TWENTY TWO YEARS OF ACTIVISM REDUCING GUN VIOLENCE
INSPIRED by the example of Los Angeles Women Against Gun Violence (WAGV), a group of Santa Barbara women held their first public meeting in December 1994. They soon organized as Santa Barbara Women Against Gun Violence (SBWAGV), a project of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Within a year, 21 local organizations had become affiliated with SBWAGV; by late 2001, there were 36 affiliates. Upon their fifth anniversary, and in recognition of the increased participation of men and numerous organizations with both men and women members, SBWAG changed its name to Coalition Against Gun Violence (CAGV). Inspired by the increased concerns regarding global terrorism, the Coalition, along with leading gun control organizations, focus on gun violence as an international issue.
The Coalition provides an ongoing educational program and keeps the community up-to-date on gun violence issues through:
• E-mail updates on Action Alerts
• An informative newsletter
• Website, facebook and twitter
• Town Hall Community Forums
• Multimedia presentations to the community
Ilene Pritikin and Toni Wellen, members of The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, attended a conference in Los Angeles, “Cease Fire! Gun Violence – the Growing Threat to Health and Safety.” The keynote speaker, Dr. Robert McAfee, President of the American Medical Society, spoke of the gun violence epidemic as a health care crisis requiring a public health solution. Ilene and Toni were inspired to organize a coalition of individuals and groups to raise awareness in the community of the dangers to society as a whole from gun violence. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation agreed to sponsor them as a project, giving them non-profit status. In December, Ann Reiss Lane, founder of Los Angeles Women Against Gun Violence (WAGV) spoke at the first organizing meeting of 40 women at the Santa Barbara Public Library and a new organization was formed; Santa Barbara Women Against Gun Violence (SBWAGV).
On May 17, 2015, CAGV celebrated its 20th Anniversary with “A Tribute to Outstanding Community Leaders In Gun Violence Prevention.” 20th Anniversary Honorees: Marty Blum, Former Mayor, City of Santa Barbara; Lois Capps, US Congressional Representative, 24th District; Salud Carbajal, 1st District Supervisor, County of Santa Barbara; Joyce Dudley, District Attorney, Santa Barbara County; Doreen Farr, 3rd District Supervisor, Santa Barbara County; Gregg Hart, Councilmember, City of Santa Barbara; Hannah-Beth Jackson, State Senator, 19th District; Ann Reiss Lane, Exec. Director, Women Against Gun Violence, Los Angeles; Cathy Murillo, Councilmember, City of Santa Barbara; Ilene Pritikin (posthumously), CAGV Co-Founder; Susan Rose, Former 2nd District Supervisor, Santa Barbara County; Selma Rubin (posthumously), CAGV Founder and Treasurer; Cam Sanchez, Santa Barbara Police Chief; Helene Schneider, Mayor, City of Santa Barbara; Toni Wellen, CAGV Co-Founder and Chair; Harwood “Bendy” White, Councilmember, City of Santa Barbara; Das Williams, CA Assemblymember, 35th District; Janet Wolf, 2nd District Supervisor, County of Santa Barbara.
On June 13, 2015, CAGV held its 2nd successful Gun Buyback collecting a total of 207 firearms consisting of 98 handguns, 86 rifles, 22 shotguns and one assault weapon.
On June 19, 2015, a Vigil was held in Santa Barbara on State and Anapamu to honor the people of Charleston and the Congregation of the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The Santa Barbara community came together in solidarity to mourn and honor the nine lives murdered in a senseless hateful racist act.
On January 3, 2014, President Obama issued two new executive actions, comprising 23 actions by Executive Order that will help strengthen federal background checks and keep guns out of the wrong hands.
CAGV celebrated its 19th Anniversary Luncheon to a capacity crowd. Keynote speaker Lawrence Rosenthal, JD, captivated the audience with his expertise regarding “The Constitutional Case for Gun Control,” the history and issues regarding the Second Amendment, its regulation and the future. He said the new interpretation “contemplates surprisingly robust regulatory authority” and stressed that policy follows facts. Professor Rosenthal expressed optimism about future gun violence prevention legislation. A Constitutional Legal Expert and Chapman University School of Law Professor, Professor Rosenthal spoke about the limits of Second Amendment originalism. A Harvard Law graduate Rosenthal clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens, US Supreme Court. He currently teaches Constitutional Argument and continues to engage in US Supreme Court litigation and other appellate courts.
Feb. 23, 2014. The Supreme Court declined to consider whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms applies outside the home. “It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” — Justice Antonin Scalia
CAGV and the SB Police Department held the first-ever Anonymous Gun Buyback Saturday, June 14th at Earl Warren Showgrounds. Vons market in Santa Barbara provided gift cards to CAGV at a 5% discount. Specific instructions were issued on advertisements, flyers, the Internet, radio and television. All weapons turned in were checked by the police department and prepared for destruction. People came from many areas of the Central Coast. We gave out a $100 gift card for handguns, shotguns and rifles and $200 for assault weapons. The event continued from 8 a.m. until noon. We collected 239 firearms, including 108 handguns which included 84 rifles, 41 shotguns and 6 assault weapons. Several elected officials were there, US Congresswoman Lois Capps, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and SB Mayor Helene Schneider. Everyone was amazed at the turn out and the number of weapons collected.
CAGV held a Town Hall Community Forum September 28th at SBCC Fé Bland Forum regarding why American culture continues to experience violence against women. The documentary film, “Tough Guise 2: Violence, Manhood & American Culture” was introduced by its author, Jackson Katz, Ph.D., a widely known expert and pioneer in the field of gender violence. A panel forum followed moderated by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, which included Jackson Katz, Assemblymember Das Williams, SBCC Professor Joe White, two SBCC Students, SB Councilmember Cathy Murillo, and Family Therapist Toni Wellen.
CAGV organized an Interfaith Memorial Vigil at Trinity Episcopal Church on December 11, 2014, honoring the victims of the May 23rd Isla Vista tragedy and simultaneously joined with Newtown Alliance in a national recognition of all victims of gun violence in America.
CAGV sponsored a community forum, “The High Costs of Gun Violence” on February 21, 2013, at the Faulkner Gallery to a standing-room only audience. Partner organizations who joined us as co-sponsors: The League of Women Voters, American Association of University Women, Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County, Domestic Violence Solutions, The Glendon Association, La Casa de la Raza, Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee and the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara. The event was superbly moderated by Mayor Helene Schneider and included the following panelists: Judge Denise de Bellefeuille, SB Deputy Police Chief Frank Mannix, Kris Berstrom of SB Unified School District, Medical Director Dr. Paul Erickson of Cottage Health Systems, Suzanne Grimmesey of SB County ADMHS, Jamie Rotnofsky PhD. of Glendon Association, Marisa Martinez of Ventura’s Parents of Murdered Children, Jina Carvalho of SB Response Network and CAGV Chair Toni Wellen.
Julie Leftwich, Legal Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence was the special guest speaker at our 18th Anniversary on April 7th. Ms. Leftwich discussed, “Regulating Guns in America: How Strong Gun Laws Can Make Our Communities Safer.” The Law Center provides free comprehensive legal expertise in support of gun violence prevention and gun laws to governmental entities and organizations.
In our Spring newsletter, we reported on a study from the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign that California’s gun laws are saving lives. We also reported that Dr. William Begg who represents the United Physicians for Newtown testified in front of a Senate panel that gun violence is a public health issue.
CAGV sponsored an October 17th Town Hall Community Forum, “Safety in Our Homes, Schools and Community” at the Faulkner moderated by Mayor Helene Schneider. Panelists included District Attorney Joyce Dudley, Councilwoman Cathy Murillo, School Board President Monique Limón, SB Police Officer Riley Harwood, Marcos Vargas from Cause, Yesenia Curiel of SB Rape Crisis Center, Jina Carvalho of The Glendon Association and CAGV Chair Toni Wellen. Co-sponsoring partner organizations included: Alternatives to Violence Project, Anti-Defamation League of SB, American Association of University Women, Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County, SB Rape Crisis Center, SB Women’s Political Committee and The Glendon Association.
“Enlightening our Community” was the theme of our 17th Anniversary. Our keynote speakers were Nick and Amanda Wilcox, who are Legislation and Policy Chairs of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and advocates for what is now known as “Laura’s Law.” They were long-time Brady donors and never thought they would be personally touched by gun violence. Tragically their beautiful 19-year-old daughter Laura was killed in a rampage shooting in January 2001 by a man with severe mental illness. Since that time they have dedicated their lives to gun violence prevention as well as advocating for improved mental healthcare in California. CAGV is a staunch supporter and advocate for Laura’s Law in Santa Barbara County.
As of January 1, 2012, the open carrying of handguns was banned in California. In reaction, Open Carry organizations began to brandish rifles and shotguns in public places. The NRA attempted more than 400 challenges to gun laws since the U.S. Supreme Court held three years ago that the Second Amendment provides an “individual right” to possess guns in the home for self-defense. The Brady report, “Hollow Victory” finds that the courts have overwhelmingly rejected those challenges.
CAGV was honored by two year-end gifts of $500 each from the Goleta Presbyterian Church and from Nancy Hager, a resident of New York state.
On January 8, 2012 CAGV participated in “Too Many Victims Lost to Gun Violence, a National Remembrance” of gun violence victims. CAGV organized a memorial and vigil on the steps of Santa Barbara’s courthouse. CAGV honored the six victims from the Tucson, AZ massacre in 2011, the victims of three California mass shootings in 2011 and the victims of the 2006 Goleta Post Office tragedy – by tolling CAGV’s Ceremonial Bell – as community members were invited to remember loved ones lost to gun violence by tolling the Bell. Local officials addressed the gathering. The ceremony ended with singing by the Threshold Choir.
The nation was once again in mourning after the horrific shooting in Aurora, CO when a gunman in costume shot into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. Once again Americans were asked to turn outrage into action.
In response to the Supreme Court’s conservative judicial activist McDonald v. Chicago decision, CAGV’s first event of the year was to hold a Community Forum entitled: “What Right Do You Have to Carry a Gun?” It is not disputed that this controversial decision will most likely increase the number of Second Amendment litigation cases, despite the fact that most, if not all, state and local firearms laws do not prevent a law-abiding citizen from possessing a firearm in the home for self-defense. The event was a joint effort organized by the Coalition Against Gun Violence and co-sponsored by the American Association of University Women, Democratic Women, League of Women Voters and the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee on February 17, 2011, at the Faulkner Gallery in the Santa Barbara Public Library. The purpose of the free public forum was to educate our community. The moderator was former Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum with panelists Judge Brian Hill, UCSB professor Dr. Beth Schneider and former law professor Richard Solomon. There was a discussion and Q&A with the capacity audience by the panel experts to clarify the ambiguities of the two recent Supreme Court rulings on the Second Amendment and elucidate future legal implications regarding gun control laws which may or may not be affected.
The theme of CAGV’s 16th Annual Luncheon on May 1, 2011 was “Virginia Tech, Tucson & Beyond” with honored speaker Colin Goddard, Virginia Tech shooting survivor held at the Mar Monte Hotel in Santa Barbara. Colin Goddard, currently Assistant Director of Federal Legislation at the Brady Campaign, spoke about the tragedy he survived and how he is now motivated to become involved and to advocate in the effort to reduce gun violence in America. His focus is to pass federal legislation that would close the gun show loophole. A moving and dynamic speaker regarding his ordeal and focus, CAGV hoped to transmit Colin’s dedication to encourage individuals in the community – including students – to become informed and to participate, donate and support the efforts of CAGV.
On the evening of May 2, 2011, Colin Goddard hosted a screening of “Living for 32” at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) conducted by the Coalition Against Gun Violence and UCSB Campus Democrats. Colin Goddard, showed the award winning documentary “Living for 32,” about Colin’s journey from student, to shooting victim, to national advocate for decreasing gun violence. As part of his goal to take action and speak for his slain classmates, he made this documentary in which he traveled to gun shows to demonstrate the ease of purchasing any type of firearm without a background check or in some cases identification.
The 2nd Y.E.S.! (Youth Empowerment for Safety) Fair was sponsored by the Coalition, with the valuable help of the Santa Barbara Youth Council and the Twelve35 Teen Center and with the support of the Fund for Santa Barbara and Marborg Industries on April 17th. The Fair, held outside and inside the Teen Center was an afternoon of multi-media, interactive displays, art, music and the spoken word themed around the issues of youth and non-violence. We were entertained by dancers, stand-up comics, a martial arts demonstration and an ice-cream eating contest. The audience was mesmerized by the Drama Kings, a group of young men from Los Prietos Boys Camp who described their problematic lives and their hopes for the future. Workshops were offered by Domestic Violence Solutions, The Glendon Association and The Rape Crisis Center.
The theme of CAGV’s 15th Anniversary Celebration, May 16 was—“New Decade New Challenges.” We were honored to have as keynote speaker Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Mr. Horwitz is co-author of “Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea,” which challenges the proposition that more guns equal more freedom and exposes insurrectionism as a true threat to freedom today. He additionally implemented an advocacy campaign in California, in which CAGV was actively involved, that led to the first state law in the nation requiring that all new models of semi-automatic handguns include microstamping technology.
In June of 2010, McDonald v. Chicago, a landmark decision of the Supreme Court that determined whether the Second Amendment applies to the individual states. The Court held that the right of an individual to “keep and bear arms” is protected by the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and applies to the states. This decision opened legal flood gates to challenge existing gun control laws.
We took a stand against “Open Carry” in July, CAGV members and others joined a protest against Starbuck’s corporate policy allowing individuals to openly carry unloaded handguns in their stores. Mayors Schneider and Blum joined the protest which took place outside the Starbucks on State Street and De La Guerra.
This year was a memorial to our dearest friend, mentor and CAGV C0-founder, Ilene Pritikin. Ilene, who had worked with many community organizations in Santa Barbara, said that the most rewarding and fulfilling time of her life was her contributions and collaboration with CAGV and the issue of reducing gun violence.
Santa Barbara tragically began to experience gun violence with several incidents resulting in fatalities. The city was also witness to two large multi-agency weapons and crime busts. For the first time CAGV reported about Americans flaunting firearms in public outside the venue in Phoenix, Arizona where President Obama was speaking. CAGV also focused on the serious issues of suicide, murder-suicide and domestic violence. Drugs and gun trafficking between the US and Mexico continued unabated. Along with all gun control organizations, CAGV encouraged Congress to close the gun show loophole where illegal guns can be purchased by Americans and potential terrorists. On May 2nd CAGV inaugurated a new event, the Youth Empowerment for Safety (Y.E.S.!) Fair at La Cumbre Jr. High School with the focus on providing Santa Barbara youth an opportunity and forum to express their thoughts and feelings about violence. Talented teens played music, sang, danced, spoke their poems, showed their art and many youth-focused organizations had display tables. Artist Zaxxr Guerro Llewellyn from Seattle exhibited a strand of 15,000 bullet casings representing the average number of people murdered in the US annually. A survey demonstrated excitement and interest for this event to be held annually. Following a rampage shooting in Alabama with an assault weapon that left 11 dead and three police officers gunned down also by assault weapons, Congress (and sixty-five pro-gun Democrats) was still unable to reinstate the 1994 assault weapon ban. AB 962 (De Leon-D, Los Angeles) passed and was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, limiting and regulating ammunition sales. CAGV’s 14th Annual luncheon featured Dr. Shane Jimerson, Associate Professor in the Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology Program at UCSB and an expert in teen bullying. He discussed his innovative development of a program for middle schools. CAGV ended its annual luncheon with the traditional Bell Ceremony of audience members ringing the Bell in honor of loved ones killed by gun violence.
The most important firearms news of the year was the decision by the US Supreme Court, basically changing the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment to mean that an individual has a right to own a gun. Gun control organizations opposed this interpretation, but view it as an opportunity now to institute and pass reasonable gun legislation and not be accused of the “slippery slope” argument of trying to ban all firearms. Nationally, on the one-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting, more than 70 “lie-ins” were held at various universities. Eight were held in California. The issue of smuggling guns to Mexico in exchange for drugs into the US became a major focus for both US and Mexican law enforcement – a problem that continues to mushroom according to multiple news bulletins from Mexico. CAGV’s 13th Annual event, entitled, “Bullets or Crayons” featured California Assemblyman Kevin De Leon from Los Angeles and sponsor of AB 2062 regulating the sale of ammunition. Also speaking was Michael Mehas, author of “Stolen Boy” concerning the Jesse James Hollywood case. CAGV acquired its own “Bell” and again honored the victims of the Goleta tragedy, inviting others who lost loved ones to gun violence to participate in a ceremony that touched the hearts of all present.
The sobering theme this year was, “How Do We Save Our Children?” The entire nation was shocked and in mourning for the students shot down at Virginia Tech. Mayor Daly of Chicago and Rev. Jesse Jackson led a large rally in Chicago, “Stop the Violence – Save the Children – Keep Hope Alive.” Many leaders spoke out and many articles were written, but not a single major law was passed, except in California where we were successful in passing the first Crime Gun Identification Act, featuring “microstamping technology” with the support of law enforcement and great strategic grassroots efforts from across the state. CAGV’s new brochure, in partnership with Domestic Violence Solutions, the Rape Crisis Center and the Glendon Association, “Violence and Suicide are Preventable: Healing is Possible,” was completed and distributed. CAGV’s 12th Annual event, “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” included what would become a traditional ceremony honoring victims of gun violence, especially the victims of the Goleta Postal shooting. Speakers Mary Leigh and Charles Blek, founders of the Bell Campaign – fiscal sponsor of the Million Mom March (MMM) – led our Bell Ceremony in honor of their 21-year old son Matthew who was killed by a robber with a Saturday Night Special handgun. The MMM merged with the Brady Campaign. Mary Leigh has addressed the United Nations regarding the regulation, sale and transfer of global firearms
Tragedy arrived in Santa Barbara County when seven murders and a suicide occurred at and near the Goleta Post Office. CAGV hosted a community forum in Goleta in response to the tragedy in order to discuss ways to prevent violence and help the community become more informed about regional resources. The panel included Goleta City Councilmember Margaret Connell, Rep. Lois Capps’ District Director, Sharon Siegel, Assemblymember Pedro Nava, Sheriff Jim Anderson, Rob Walton and Lynn Cochrane form the S.B. Dept. of Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health, Jenny Benjamin from Family Service Agency and Joni Kelly from the Glendon Association. This year saw other shootings in Pismo Beach, Carpinteria and Santa Barbara. The Dodge City gun shop on Calle Real in Santa Barbara was shut down by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms after a year of careful policing and observation by the S.B. Police Department along with federal agents. The California Legislature failed to pass the much lauded microstamping bill, AB 352, a bill that was heavily supported by law enforcement. This bill will be re-introduced in 2007. SBPD joined other cities in the use of Tasers as part of their “use of force” option. CAGV interviewed Police Chief Sanchez, who stated that when an officer must use a firearm that results in injury or death there are two victims. The use of a Taser is less traumatic than firing a gun. Communities across the state are passing “Lost/Stolen ordinances to combat illegal weapons. SB Mayor Blum, some City Council members and Chief Sanchez favor supporting strong state legislation as our community does not a problem with lack of reporting lost or stolen weapons. CAGV celebrated its 11th Anniversary with keynote speaker Jackson Katz, one of America’s leading anti-sexist male activists. He argued that widespread violence in American society included all school shootings, and needs to be understood as part of an ongoing crisis in masculinity.
CAGV’s Latino Education Outreach Project completed its educational video. “Armas de Fuego, La Realidad Que Destrosa Nuestras Vidas” “Firearms: The Reality That Destroys our Lives” which was premiered at the prestigious Santa Barbara International Film Festival in February. Lupe Luna-Martinez produced the initial footage using City at Peace youth as actors, along with comments by local officials. Karlos Benavides, documentary filmmaker, did the final filming, editing and English subtitles. Carol Hershey and Toni Wellen compiled a study guide that accompanies the video, which allows it to be used in other localities. This is the first Spanish language educational video about the problems of guns in the home. CAGV celebrated its 10th anniversary and was honored by Certificates of Recognition from the California State Assembly by both keynote speaker Assemblyman Paul Koretz and Assemblyman Pedro Nava. Along with a long list of law enforcement officials, mayors and other gun control groups, CAGV worked for the passage of ammunition microstamping bill AB 352 to help police solve crimes. Even as population in California has soared, gun sales declined to a near all-time low from a peak of 433,822 in 1993 to 145,355 in 2004 demonstrating that more and more California families do not want handguns in their homes or near their children. Sadly the US Congress passed the immunity bill for the gun industry. In California, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 112 and AB 1288 into law to protect Domestic Violence Victims and AB 86 maintains a record of lost and stolen guns. He also approved SB48 that focuses on age requirements for ammunition buyers.
CAGV brought the documentary film “Juvies” to Santa Barbara in a well-attended showing at the Marjorie Luke Theater. The film focuses on the draconian sentences given to teens, which often are “enhanced” due to the use or presence of a firearm. A stellar panel discussion was moderated by Judge George Eskin and consisted of the film’s director, Leslie Neale, Judge Frank Ochoa, Juvenile Justice District Attorney Jeff Gittler, Public Defender Karen Atkins, Dr. Aaron Kipnis from Pacifica Graduate Institute, Jody Kaufman from Teen Legal Clinic, Ed Cue from Teen Court and a representative from Los Compadres. CAGV was awarded a grant by The Santa Barbara Channels through the Hutton Foundation, to produce a professional PSA. CAGV was influential in the S.B. City Council’s unanimous support of AB 50, the state bill banning 50 caliber sniper rifles. This bill passed the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger.
CAGV held a well-attended community forum on the documentary “Bowling for Columbine” by Michael Moore. The moderator was Jerry Cornfield and included Mayor Marty Blum, Councilperson Babatunde Folyemi, Goleta Councilperson Margaret Connell, S.B. Police Officer Hove, UCSB Dr. Shane Jimerson, mental health expert Patricia Cooper and two high school students. CAGV had a table for each showing of the film at the Riviera for 6 weeks. CAGV instituted the GunsToArt project which obtained firearms collected by the S.B. Police Department, and artists photographed and video taped Oxnard Metal cutting them for future recycle into metal sculptures and other useful objects. CAGV’s 9th annual dinner speaker was Andres Soto, Policy Director for the Trauma Foundation and director of the Pacific Center for Violence Prevention and also influential in working with gun control legislation. CAGV had a preview of the spanish language video in progress, a cornerstone of the Latino Project. The actors, with one exception were from City at Peace who received an award for their participation from Mayor Marty Blum and Mexican Consul Gamboa.
CAGV emphasized their focus on guns in the home and the implicit danger to children and importance of educating parents. Also part of this education is the incidence of murder-suicide, domestic abuse and whether a gun in the home makes women safer. CAGV also instituted a new program, The Latino Education Project with Lupe Luna-Martinez as co-ordinator, focusing on educational outreach to Latino families. CAGV’s 8th annual dinner speaker was Tom Diaz, senior policy analyst from the Violence Policy Center and a national authority on sniper rifles and author of “Making a Killing: The Business of Guns in America.”
CAGV worked to gain support for handgun licensing and registration in the California State Legislature with two bills: AB 35 and SB 52. Through letter writing and emails, we enlisted supporters to pressure Governor Davis to sign this legislation into law, which he did in October. In April, as a response to the Santee High School tragedy, a superlative professional panel moderated by Bill Cirone, Superintendent Santa Barbara County Education Office discussed “Safety in Santa Barbara Schools” at a town meeting. The S.B. Area Council of PTAs were co-sponsors of the event. CAGV continued to focus on parental and societal responsibility regarding guns and child safety with an expanded 20/20 video presentation, which included a section on teens. CAGV began an educational campaign regarding the international issue of gun violence and the NRAs role in promoting global gun trafficking. To raise awareness regarding the proliferation of small arms and its relation to terrorism, the speaker at CAGV’s 7th annual dinner was Philip Alpers, a researcher and consultant on international gun policy and a founding member of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA). CAGV Coalition now numbered 36 community organizations.
CAGV began to educate the community about the need for gun licensing and registration. In January CAGV hosted a community forum co-sponsored by the Santa Barbara League of Women Voters, and presented the 20/20 video, “A World Full of Guns” which focused on the dangers of guns in the home. CAGV hosted a Garden Reception to build awareness and raise funds to send supporters to Washington, DC to the Million Mom March (MMM) and ran a newspaper ad on Mother’s Day. CAGV’s 6th annual dinner speakers were Mary Leigh Blek, President of the MMM and Andrew McGuire, Executive Director of the MMM. As this was a critical election year, CAGV educated the community about the platform positions of both the Democratic and Republican Parties.
Santa Barbara City Council voted unanimously to adopt a ban on the sale of junk guns. The County Board of Supervisor’s Human Relations Commission after four contentious public hearings, recommended a similar ban to the County Supervisors, who voted 3-2 to review a proposed ordinance. SBWAGV embarked on a community education project using a video from 20/20, “A World Full of Guns,” with an introduction by County Superintendent of Schools, Bill Cirone, and STAR (Straight Talk About Risks) material developed for schools by the Center for the Prevention of Handgun Violence. SBWAGV’s 5th annual dinner featured Assemblymember Jack Scott, Chair of the Select Committee on Gun Violence, and introduced by Santa Barbara’s Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson. SBWAGV changed its name to Coalition Against Gun Violence (CAGV) to more accurately reflect its membership, and grew to include 32 partner organizations.
SBWAGV sponsored a panel discussion/town meeting with Santa Barbara Police Chief Breza, Babatunde Folayemi of the Pro Youth Coalition, and two former gang members, to discuss whether the community should ban the sale of junk guns. The City Council postponed action on a junk gun ordinance proposed by SBWAGV, but both the council and the Board of Supervisors affirm support of a state bill addressing the junk gun issue. SBWAGV co-sponsored Zona Seca’s children’s art exhibit for their After School Achievement Program. SBWAGV’s 4th annual dinner focused on violence in the media with Dr. Edward Donnerstein, from the University of California at Santa Barbara and director of a 3-year, national grant study on media violence involving four universities.
SBWAGV sponsored Eric Gorovitz, municipal gun violence ordinance specialist, at a public meeting where he discussed what legal action communities could take regarding gun violence. SBWAGV’s newsletter memorialized Richard Poulis, who was killed by a junk gun in Santa Barbara and then sponsored a series of Cox Cable Public Service Announcements showing the danger of guns in the home. The City Council declined to enact an ordinance banning junk guns, but both Santa Barbara City and County governments, supported by both Santa Barbara City Police Chief Breza and County Sheriff Thomas, unanimously approved resolutions supporting state legislation to prohibit their sale and manufacture. The 3rd annual dinner featured Patricia Saber, M.D., of Physicians for a Violence-Free Society. SBWAGV grew to 29 partner organizations.
A public meeting featuring Judge Denis de Bellefeuille previewed a slide show on gun violence in American society developed for community education outreach. Dozens of community groups and classrooms viewed the presentation. At a volatile Santa Barbara School Board meeting, the Board declined to adopt the NRA-sponsored Eddie Eagle program into the curriculum after many SBWAGV members spoke in protest. SBWAGV sponsored a town meeting on the topic, “Guns, Gangs and Violence.” The City Council declined SBWAGV’s suggestion that they enact ordinances requiring dealers to sell trigger locks with gun purchases and register ammunition sales. The County Board of Supervisors adopted a Mother’s Day Resolution to reduce community violence. At SBWAGV’s 2nd annual dinner, keynote speaker Police Chief Larry Todd of Los Gatos, California emphasized the menace of concealed weapons. SBWAGV sponsored a program for children at which they turned in their realistic toy guns and received T-shirts with an emblem, “Say ‘No’ to Realistic Toy Guns.”
SBWAGV received two financial grants for their new quarterly newsletter – $1,500 from Santa Barbara Foundation and $1,690 from Fund for Santa Barbara. 22 community organizations joined the coalition as partners. SBWAGV sponsored a town meeting on violence and the relationship of easy access to guns, with a panel moderated by Dr. Barbara Lindemann from Santa Barbara City College. They sponsored the first annual dinner at the University Club featuring Dr. Robert McAfee, past president of the American Medical Association as the keynote speaker.