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...

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Obama's Eulogy for Rev. Pinckney Speaks to Gun Violence & Racism

Obama’s Eulogy for Rev. Pinckney Speaks to Gun Violence & Racism

On June 26, 2015, President Obama delivered an impassioned call for America to confront gun violence and racism during his eulogy of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine victims of...

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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...

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SUCCESS! 2nd Annual Gun BuyBack CAGV Collects 207 Firearms

SUCCESS! 2nd Annual Gun BuyBack CAGV Collects 207 Firearms

The Coalition Against Gun Violence, along with the professional organizing efforts of Sgt. Riley Harwood (seen in the photo above taken by Marian Shapiro) and the Santa Barbara Police Department, held a second...

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Santa Barbara Vigil Honors Charleston Victims

Santa Barbara Vigil Honors Charleston Victims

A Santa Barbara Vigil Honoring the People of Charleston and the Congregation of the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina was held Friday, June 19th on State &...

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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!

Prosecutors Against Gun Violence

Prosecutors Against Gun Violence

by Joyce Dudley, Santa Barbara County District Attorney 

Last year I joined the newly organized group of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence (PAGV). This group is principally made up of elected District Attorneys from across the country, primarily from major cities.

PAGV’s mission is to focus on gun violence prevention strategies ranging from policy advocacy to improved enforcement of existing laws.

Our first meeting was held in Atlanta, Georgia. At that meeting there were several excellent presentations on gun violence relating to a variety of topics including: Mental Illness, Trafficking Weapons, Domestic Violence, Legislation, and Mass Murders. At the end of that meeting we decided to create two future summits, one that focused on the nexus between gun violence and mental illness and the other on the link between gun violence and domestic violence.

Last week we met in Miami to discuss the nexus between gun violence and mental illness. I was one of the conference organizers. My role was to interview potential presenters. I interviewed and was most impressed by David A. D’Amora and Harold I. Schwartz. David is the Director of the National Initiatives Council of State Governments Justice Center in NYC. Harold is the Psychiatrist-in-Chief at The Institute of Living at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Harold also co-authored the Sandy Hook Report.

Mr. D’Amora explained that clinicians and policymakers who seek ways to reduce violence need to pay greater attention to demographics like age and gender. He also felt massive cuts to mental health care have impacted our ability to intervene early for those showing the beginning signs of mental illness. He additionally believes that we must protect against over-reaction and not leap to the false conclusion that there is a strong correlation between mental illness and gun violence. Finally, Mr. D’Amora reminded our audience to think beyond psychiatric diagnoses by prioritizing interventions that directly address trauma, substance abuse, anger, work, education, family discord, social isolation, and other criminogenic factors.

Dr. Schwartz was also deeply concerned about the lack of treatment for those suffering with mental illness but felt the criminal justice system should focus its attention on evidence-based risks such as: individuals who are convicted of violent misdemeanors; those subject to a temporary domestic violence restraining order; those convicted of two or more DUIs within five years; and, finally, those convicted of two or more controlled substance misdemeanors within five years.

Although not a speaker interviewed by me, I found Dr. Charles Nemeroff’s presentation to be the most illuminating. Dr. Nemeroff, Chairman of the University of Miami Department of Psychiatry, spoke about the strong link between those who were abused as children and those who later become perpetrators of violent crimes.

I came away from the most recent conference confident my office is on the right path by rigorously prosecuting child abusers, drug dealers, and those with relevant prior offenses, while at the same time vigorously supporting the efforts of those who seek treatment for trauma and addiction. I also felt proud of the fact that the laws and programs we have created in California are among the best, but are mere dreams for many prosecutors from other states. Still, we in California must continue to support our state legislators’ efforts to reduce gun violence in every way we can and to remain vigilant in our efforts to both educate and intervene whenever possible.

Safer in your home with a firearm, or in your vehicle with seat belts and airbags?

Safer in your home with a firearm, or in your vehicle with seat belts and airbags?

The Violence Policy Center’s (VPC) annual report states that gun deaths outpaced motor vehicle deaths in 14 states and the District of Columbia in 2011, the most recent year for which comprehensive nationwide data is available. In 2011, there were more gun deaths than motor vehicle deaths in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington State, as well as the District of Columbia. Data is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and is the most recent available to compare death rates from both products.

In his New York Times article (7-31-14), regarding vehicle deaths, Nicholas Kristof said, “We’ve reduced the fatality rate by more than 95 percent — not by confiscating cars, but by regulating them and their drivers sensibly.” In this fascinating parallel, Kristof informs us that early efforts to require driver’s licenses, set speed limits or register vehicles were met with resistance. It wasn’t until the 1920s that courts routinely accepted driver’s license requirements, car registration and other safety measures. In today’s world regulations on auto designs and safety measures ranging from drunk drivers to restrictions for teenagers have proved to be effective and essential.

This is the third year the VPC has issued its annual report comparing gun deaths to motor vehicle deaths by state. Gun deaths include gun suicides, homicides, and fatal unintentional shootings; motor vehicle deaths include both occupants and pedestrians.

More than 90 percent of American households own a car while little more than a third of American households have a gun. In 2011, there were 32,351 gun deaths and 35,543 motor vehicle deaths nationwide. As a comparison, in 1999, there were 28,874 gun deaths and 42,624 motor vehicle deaths nationwide.

“Firearms are the only consumer product in America not regulated by the federal government for health and safety. Meanwhile, motor vehicle deaths are on a steady decline, thanks to decades of public health-based injury prevention strategies and proven consumer product safety regulation standards designed to reduce death and injury. Gun violence is a public health crisis with an unacceptable toll on human life. … To reduce gun death and injury, firearms must be regulated for health and safety just as we regulate motor vehicles and all other consumer products.” states VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand.

In 1965 Ralph Nader shocked America with his book, “Unsafe at Any Speed.” This exposé of the American automobile industry’s disregard for consumer safety became a best seller that electrified the consumer advocacy movement. “Unsafe at Any Speed” showed how the automobile industry consistently ignored and even covered up the dangers their products posed for the public. The public outrage encouraged the passage of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act in 1966, which created a regulatory agency empowered to set design standards for automobiles.

Kristof points out that, “The NRA supported reasonable gun control for most of its history and didn’t even oppose the landmark Gun Control Act of 1968. But, since then, most attempts at safety regulation have stalled or gone backward, and that makes the example of cars instructive.”

With gun deaths outpacing vehicle deaths in 14 states, approximately two-thirds of the non-gun owning public is hoping and waiting for someone like Ralph Nader to take on the gun industry.

Ed. Note: The full report can be read here: http://www.vpc.org/studies/gunsvcars14.pdf 

Well-Armed Patriot Movement American Insurgents

Well-Armed Patriot Movement American Insurgents

If gun ownership is down but gun sales are not, who is purchasing all the firearms? On the television program VICE, which airs global news documentaries, a recent segment on 3/20/15, “We the People” by Gianna Tobni, explored the growing number of Americans joining Patriot groups, taking up arms and patrolling U.S. borders. The Patriot movement did not get much hype until President Obama was elected, then membership skyrocketed from 800 groups to 1,300 with a membership of around 25,000, according to them, membership continues to expand. These insurgents feel misrepresented by the mainstream media and hold an assumption that there is an erosion of Second Amendment rights, plus an expansion of presidential powers. Their intent is to create a well-armed citizens’ militia to be prepared against what they view as the tyrannical government.

Mark Potok, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, has been tracking these groups for years and is seeing a large demographic change. Potok says we ignore the American radical right at our peril. The most recent incident occurred in 2014 when rancher Cliven Bundy, who has been illegally grazing cattle on federal land for 20 years without paying the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as other ranchers have done, was cited $1 million in fees and penalties. A large group of well-armed individuals blocked the roads and freeways causing BLM agents to back off. We are experiencing a period of extremism. Multiple armed groups of people have led to other violent events: the shooting at the Sikh Mosque in Oak Creek, WI was followed by eight attacks on American mosques. There was also an attack on a Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia. Jerad and Amanda Miller, who spent time with the Bundy militia, later killed two police officers in Las Vegas before they committed suicide. These insurgent militia groups see immigration as an invasion and falsely believe ISIS is coming across the US border. Such groups incite people to take up violence in the name of their cause.

Action Alert: UC Regents Gun Industry Divestment

Action Alert: UC Regents Gun Industry Divestment

In the wake of the tragedy in Isla Vista, California, the University of California Santa Barbara community, Campaign2Unload.org, CAGV and others have come together to turn grief into action. Along with students, faculty and alumni we are demanding action from the University of California:  Transparency of its $88 billion endowment and a ban on all future investments in the gun industry.  The UC has had investments in its portfolio with gun manufacturers. The effort asking UC to cancel all gun manufacturing investments is called “divestment.” Campaign2 Unload.org has submitted a Public Information Act request but has not received the list of UC holdings.

UC maintains it has complied with this request but will not share the necessary information. The UC community deserves to know whether its institution is helping to fund gun violence; and the governing board of the University of California has a moral obligation to take a clear stance against investing in the gun industry that continues to endanger students.

The UC Regents should stand with UCSB and fight to prevent more senseless gun violence by pledging it will not invest in gun manufacturers.

Currently UCSB and UCI have passed a resolution for UC Regents to divest its holdings in gun manufacturers as did the UC Student Association – a group that represents the entire UC System. Allie Clement, Campus Organizer with Campaign2Unload.org and @Campaign2Unload is currently working on a petition for signatures that will go before the UC Board of Regents. She is also coordinating the campaign with a student who sits on the Board of Regents. CAGV is supporting this effort encouraging UC students and alumni to use social media to spread the word.

Join us! SIGN THE PETITION: http://petitions.moveon.org/s/6exIFg

PLEASE ACT NOW WE NEED YOUR SIGNATURE BY MAY 20th 

On May 21st, Bob Weiss, the father of Veronika who was murdered in Isla Vista, and others from the UCSB community will be going to the Board of Regents meeting at UC San Francisco: Mission Bay to deliver the petition (link: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/university-of-california-1%3Fsource%3Dc.em%26r_by%3D9612342) and demand action! The petition will be delivered during the public comment section of the meeting at 8:30 AM. Will you join us to ask Janet Napolitano and the UC Board of Regents for answers?

Are you able to go to UCSF and be part of the petition delivery? We need all the help we can get to support Bob Weiss and the UCSB students. Please contact Allie Clement at campus@campaigntounload.org if you would like to be involved.

Gun Industry Divestment Campaign

Gun Industry Divestment Campaign

Please join the Coalition Against Gun Violence (CAGV) in a Campaign to Divest the University of California system of its holdings in the gun manufacturing industry.

In the wake of the May 23, 2014, tragedy in Isla Vista, California, the University of California Santa Barbara community, Campaign2Unload.org, and CAGV have come together to turn grief into action. Along with students, faculty and alumni we are demanding action from the University of California: Transparency of its $88 billion endowment and a ban on all future investments in the gun industry.

The UC community deserves to know whether its institution is helping to fund gun violence; and the governing board of the University of California has a moral obligation to take a clear stance against investing in the gun industry that continues to endanger the UC community and the nation.

The Regents of the University of California must stand with UCSB and fight to prevent more senseless tragedy by pledging it will not invest in gun violence.

PLEDGE TO STAND WITH UCSB to demand that UC Regents adopt a gun-free endowment: http://www.campaign2unload.org/pledge-to-stand-with-uc-santa-barbara-and-say-not-one-more/

• SIGN THE PETITION to tell the University of California Board of Regents to take a clear stance against investing in gun violence: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/university-of-california-1

• LEARN MORE ABOUT DIVESTMENT  & the Campaign to Unload. Start a Campaign in your City or on your Campus: http://www.campaign2unload.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Divestment-Toolkit_UCSB.pdf

 

 

It Took an Act of Congress to Address Violence Against Women

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was a result of extensive grassroots efforts in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The VAWA was drafted by the office of then Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) with support from a broad coalition of advocacy groups. The Act passed Congress with bipartisan support in 1994. After being renewed with little resistance in 2000 and 2005, Congress let the Act expire in 2011. The problems centered around disagreements about expanded protections for gays and lesbians, Native Americans and illegal immigrants. Read More »

Women Under the Gun: Stalking & Gun Violence

Women Under the Gun: Stalking & Gun Violence

Below is an excerpt from a June 2014 report, “How Gun Violence Affects Women and Four Policy Solutions to Better Protect Them,” by Arkadi Gerney and Chelsea Parsons of the Center for American Progress. 

Federal law prohibits a person from possessing a gun if he has committed a felony or if he has committed a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence against a spouse, live-in girlfriend, or woman with whom he has had a child. However, federal law places no restriction on firearm possession by a person who has committed a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence against a dating partner or who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of stalking. Yet, as of 2008, more women were killed by dating partners than by spouses. Currently, federal law does not prohibit convicted stalkers or unmarried domestic abusers from buying guns. Furthermore, most states do not require background checks of private firearms sales. Offenders in these states can often avoid background checks by seeking out private sellers. Read More »