Thursday 2/22 – Where do we go with gun laws now?

There are 80 gun-related bills currently in Congress.

As we get ready to join up with student-led gun protests and campaigns to call legislators,  we take a moment to fill up on gun facts and call out the fiction.

“At what point do you start locking people away for something they might do?”

It’s harder than you think.

FBI quote

say the right things

Don’t fall for the “mental health” misdirect.

mental health 2

A psychiatrist explains why the mental health system can’t stop mass shooters. (time)(nytimes)
“Violent crimes committed by people with severe mental illnesses get a lot of attention, but such attacks are relatively rare. Paolo del Vecchio of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has said, “Violence by those with mental illness is so small that even if you could somehow cure it all, 95 percent of violent crime would still exist.”
This important article discusses that the violence that manifests as mass shootings may be more consistently an issue of anger and the inability to manage it, which is not necessarily catagorized as a psychiatric problem. Teaching kids to manage their anger from an early age should be a part of our schools’ curriculum. Note, however, Trump is busy trying to cut counselors in school and violence prevention programs, Medicaid, a provider of mental health care, and trying to undermine insurance mental health coverage requirements. But even if he desists in destroying mental health care, we still may not be targeting the real cause of mass shootings.

Understand the scope of our gun problem.

We need legislators to step up, on both sides.

There’s enough research to know what works and what the public wants. (nytimes)


“YES” on S.2095 – Pass an Assault Weapons Ban

The research is in. More guns equals more gun deaths.

 In 2004, the NRA successfully pressured the GOP-controlled government letting the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban lapse. After it expired the number of gun massacre deaths (which had decreased over 40% during the ban) jumped nearly 2.5 fold. Gun violence experts and 2/3 of the American public are now renewing their calls for a nationwide ban on these types of weapons. Last November, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced an assault weapons ban (S.2095) which would ban future sales of high-capacity magazines and military-style assault weapons, including the AR-15 used in many recent gun massacres (Parkland, Las Vegas, Newtown).

Action: Find out if your senator supports this here. Choose the appropriate script below and call. Ask your family and friends in states with NRA-supporting senators to call too. Legislator contact information below.

Minimal Script for supporter: I’m calling from [zip code] to thank Sen. [___] for supporting S.2095, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017. (Thank both Feinstein & Harris)

Minimal script for non-signer: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Sen. [___] to support S.2095, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017. Your vote will determine my next vote for you..

“NO” on  S.446 – the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.

Action: Find out if your senator supports this here. Choose the appropriate script below and call. Ask your family and friends in states with NRA-supporting senators to call too. Legislator contact information below.

Minimal Script for non-signer: I’m calling from [zip code] to thank Sen. [___] for not supporting S.446 – Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (Thank both Feinstein & Harris)

Minimal script for co-signer: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Sen. [___] to remove your co-sponsorship for S.446– Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. Your vote will determine my next vote for you..

“YES” on S.1939/H.R. 3894 – Hold gun companies accountable 

In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAAwhich prevented victims from suing gun manufacturers for wrongdoing. Last October, Senators Blumenthal (D-CT) and Murphy (D-CT), and Rep. Schiff (D-CA) introduced the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act (S.1939/H.R. 3894), which would repeal PLCAA and allow victims of mass shootings to hold the gun industry accountable.  It’s time to tell our MoCs to support this repeal. Congress should be protecting children from mass shootings, not gun manufacturers from lawsuits

Action: Find out if your senatorssupports S.1939 here and if your rep. supports H.R. 3894 here. Choose the appropriate script below and call. Ask your family and friends in states with NRA-supporting senators to call too. Legislator contact information below.

Minimal Script for co-signer: I’m calling from [zip code] to thank Rep./Sen. [___] for supporting S.1939/H.R. 3894. (Thank both Feinstein & Harris)

Minimal script for non-signer: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Rep./Sen. [___] to co-sponsorship for S.1939/H.R. 3894.  (Ask both Brownley and Carbajal)

“YES” on H.R. 4573 – Repeal the Dickey Amendment 

We research other causes of death as public safety issues…why not guns? Lawn darts were banned after one death.

In 1996, infuriated by CDC-funded research suggesting that having firearms in the home sharply increased the risks of homicide, the NRA goaded Congress into stripping the injury center’s funding for gun violence research – $2.6 million. Congress then passed a measure drafted by then-Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.) forbidding the CDC to spend funds “to advocate or promote gun control.”

Action: Find out if your representative supports H.R.4573 – Gun Violence Research Act of 2017 here. Choose the appropriate script below and call. Ask your family and friends in states with NRA-supporting senators to call too. Legislator contact information below.

Minimal Script for non-signer: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Rep. [___] to support H.R.4573 – Gun Violence Research Act of 2017 (Ask both Brownley and Carbajal)

Minimal script for co-signer: I’m calling from [zip code] to thank Rep. [___] for co-signing H.R.4573 – Gun Violence Research Act of 2017

“Your license and registration, please.” Make gun ownership more like  car ownership – rights, responsibilities, and liability.


Check out this list of the 80 gun-related bills currently in Congress. All of them propose commonsense gun safety reforms that stop short of banning guns. Not a single one is being acted on by our GOP- and NRA-controlled Congress. Here’s a combined list of suggestions of effective actions from (forbes) and (scientificamerican).

  • Require permits to purchase guns. 
    • Already required for handguns in 10 states and Washington DC,  permit-to-purchase approaches are more effective than seller-focused comprehensive or universal background checks. A 2009 study of 53 cities showed a 68% drop in guns being diverted to criminals post-sale. (HR 4434)
    • Raise the age to 21 for all guns, not just handguns.
  •  Register every gun and every gun sale.
    • Ban the sale of any items that accelerate rate of fire (HR 3947)
    • Keep track of sellers who’ve lost their license transferring inventory. (HR 4342)
  • Increase the time period allowed for background checks. (HR 3464)
  • Require liability insurance a requirement for every gun owner, tracked to every gun. Require proof of insurance for every sale.
    • Registration and insurance would not stop every crime, just like they fail to stop every automobile death. However, faced with registration and insurance costs, declines in casual gun ownership would accelerate. It would become very expensive to maintain a gun-nut arsenal of dozens of weapons. Insurance costs would power the spread of trigger locks, gun safes and other safety protections.
    • Liability suits and criminal actions against irresponsible gun owners would severely constrain criminals’ access to weapons.
  • Track sales of ammunition like we currently track Sudafed.
    • Make gun and munition registries available to law enforcement. Registries would empower police to enforce gun laws.
    • Allow sales of ammunition only for register guns
    • Disallow any form of armor-piercing ammunition (HR 4721)
    • Disallow any lead ammunition due to pollution issues.
  • Require training, testing and regular recertification of owners, just like police and military. This is what the “well-regulated” militia should mean.
  • Ban individuals convicted of any violent or hate crime from purchasing a gun.
    • Although Americans convicted of domestic violence are already banned from owning guns, other violent acts don’t affect gun ownership at all. Which is a mistake, especially as studies are pointing to  uncontrolled anger, and not mental illness, as the root cause of both physical violence and mass shootings.
  • Require all serious domestic violence offenders (not just spouses) and those with domestic violence restraining orders to surrender their firearms 
    • Some states are now passing laws requiring individuals convicted of domestic violence crimes to surrender their firearms; an October 2017 study found that these “relinquishment” laws are nearly 50 percent more effective than non-relinquishment laws at reducing intimate partner violence. Restrictions based on restraining orders were associated with a 19 percent reduction in the risk for intimate partner homicide in large U.S. cities. Such restrictions are in place in 35 states and Washington D.C. (HR 4192) (S.2044)
  •  Temporarily ban active alcohol abusers from firearms
    • Federal law prohibits people who are addicted to and/or unlawfully using controlled substances from owning guns. But recent data suggest some nine million U.S. firearm owners also binge drink, which is a specific medical problem involving abuse of the substance alcohol. Wintemute’s research suggests people with DUIs (driving under the influence) are four to five times as likely as people with no criminal record to be arrested for a violent crime in the future.
  • Ban some other crazy stuff while we’re at it. Like flamethrowers.
  • Authorize buyback programs (HR 445)

Contact your Legislator

Rep. Julia Brownley: (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779

or Rep. Salud Carbajal: (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348

Which one is yours?

Senator Feinstein: DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430

and Senator Harris: DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884

Other Rep./Senator Contacts:

Things you can do personally – Divest from Guns

Gun stocks are highly lucrative and many of us have them in our portfolios without being actively aware of it. 

  • Check your funds for guns here. 
  • Share the information with your benefits manager or stockbroker.
  • Ask them to switch to ESG or “socially responsible investing’.

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 1.58.38 PM

Ask banks to stop supporting the sale of guns

PayPal, Square, Stripe, and Apple Pay will not allow their services to be used for the sale of firearms.  Why not Visa, Mastercard, and American Express? Mastercard has a whole page on social responsibility. They restrict other things… JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America just barred the use of their cards to buy cryptocurrencies. Let’s point out to the credit card companies that they need us and we don’t want them to facilitate gun sales: Visa; Mastercard; American Express 1-800-528-4800

These companies support the sale of guns. Postcards, anyone?

From Drain the NRA: “By partnering with the NRA, these companies are tacitly endorsing the gun lobby’s practices of halting sensible gun safety legislation, such as universal background checks and a ban on bump stocks, that would ultimately make our communities safer. As shareholders, customers and citizens, demand that these corporations end their advertising and corporate partnerships with the NRA and stand for safer communities, not the gun lobby.” Join in this effort here.

Help high school and college students protest.

“High school and college students from across the country are teaming up with Everytown for Gun SafetyAction Fund and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to launch a new initiative – Students Demand Action”.  Join here: or students can text Student to 64433

Help gun-safety candidates run.

One Vote at A Time started after the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016 to make free-of-charge campaign ads for candidates who believe in gun safety. In 2017, they made over 30 ads for 19 candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates.  In 2018, they are going to 10 states to work with hundreds of candidates. If we are or know of a Gun Safety Candidate interested in their support, we can contact them here. \

Think local – Contact your Mayor.

  • Call your mayor and ask him/her/them to join the Mayors against illegal Guns campaign by Everytown for Gun Safety. (Note: Ventura, Ojai, Oxnard, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks are NOT members yet.)
  • Ask your mayor whether he/she is advocating for your city to divest from guns. If no efforts are underway, attend your next City Council meeting and raise the issue.
  • Visit for more ways to take action, including attending local events.

Question all Candidates for public office

Do they support gun safety measure that save lives?

  • Q1. Do you support Red Flag Laws that allow family members or law enforcement to ask a judge to temporarily restrict gun access from a person — like the Parkland shooter — who shows dangerous warning signs that he poses a serious threat to himself or others?
  • Q2. Do you support laws that prevent domestic abuse offenders and abusers under restraining orders from having guns?
  • Q3. Do you support a law requiring a criminal background check on every gun sale in this country?
  • Do the oppose dangerous policies that put more Americans at risk?
  • Q4. Do you oppose the gun lobby’s “guns everywhere” agenda, including attempts to force guns into schools and colleges?
  • Q5. Do you oppose the gun lobby’s attempts in states around the country to let people carry guns in public with no permit and no training, and do you oppose its #1 federal legislative priority, “concealed carry reciprocity,”which would force every state to allow untrained, irresponsible people to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public?
  • Q6. Do you oppose the easy availability of gun accessories that increase the lethality of guns, such as silencers, bump stocks, and high capacity magazines?


  • Thoughts and Prayers and N.R.A. Funding
  • Why millions of Americans, including me, own the AR 15 (Vox)
  • I like guns. (millennial)
  • “Do Protests Matter? What the Tea Party Movement Can Teach the Trump Resistance” – (yes)
  • 10 lies distort the gun control debate (forbes)
  • Things that got banned for causing a death.
  • Lawn darts.
  • Worried a co-worker is dangerous? You could ask the state to take their guns under new bill  (Sacbee)
  • Chart on how your MoC voted on key gun bills, such as the Brady Bill, the Assault Weapons Ban, Closing Gun Show Loophole, Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, Concealed Carry Reciprocity, Mental Health background checks, and more.
  • Why so few scientists are studying the causes of gun violence. (
  • 5 states allow guns to be seized before someone can commit violence (wapo)
  • 4 laws that could stem the rising threat of mass shootings (scientificamerican)
  • How to stop a Mass Killer? “Wait, watch and hope they don’t act” (thecipherbrief)
  •  “Poll: Majorities Of Both Parties Favor Increased Gun Restrictions,”(NPR, October 13, 2017)
  • Mentally ill people aren’t killers. Angry people are. (slate)
  • Trump’s actions speak louder than his words… (Slate)
  • “Three Weeks After Las Vegas, Legislation to Ban Bump Stocks Has Stalled Out in Congress” ( The Daily Beast, October 23, 2017)
  • The Gun Lobby – See how much your representative gets (Politico)
  • Frustration Grows as Congress shows inability to pass even modest gun measures. (nytimes)
  • US Appeals court uphold Maryland’s ban on assult rifles as “weapons of war” (
  • Amid continued string of mass shootings, gun control going nowhere in Congress (CNN)
  • What Congress has accomplished since the Sandy Hook Massacre (nytimes)
  • Next Week, My School Will Have An ‘Active Shooter’ Drill. Here’s What I’ll Be Thinking.(Huffpost)
  • How to Reduce Mass Shooting Deaths? Experts Rank Gun Laws (nytimes)
  • Here’s Why American Teenagers Can Buy AR-15s (thedailybeast)
  • News and notes on guns in America (
  • Gun Violence Archive – Jan. 1st thru Feb. 16th, 2018 ( violence

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s