CAGV Celebrates 19 Years

CAGV Celebrates 19 Years

On Sunday, April 6, 2014, CAGV is proud to celebrate its 19th Anniversary as the only gun control organization on the Central Coast.  This year CAGV’s Annual Luncheon will feature...

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by Anastasia Fenkner I have a dream that one day all people in this nation will enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I have a dream that one...

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Statistics and studies suggest owning a firearm could make a household more vulnerable NOT safer.  The fact is, not a single study to date has shown that the risk of...

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The Courts

“It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” —Justice Antonin Scalia 


Feb.23, 2014 —The U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms applies outside the home. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to possess a gun at home for self-defense. Since then, the lower courts have split over the nature of gun rights beyond the home.

The Court declined to grant review of two laws that restrict handgun ownership by young adults — a federal law barring the sale of handguns to customers under 21 and a Texas law forbidding anyone under 21 to carry a handgun in public. Both laws were upheld by the lower courts.

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The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act bans lawsuits against gun dealers and manufacturers “for the harm caused by those who criminally or unlawfully misuse firearm products.” The law was passed under intense pressure from the National Rifle Association (NRA) amid a number of lawsuits by city governments that accused the gun industry of creating a “public nuisance” by encouraging the proliferation of weapons. The NRA thanked President Bush for signing the Act, for which it had lobbied, describing it as, “the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in twenty years into law.” In the years before passage of the act, victims of firearms violence in the United States had successfully sued manufacturers and dealers for negligence on the grounds that they should have foreseen that their products would be diverted to criminal use. The purpose of the act is to prevent firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for negligence when crimes have been committed with their products. Passage of the act curtailed lawsuits pending from dozens of individuals, 30 cities and the state of New York.

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With Facebook and Instagram as the new digital marketplace for people trading/selling firearms, a current ongoing campaign by gun control advocates addresses their concerns in a petition ( to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, and Kevin Systrom, the CEO of Instagram, asking they put an end to their completely unregulated social media gun show and prohibit gun sales from their platforms immediately. The petition has garnered over 95,000 signatures drawing much media attention and resulting in Facebook’s offical March 5th press release announcing a series of “educational and enforcement” measures. Read More »

Stand Your Ground Laws + Guns = Deadly Mix … or “GO AHEAD MAKE MY DAY”

Are‘Stand Your Ground Laws’ and guns too deadly a mixture, questions Scott Martelle’s Op-Ed, 2/19/2014 L.A. Times, excerpted in part below.

“These are not abstract issues, particularly with the current legal and legislative debates over regulating concealed weapons. Is an armed America a more aggressive America? And does the existence of stand-your-ground laws make confrontations more likely to turn violent?” Read More »

President Obama Issues Two New Executive Orders On Background Checks

n January 3, 2014, President Obama issued two new executive actions that will help strengthen the federal background check system and keep guns out of the wrong hands. 1) The Department of Justice (DOJ) is proposing a regulation to clarify who is prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law for reasons related to mental health; and 2) the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is issuing a proposed regulation to address barriers preventing states from submitting limited information on those persons to the federal background check system.  Read More »

Remember and Recommit

When you look at the faces of the 20 children and 6 educators of Sandy Hook Elementary School whose lives were so violently taken December 14, 2012, your heart stops, your heart breaks. Sadly each day in America 8 children’s lives are violently ended with a firearm, equivalent to a Sandy Hook every three days. Saturday, December 14th it will mark one year since the families of these young souls were gunned down, their lives lost forever. That is how long a parent and loved ones grieve over the loss of a child—forever.

Think then of the 6 Sandy Hook Elementary School teachers who instantly knew what they and their children were facing—they had to protect, to give their lives without a doubt. As a teacher you always look at your class as ‘your children’ because they are.

About 275 people are shot every day – about 85 die and about 195 survive. 30,000 Americans have died since the slaughter of these 20 innocent children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut. Why do we minimize the carnage with our messaging? The physical, emotional, and economic toll to those who survive a gunshot is staggering.  In the US, a person is hit with a bullet every 5 minutes!!

Josh Stepakoff was six when he was shot twice in the leg in 1999 at the North Valley Community Center in Los Angeles by Buford Furrow five people were wounded including three children. He is among many people who have witnessed the horrific sights and sounds of a mass shooting as a very young child. Like the children of Newtown, Connecticut, he saw blood, he heard screams and he was scared for his life. Afterwards he said he couldn’t be a normal child. As a teenager, Stepakoff decided to do work with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and found solace in talking to other victims. Many survivors and family members become involved in gun violence prevention groups to hopefully prevent others from going through what they experience daily.

There will be more talk about the “troubled” shooter now that the Connecticut police report has been released. There are millions of troubled children and adults. Certainly America needs to allocate more money for mental health and take actual concrete steps in communities to help people suffering with emotional problems. Every time there is shooting, we read that the killer was disturbed, mentally ill or had a troubled childhood. However, only 5% of the mentally ill are considered dangerous. We all suffer emotional responses to the crises in our lives. But when a gun is handy, then the anger, the depression takes an ugly violent turn. And what we know is that there are too many guns and more guns mean more murders and more gun suicides. Realize that many of these mass shooters were angry depressed males who wanted to commit mayhem and then suicide.

 Why?  There are too many whys.  The country was and continues to be shocked and yet the carnage goes on day after day.  The battles against gun violence prevention laws go on in Congress and state legislatures have gotten as virulent as the battles on the streets and in the homes of this nation as Americans continue to die needlessly from gun violence.
Put your concerns into action because the shooting war goes on in our nation daily.  What motivates those of us who work avidly for gun violence prevention? 
An interfaith Memoriam will be held at the Trinity Episcopal Church at 1500 State Street on Saturday, December 14 from 12:00 to 1:00.  Remember and recommit.  Join us.

Toni Wellen
Chair, Coalition Against Gun Violence
(805) 684-8434

Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Brady Bill by Improving It 

“The Brady Bill has finally become law in a fundamental sense not because of any of us, but because grassroots America changed its mind and demanded that this Congress not leave here without doing something about this.  And all of us—even Jim and Sarah (Brady)—did was to somehow light that spark that swept across the people of this country and proved once again that Democracy can work.”  President Clinton, November 30, 1993

The Brady Act requires that background checks be conducted on individuals before a firearm may be purchased from a federally licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer—unless an exception applies. If there are no additional state restrictions, a firearm may be transferred to an individual upon approval by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) maintained by the FBI.  Background checks for firearms purchases operate in only one direction because of NRA opposition. That is, although a firearms dealer may obtain electronic information that an individual that they are excluded from firearms purchases, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, (ATF) do not receive electronic information in return to indicate what firearms are being purchased.

I can’t remember a time when a kid in school was proud to show a failing grade to mom and dad. The student knew all too well that mom and dad would be disappointed because 60 percent on a test did not only mean the child did not pass, it was also unacceptable. A continued performance at 60 percent would also prevent the student from graduating to the next grade level.

Unfortunately, the same embarrassment in poor academic performance does not exist when it comes to the number of gun sales covered by background checks in this country. Like the student’s less than stellar exam, background checks apply to only about 60 percent of gun purchases.

The reason Americans deserve better than 60 percent when it comes to background checks on gun sales is because they work when required. Background checks are an effective tool that have blocked more than 2 million purchases, keeping guns away from convicted felons, domestic abusers and other dangerous people.

The good news is that we have an opportunity to strengthen the background check system, already a demonstrated success. Like the student who commits to more study time, in an effort to boost his academic performance, we can make the current law better by ensuring a background check is required for every gun purchase.

Expanding Brady background checks addresses the reality that more and more criminals are buying their guns online because the Internet is a no man’s land when it comes to requiring a background check.

This month marks the 20th anniversary of President Bill Clinton signing the Brady background check bill into law.  Gun violence prevention advocates, victims and supporters gathered in our nation’s capital to tell Congress that it’s time to finish the job and expand Brady background checks to cover all gun sales

Ninety percent of the American public supports extending background checks to gun sales online and at gun shows. This also includes over 80 percent of gun owners and NRA members.

Two decades later, we are seeing the tide turn, once again, to sensible solutions meant to reduce the number of gun deaths and keep people safer.  We need to finish the job and expand background checks to all gun sales. In a country where gun violence kills more than thirty-one thousand people a year, sixty percent is not getting the job done.

Make your voice matter.  Go to:

Why So Many Tragic Shootings?

In a recent article, Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria suggested that we must not focus on one tragic shooting event but try to understand why America has so many. We tend to look at three causes after a shooting: the psychology of the killer, America’s culture of violence and easy access to guns. If psychology is the main cause, we should have 12 times as many psychologically disturbed people. But we don’t. However, we certainly need to improve access to mental health treatment.

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