Congresswoman Capps' Statement: President Obama's Executive Actions will strengthen gun safety standards.

Congresswoman Capps’ Statement: President Obama’s Executive Actions will strengthen gun safety standards.

(WASHINGTON, January 5, 2016) Today, Rep Lois Capps (CA-24) issued the following statement after joining President Barack Obama at the White House for his announcement of executive actions to strengthen...

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CAGV YEAR-END Donation/Membership Appeal

CAGV YEAR-END Donation/Membership Appeal

Dear Members and Friends of the Coalition Against Gun Violence, Now is time to show your support for gun violence prevention by joining or renewing your annual membership in the...

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3rd Annual National Vigil For All Victims of Gun Violence

3rd Annual National Vigil For All Victims of Gun Violence

People came together December 6th in Santa Barbara as they are doing on December 9 and all this week for the  3rd Annual National Vigil For All Victims of Gun Violence. Mere...

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CAGV & Veterans For Peace VIGIL Dec 6th

CAGV & Veterans For Peace VIGIL Dec 6th

The Coalition Against Gun Violence & Santa Barbara’s Veterans for Peace invite the Santa Barbara community to join together to “REMEMBER AND RECOMMIT” Memorial Vigil for San Bernardino Victims of Gun...

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It's Not Gun Control – It's Gun Violence Prevention

It’s Not Gun Control – It’s Gun Violence Prevention

The following OP-ED is written by Toni Wellen, CAGV Chair Once again America is awash in tears mourning the loss of precious lives to gun violence. The population of Roseburg...

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Barack Obama: Guns Are Our Shared Responsibility

Barack Obama: Guns Are Our Shared Responsibility

(the following is from the NYT, Jan 7, 2016)

“THE epidemic of gun violence in our country is a crisis. Gun deaths and injuries constitute one of the greatest threats to public health and to the safety of the American people. Every year, more than 30,000 Americans have their lives cut short by guns. Suicides. Domestic violence. Gang shootouts. Accidents. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost brothers and sisters, or buried their own children. We’re the only advanced nation on earth that sees this kind of mass violence with this frequency.

“A national crisis like this demands a national response. Reducing gun violence will be hard. It’s clear that common-sense gun reform won’t happen during this Congress. It won’t happen during my presidency. Still, there are steps we can take now to save lives. And all of us — at every level of government, in the private sector and as citizens — have to do our part.

“We all have a responsibility.

“On Tuesday, I announced new steps I am taking within my legal authority to protect the American people and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. They include making sure that anybody engaged in the business of selling firearms conducts background checks, expanding access to mental health treatment and improving gun safety technology. These actions won’t prevent every act of violence, or save every life — but if even one life is spared, they will be well worth the effort.

Obama_SharedResp“Even as I continue to take every action possible as president, I will also take every action I can as a citizen. I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform. And if the 90 percent of Americans who do support common-sense gun reforms join me, we will elect the leadership we deserve.

“All of us have a role to play — including gun owners. We need the vast majority of responsible gun owners who grieve with us after every mass shooting, who support common-sense gun safety and who feel that their views are not being properly represented, to stand with us and demand that leaders heed the voices of the people they are supposed to represent.

“The gun industry also needs to do its part. And that starts with manufacturers.

“As Americans, we hold consumer goods to high standards to keep our families and communities safe. Cars have to meet safety and emissions requirements. Food has to be clean and safe. We will not end the cycle of gun violence until we demand that the gun industry take simple actions to make its products safer as well. If a child can’t open a bottle of aspirin, we should also make sure she can’t pull the trigger of a gun.

“Yet today, the gun industry is almost entirely unaccountable. Thanks to the gun lobby’s decades of efforts, Congress has blocked our consumer products safety experts from being able to require that firearms have even the most basic safety measures. They’ve made it harder for the government’s public health experts to conduct research on gun violence. They’ve guaranteed that manufacturers enjoy virtual immunity from lawsuits, which means that they can sell lethal products and rarely face consequences. As parents, we wouldn’t put up with this if we were talking about faulty car seats. Why should we tolerate it for products — guns — that kill so many children each year?

“At a time when manufacturers are enjoying soaring profits, they should invest in research to make guns smarter and safer, like developing microstamping for ammunition, which can help trace bullets found at crime scenes to specific guns. And like all industries, gun manufacturers owe it to their customers to be better corporate citizens by selling weapons only to responsible actors.” – Barack Obama, President of the United States.

 

Congresswoman Capps' Statement: President Obama's Executive Actions will strengthen gun safety standards.

Congresswoman Capps’ Statement: President Obama’s Executive Actions will strengthen gun safety standards.

(WASHINGTON, January 5, 2016) Today, Rep Lois Capps (CA-24) issued the following statement after joining President Barack Obama at the White House for his announcement of executive actions to strengthen gun safety standards:

“Today I was honored to join President Obama as he announced new actions his administration will take to reduce gun violence. This plan is a modest but important step to reduce gun violence and protect our communities by strengthening the gun sale background check system and providing the resources necessary for more robust enforcement of existing gun safety laws. It was a meaningful moment where the President, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, father of a UCSB victim Richard Martinez, and so many others came together to highlight that we have lost far too many of our loved ones to gun violence and our nation can and must do better.

“While these actions are important efforts to make our nation safer, the President can only do so much on his own. In order to enact the meaningful change we need, Congress must act. Our local community is far too familiar with the pain that comes from senseless gun violence. The tragedy in Isla Vista is a constant reminder of the consequences of inaction. After that experience, our community came together to say Not One More. This cannot and must not be the end of our efforts to end the gun violence epidemic. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to keep our communities safe.”

The executive actions announced by the President today will make significant progress in the ongoing struggle to curb gun violence:

• Toughening background checks nationwide: The President’s executive actions provide new guidance on existing federal laws, clarifying that any individual in the business of selling firearms must obtain a license through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and therefore conduct background checks on prospective gun purchasers. These actions also include new measures and resources to make the background check system more efficient and effective.
• Protecting communities with bolstered enforcement: The executive actions take new steps to promote smart and effective enforcement of our gun laws – including a proposed increase in funding for more ATF agents, greater resources for tracking illegal online firearms trafficking and strengthened domestic violence outreach efforts.
• Improving mental health services: The President is proposing increased investment to expand access to mental health care. Further, the executive actions remove barriers that prevent the reporting of relevant mental health information to the background check system.
• Driving new research into gun safety: The executive actions direct the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into new technology to make firearms safer.

Watch President Obama Share the Steps He’s Taking to Reduce Gun Violence:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/01/04/live-updates-what-president-doing-keep-guns-out-wrong-hands

 

 

3rd Annual National Vigil For All Victims of Gun Violence

3rd Annual National Vigil For All Victims of Gun Violence

People came together December 6th in Santa Barbara as they are doing on December 9 and all this week for the  3rd Annual National Vigil For All Victims of Gun Violence. Mere words cannot plumb the depths of the loss of a loved one to gun violence, a wound that never heals. With 30,000 plus gun deaths in America annually, it has come at last to this, that we now come together at this time each year to remember and recommit. During this national time of grief, America mourns annually for all victims of gun violence.

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Too often after a tragic shooting we hear that prayers and condolences are not enough. The community of San Bernardino now joins Santa Barbara and so many others in a grief that never ends and our country continues to mourn every time a life is lost to gun violence. What is the answer to this epidemic of gun violence?

The NRA’s mantra is that America needs good guys with guns to counteract the bad guys with guns. The San Bernardino shooter was exactly that, an apparently good guy until he (and his wife) used firearms that are illegal in California to slaughter innocent people. The shooter was considered a mild quiet man who held a stable, middle-class job. His family is shocked.   And as usual there is a dark story was behind this heinous act.   The reason America has over 30,000 guns deaths very year, that’s 85+ each day, is because lots of good guys with guns also have problems. They explode and use that handy gun and suddenly become bad guys with guns. It’s happening somewhere in America as I speak.

How long will it take Congress to hear the voice of the majority of Americans who want sensible gun violence prevention laws? The NRA’s mantra that more guns make us safer is obviously shockingly and tragically wrong. The people who refuse to see this are elected members of Congress blocking all action to prevent gun violence in America. On December 12-3-15, just days after 14 innocent people were shot to death and 21 wounded in San Bernardino, in a party-line vote the committee Republicans killed an amendment from Democrat Rep. Mike Quigley that would have blocked firearm purchases by those on the FBI’s terrorist watch list. The voices of the people are not being heard. However, we will not give up. The parents of Newtown are not giving up. Richard Martinez and Bill Weiss, who lost their children in the Isla Vista shooting are not giving up. We the people must not give up. We must work together, make our voices louder, vote people who are supported by the NRA out of office.

It is emerging that this was possibly an act of terrorism. There have been 355 mass shootings in 2015 in the United States, meaning four people killed in a single event. We need to view every shooting as an act of terrorism because of the terror that occurs to families and communities with even one killing. This country has hopefully reaching a tipping point. Remember the movie “Network,” when Howard Beale says, “I’m mad as Hell and I won’t take this anymore.” Aren’t we there yet?

(image:  CAGV Chair Toni Wellen, December 6, 2015,  Memorial/Vigil, Santa Barbara)

Slideshow for the 2015 National Vigil For All Victims of Gun Violence. Video #1 of 2.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c00og7p3GlM#t=10

 

CAGV & Veterans For Peace VIGIL Dec 6th

CAGV & Veterans For Peace VIGIL Dec 6th

The Coalition Against Gun Violence & Santa Barbara’s Veterans for Peace invite the Santa Barbara community to join together to “REMEMBER AND RECOMMIT” Memorial Vigil for San Bernardino Victims of Gun Violence & All Victims of Gun Violence

WHERE: The Santa Barbara Veterans for Peace, Chapter 54 Costs of Wars demonstration (Cabrillo Blvd. and State)
WHEN: 1:00pm, Sunday, December 6, 2015
WHO: Coalition Against Gun Violence, Veterans for Peace, Elected officials, various community organizations and THE PUBLIC

The Coalition Against Gun Violence and Veteran’s for Peace are sponsoring this event in solidarity with communities across our nation, as we join to remember the 14 victims and 21 wounded at San Bernardino, CA plus all victims of gun violence in America and to all veterans/ costs of wars demonstrations. Our focus is a re-dedication and a renewed call to action to reduce violence in this season during which we often speak about peace. Together, each in our individual lives will dedicate ourselves to holding peace in our hearts and extending outward with thought and action.

VICTIMS OF #SanBernardino: Shannon Johnson, 45 • Juan Espinoza, 50 • Aurora Godoy, 26 • Isaac Amanios, 60 • Michael Wetzel, 37 • Larry Daniel Kaufman, 42 • Sierra Clayborn, 27 • Robert Adams, 40 • Bennetta Betbadal, 46 • Nicholas Thalasinos, 52 • Harry Bowman, 46 • Damian Meins, 58 • Yvette Velasco, 27 • Tin Nguyen, 31
For information contact Toni Wellen at (805) 684-8434.

It's Not Gun Control – It's Gun Violence Prevention

It’s Not Gun Control – It’s Gun Violence Prevention

The following OP-ED is written by Toni Wellen, CAGV Chair

Once again America is awash in tears mourning the loss of precious lives to gun violence. The population of Roseburg and most especially Umpqua Community College will never be the same. Such numbing grief and profound sorrow enfolds this community. For all the literally thousands of Americans who have lost loved ones to gun violence, each of these deadly horrific acts reopens wounds that never really heal. It is with profound sadness that we extend our condolences to the families and the people of Roseburg.

We know that prayers and tears are not enough. Every American needs to wake up to this scourge of gun violence because it affects us all. This year there have already been 294 mass shootings that have ended 375 lives and injured more than 1000 Americans. 30,000 Americans die annually from gun

Yet gun advocates who continually invoke what they believe is their Second Amendment rights want more guns and concealed guns. The Second Amendment states, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” “A well-regulated” means regulations on firearms, and does not infringe upon anyone’s Second Amendment rights. We have laws regulating everything in this country, why would firearms be exempt? The Supreme Court made it clear that the Amendment protects only a limited right and does not mean “any gun, anywhere, anytime.” This Congress refuses year after tragic year to pass a single law that would protect Americans from gun death and

The following facts tell us that in mass shootings and gun homicides, whether the gun was legally purchased or not, the killer is frequently, until that moment a law-abiding firearm owner pulling the trigger on a lawfully held

In the 16 deadliest mass shootings in Europe, 86% of the victims were shot by a licensed shooter;

In at least 29 American mass gun killings, 139 people were killed by gun owners with hidden handgun permits;

In 16 mass shootings in Australia and New Zealand, 55% of the victims were shot by licensed gun owners using legally held firearms. (Source: Philip Alpers, Sydney School of Public Health, University of 

The American people overwhelmingly support common-sense solutions to our gun violence epidemic – policies like universal background checks (88% Democrats and 79% Republicans: July 2015 Pew Poll), an assault weapons ban, a limit on ammunition clips and gun violence protective orders. Similarly, nearly 80% favor laws that would prevent the mentally ill from buying guns. But existing federal background checks prevent only a tiny slice of this population — those ruled mentally defective or involuntarily committed by a judge to a mental institution —from buying guns. Persons deemed emotionally unstable and hospitalized for at least 72 hours are prohibited from purchasing a firearm. However many states do not send this mental health information to the NICS database because they say they don’t have the funds. So these emotionally disturbed people are able to buy a gun if not in their home state, the state next door. The most helpful strategy to prevent the mentally ill from having firearms is to give family members, law enforcement and mental health professionals, who often know better than anyone else when someone’s mental state is deteriorating, an avenue to separate that person from any firearm. California’s new law “Gun Violence Restraining Order” passed six months after the Isla Vista, will do just that. Similarly, “A Pause for Safety” introduced by Congresswoman Lois Capps in the House and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer in the Senate awaits action in Congress. Blaming mental health and doing nothing is

We must demand change. And we can’t give up until we get it. Richard Martinez, who lost his son Chris at Isla Vista, was asked when he would give up fighting for better gun laws and he replied, “When I’m dead.” President Obama said after the shooting, “This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our

Take action in your own community today! The Coalition Against Gun Violence (CAGV) needs committed people who want to work on gun violence prevention. Contact and join CAGV, a nonprofit grassroots organization actively working for non-violence and educating the community since 1994. Visit our website: www.sbcoalition.org or email sbcagv@gmail.com.

CAGV 20th Anniversary Appeal

CAGV 20th Anniversary Appeal

For twenty years, CAGV volunteers and supporters have worked diligently to reduce gun violence on the Central Coast. We’ve grieved for stricken families who have lost loved ones to gun violence in our community and communities across America. We have educated the public and supported legislation to reduce gun violence. And yet, we MUST do more. CAGV needs your help to continue this proactive work. TAKE A STAND – Everyone is affected by gun violence. Commit and work for gun violence prevention. We need new ideas and input. Join our Steering Committee. Become an active member and make a difference. Bring your passion and skills to this issue by joining a group of like-minded individuals dedicated to actively reducing gun violence. CAGV meets monthly to plan and share ideas. Please contact us at sbcagv@gmail.com or call (805) 564-6803.

MEMBERS & SUPPORTERS PLEASE CONFIRM OR UPDATE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION. Please send CAGV the following information so we can keep our records current. Emails bounce back and snail mail is returned. Your information is confidential. We do not share your contact information; but we must keep our records current so you receive our communications. Please provide the following information: Name(s) • Address • City • Zipcode • Email address • Telephone Volunteer Interests? • Do you want the newsletter emailed or snail mailed? IF YOU HAVE NOT PAID YOUR 2015 MEMBERSHIP DUES OF $25 PLEASE DO SO NOW; it’s a small amount but important to enable the work of CAGV. Snail mail your membership renewal and your information update to CAGV, PO Box 699, Summerland, CA 93067. You can also email your information update to: sbcagv@gmail.com. THANK YOU!

CAGV Celebrates Twenty Successful Years

CAGV Celebrates Twenty Successful Years

Image above: CAGV’s 20th Anniversary Honorees in attendance: (standing) Former Supervisor Susan Rose, City Councilmember Gregg Hart, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, City Councilmember Cathy Murillo, Mayor Helene Schneider, Former Mayor Marty Blum, County School Superintendent Bill Cirone; in front: Former Mayor Sheila Lodge, State Assembymember Das Williams, CAGV Chair Toni Wellen, and Supervisor Janet Wolf.

CAGV’s 20th Anniversary Celebration held at the Santa Barbara Club Sunday, May 17th was an elegant tribute to the multiple efforts this unique local nonprofit volunteer organization has accomplished throughout the years in  Santa Barbara County. State and nationwide gun prevention organizations have praised CAGV’s work.

CAGV paid tribute to and honored elected officials who have been outstanding community leaders in gun violence prevention in our 20-year history. Organizations, multiple businesses and individuals paid tribute to CAGV’s anniversary through the purchase of ads in the 20th Anniversay Program and donations to the silent auction. CAGV would like to thank the business owners and individual donors (listed on our website) and recognize that it was entirely due to their support and generous donations from this event that CAGV was able to organize its second successful Gun Buyback on June 13th without the help of outside funds or grants.
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Santa Barbara Mourns with Charleston

Santa Barbara Mourns with Charleston

The following Oped is written by Toni Wellen, CAGV Chair:

Charleston, the community of Santa Barbara understands your grief, your sorrow and pain.  We have shared the loss of loved ones to gun violence and know the angst that remains.  Knowing you will never see your child live a full life, knowing you will never feel the arms of your loved one around you.

Numbing grief and profound sorrow are mere words that cannot plumb the depths of the loss of a person you held dear.   Millions of words searching for the “why” behind these hate-filled deeds matter little to the precious space that adored person occupied which is now forever empty.

We in Santa Barbara wish to extend our expressions of condolence to the families and the people of Charleston.  And at this moment we must also be aware that every parent who has lost a child or a family member to gun violence relives those wrenching moments of their loss for the rest of their lives.
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How many other families and communities are filled with the pain of remembrance because someone with a gun, for whatever reason, ended an innocent human life?  Communities like Isla Vista, Goleta, Newtown, Aurora , Tucson, the Wisconsin Sikh Temple, Virginia Tech, Columbine…and on and on.

Listening to the voices of family members at the bond hearing for the shooter on June 19, 2015 were startling in their similarity.  Many forgave the shooter and said, “May God have mercy on your soul.”  These grieving families expressed a generosity of spirit.  They believed in speaking out so that hate would not win.

Each time there is a shooting we hear the words, “disturbed” and “mentally ill.”  Such words malign the large number of Americans struggling with emotional problems who are not violent.   Yes, we must pay attention and offer concrete help to the population of mentally ill people who live in our families and communities.  A majority of Santa Barbarans would like Laura’s Law, court ordered treatment for the severely mentally ill, to be adopted in Santa Barbara County. Motivated by the Isla Vista tragedy, California recently passed a temporary gun violence restraining order law that enable families and law enforcement to temporarily prevent potentially violent people from possessing firearms.

Tragically voices crying out for reasonable gun violence prevention laws in Congress have been silenced, buried by the millions spent by the NRA to continue manufacturing “highly dangerous killing instruments.”

President Obama, speaking in San Francisco, June 19, 2015 said,  “You don’t see murder on this kind of scale, this kind of frequency in any other advanced nation on Earth.  “I refuse to act as if this is the new normal or to pretend it is simply sufficient to grieve and that any mention to do something to stop it is simply politicizing the problem.”

Why is murder by gun a political issue?  Because the NRA has successfully created and enforced that concept through intimidation.  Why can’t Congress pass the universal background checks and a ban on large ammunition clips that 90% of Americans want?  Because politicians are intimidated by the NRA and not influenced by the river of tears that flow from the literally millions of Americans affected by gun violence.

Those of us who are working to find ways to reduce gun violence know that it is not enough to grieve.  We have cried out with Richard Martinez, “Not one more.”  If you have had enough and are motivated to take a stand and work for gun violence prevention, there is a place for you and your ideas in the Coalition Against Gun Violence, a grassroots nonprofit in Santa Barbara.  CAGV just held its successful second annual gun buyback, where 207 firearms were turned over to the Santa Barbara Police Department never be used to cause a family tragedy.  Please contact us at: sbcagv@gmail.com or (805) 564-6803.

The Coalition Against Gun Violence and it’s many supporters mourn with Charleston and the millions of gun violence survivors across America, as we hopefully pray, “Not One More.”