demand action!”

--Federal laws continue to let the country down, city and county leaders must enact local ordinances

Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and survivors of the shooting massacre at the Colorado movie theater, where 70 people were shot and 12 killed (as of this writing) on Jan. 20. As the community mourns and the country angrily struggles to understand why these uniquely American massacres keep happening, it is important to recognize that no one in America is immune from gun violence and to assess the public safety of our own communities.

As Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence President Dan Gross said in a released statement: “It’s time to tell our elected lawmakers – Expressions of sympathy are not enough: We demand action!”

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates reported that officers officially found an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 12-guage shotgun and .40 caliber Glock handguns in the theater and car. The Chief was quoted as saying: “Colorado shooting suspect

James Holmes purchased 6,000 rounds of ammunition, along with four guns, online within weeks leading up to the shooting. My understanding is all weapons he possessed, he possessed legally. All ammunition he possessed he possessed legally.”

That is an outrage! There is much more this country can do to strengthen nearly non-existent federal gun laws and prevent future massacres. 
On average over 100,000 people are shot each year in America and more
than 30,000 of them die. Gun violence burdens the American public including
taxpayers with direct and indirect medical, legal, and societal costs -- estimated
to be $100 billion annually. Despite these staggering statistics, U.S. gun laws
remain the weakest of all developed nations. Contrary to what many people
think, among other things federal law does NOT:

  • Outlaw the sale of assault weapons
  • Impose background checks on all gun purchasers
  • Require that firearm owners be licensed or register their guns
  • Require firearms dealers or ammunition sellers to conduct employee background checks, implement security requirements, obtain liability insurance, and refrain from operating in residential neighborhoods or near schools, daycare centers, parks or other sensitive areas
  • Impose a waiting period, allowing sufficient time for a background check and provide a “cooling off” period

We are fortunate to live in California where we have the strictest gun laws in the
country, which are helping to save lives.  In 2008 (most recent data available)
California’s firearm mortality rate declined to 8.3 per 100,000, while the rest
of the country was at 10.4. Still in 2009, 6,053 people were shot in California
and 2,972 of them died. As horrible as those numbers are, they represent a steady decline in firearms deaths since in 1993 (14,135 people shot and 5,322 died) and the enactment over time of California’s strong gun laws. See CA’s gun laws here: http://smartgunlaws.org/california-state-law-summary/

However much improvement there has been, 6,000 people shot is still 6,000 too many. More can be done at the State level, such as outlawing the “bullet button” assault weapons that the gun manufacturers are using to get around California’s assault weapons ban.  See Brady Campaign Bullet Button Alert
here: 

At the local level, city and county officials must step up and do their part to protect the community from gun violence. Last May, Pleasant Hill residents were shocked to learn that the City had approved a Home Occupation Business Permit for a resident to sell guns and possibly ammunition out of his home -- supposedly (but not confirmed) this would all be done over the Internet.  Many officials concluded that because it was “only over the Internet,” there was no need for concern.  The Internet is an unregulated black hole for weapons and ammunition sales, and we see the consequences of this now in Colorado (6,000 rounds, really?!).  Those dangerous products end up somewhere. This time it was a movie theater in Aurora.   

The Home Occupation Gun Dealer permit was issued with no public hearing or notification to the neighbors. When Contra Costa Brady Campaign members protested this action the City Council voted (4-1, Weir) to agendize a study session to address home occupation permits for gun dealers. This has yet to be scheduled, what are they waiting for?

This election season ask your local candidate if he/she will work to enact a local ordinance banning Home Occupation Gun Dealers.  That’s the question the Contra Costa Brady Campaign will be asking. And we’ll let you know the answers.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Anne Mobley July 28, 2012 at 03:59 AM
I agree with Chris. There are some very real scenarios where in a divorce, the spouse claims the ex has guns. Lawyers tell them to make a case for their side even if they have to make up a story. The story is made up, police are called, and guns are confiiscated. Lies are told and the gun owner is deprived of their collection because of a wacko soon to be ex spouse. It happens...and often.
Anne Mobley July 28, 2012 at 05:21 AM
It is the blame game... If a person cuts their finger off while slicing salami at work, they blame the restaurant. If you smoke three packs a day for 40 years and die of lung cancer, your family blames the Tobacco company. If your neighbor crashes into a tree while driving home drunk, they blame the bartender. If your grandchildren are brats without manners, you blame television. If your friend is shot by a deranged madman, you blame the gun manufacturer. If a crazed person breaks into the cockpit and tries to kill the pilot at 35,000 feet, and the passengers kill him instead, the mother of the crazed deceased blames the airline. I guess if you die while your body is parked in front of the computer, you’ll want to blame Bill Gates. I must have lived too long to understand the world as it is anymore. No one takes responsibility for their actions. Very sad indeed.
Redrock July 28, 2012 at 05:46 AM
@ Anne Baby Great points.. but most important… If your hair stylist says you gotta wear your hair like Anne… then we gotta blame the hair stylist. Love ya and good night! red
Chris Kapsalis July 28, 2012 at 12:32 PM
OK. I've been to NRA meetings. Couple hundred people. Trust me, these are not the people you have to worry about owning guns mostly. They were good people, cops, ex military, school teachers, family people, some who were duck hunters, me who would only kill in something like a home invasion robbery maybe, and so on. Maybe one or two you might raise your eye brows over, but just like any group, good people. Whacko's? No. If anything they are Not the ones I worry about. The one I worry about is maybe some kid who joins a gang and wants that street corner to sell drugs, or the one in 300 million whacko who would just use gasoline or a bomb anyway if a gun was not possible to get and would have probably killed more people in the movie theater. These are troubled people, evil, insane, but very rare thankfully. Think about it. Only one person out of 300 million Americans decided to go into a movie theater and kill so many innocent people this year. Those odds of one person doing this horrible crime are akin to winning the super lottery Twice in one year. I aint worried about it to be honest. Still very sad for those killed. Yet we go way overboard and over react. And to be honest, guns are not the most efficient way for a crazy to kill the most people at one time. They would find another way sadly.
MountainDude July 29, 2012 at 09:00 PM
The Aurora Colorado incident was a microcosm of gun control. No guns allowed. Fish in a barrel.

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