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Ending Gun Violence for All

Patch Back's Lisa Bigelow wonders, will the results of Connecticut's gun control legislative efforts help all of our citizens, or just some?

 

The bipartisan task force on gun violence held a public hearing on Monday in Hartford during which Newtown victims’ family members, gun rights advocates, members of the public and elected representatives testified on upcoming legislation. 

The testimony was sobering. And it revealed an audience of constituents tired of violence, frustrated with the slow pace of legislative change and deeply, deeply divided over the rights of citizens to own (or not to own) assault-style weapons.

As I watched, what struck me most were not the heartbreaking words of the victims. It wasn’t the guarded words of the gun club member or the angry words of the control advocate.

Instead, it was the gentlemen from the high populations centers who deal with the slow, bloody drain of handgun violence every single day. They said, where have you been, Bipartisan Task Force? We’ve been begging for help for years.

They rightly stated that these current efforts, though certainly well intended, won’t do a thing to help victims of violence in the communities of Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford. Therefore, I will repeat what needs repeating: any gun control legislation must address more than what is versus what isn’t an “assault” weapon.

It must be about more than just magazine capacity, too. It must even be about more than figuring out a way to incorporate better psychological care into our current health system. Instead, let us strive to end gun violence in all its forms so that our friends in urban areas win the same right to safety that those in quieter locales usually enjoy.

Alert: I’m going to ask the question that no one in the media seems to be asking. Many of you will disagree. And for once, I truly hope you do. And I not only hope you disagree, I hope you write in and tell me why I’m wrong (respectfully, of course … I didn’t enjoy being called a “stupid” “leftist” last week, even though my kids got a huge kick out of it).

Although many gun violence statistics can be twisted to suit a variety of needs the data on urban areas with high crime rates are clear: the victims are most often minorities. These minority victims are far outnumber the victims of mass shootings, who tend to be white. To me, it is disappointingly clear that the nationwide effort to “do something” about guns has everything to do with affluence and its favorite cousin, race.

Tell me, where are the marches when young children are murdered on the streets of Chicago, or New Haven, or Washington, or Detroit? Let me be clear: I do not question for one moment the sincerity or intent of the folks from March for Change or CAGV or hell, even the NRA. When an event such as Newtown occurs in our own backyard it is only natural that the local response should be strong and heartfelt and pure.

But I do have serious questions about the value we as a society place on human life. Or, at the very least, I question the validity of developing a legislative response to a societal threat that is directly proportional to the consequences of one action, as occurred in Newtown, versus developing a legislative response to what occurs every day to people of all colors.

Let’s work together to make all forms of violence end, as one reader so aptly wrote to me several days ago. Let’s help our legislators craft a bill that will regulate private gun sales so common criminals can’t get them easily. Let’s make universal background checks strict and repeating. Let’s develop and enforce safe storage laws and train administrators and teachers in effective self defense tactics.

Most of all, let us remember the words written in the hearts of every American: all men are created equal.

Hector Medina February 01, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Dear Lisa; Quote: "the authorities already have way more data on us via driver license info, social security number, tax returns, etc -- so in a word, no. I don't fear giving the same info to the government that the government already has." You are RIGHT (+FaceBook)!!! Except, . . . not completely right. ONE piece of data that is CRUCIAL to the citizens' ability to keep in check a government is WHO owns rifles; ESPECIALLY the type of rifles that are being "satanized" by the media these days. That information has been carefully protected by Constitutional Law. Now, this missing bit of info is "easily" filled by forcing a registration of all firearms, as many suggest. The case for pistols has not enjoyed the same protection in fact, although the Law says otherwise; and of the violent acts committed, by criminals, a majority of them involve pistols. Look at the statistics, look a the DOJ Uniform Crime reports: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr It is clear that all the registrations, licensings, curtailings, limitings, hindrances or obstacles placed in the way of the Law-Abiding are easily circumvented by the Criminal. So, sorry, but the facts point out that after more than 30 years of experiments in different, cities, states and, COUNTRIES; New/Restrictive Laws are NOT effective. Again, go to the JustFacts website you so kindly gave us. As to responding to everyone's comments, I am only going to say that, to me, that is part of your job. JMHO
Charlie February 01, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Angie - enforceable and effective storage rules have been a the sticking point over in the wilton patch forum too. While many responsible gun owners use adequately protected storage, there has to be some mechanism to deter and punish those who dont. I think the gun companies need to step up in this area, and put more R&D into weapon-based locks and security, rather than any other area. Cable locks and a good proportion of gun safes are just not that secure, IMO. And we still don't know what happened with Lanza's guns or whether and how they were secured. There is an inexcusable delay in providing that critical information.
Hector Medina February 04, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Angie and Charlie; Thanks for being cogent, responsible posters. It's a pleasure and a privilege to find rational human beings behind the collective keyboard. Thanks. I think that there are two sides to the "locks and safes" equation here: On one hand we DO want immediate unimpeded access in a case of emergency. If you don't have that, then you might as well not have any firearms at all for emergency purposes. On the other, we want the storage containers and safes to be a deterrent to impulsive actions that end up in tragedies. Biometric safes are, every day, becoming more inexpensive, so that can take care of both aspects for emergency conditions, but you really need to prepare for the non-emergency case with a good storage unit that will not be easily broken into. Trying to put the biometric devices in the firearm, I think, creates more problems than it solves. Long term storage solutions do not need to be absolutely wrongful entry proof. They just need to slow down the action to a time span when the person trying to effect the wrongful entry will give up. Sadly, it is very difficult to grant the authorities with the powers needed to enforce these rules and at the same time safeguarding the freedom of The People. Here again, is where Society has to recover its weight and value. Social pressure and expectations have been dropping in importance as we have enshrined the Individual selfishness. Education is the only way to change that. JMHO
Glen K Dunbar February 04, 2013 at 06:37 PM
I still say that we should drop all these MANY blogs on guns. Enough already !! I also feel Police still should be only ones w/Guns. Though, I will say that if a person has a hobby for target shooting or something they should go to a gun range and then rent th gun there. This way they do not have to worry about having it at home. Moreover, I still also say a better topics would be my bail out be it Local/Federal/State I am sinking fast and all anyone does is watch me go down for the counts. really unfair
Hector Medina February 04, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Even though it takes more than 4 hours, if anyone is REALLY serious about this subject, PLEASE watch in full the Senate hearing: http://www.senate.gov/isvp/?comm=judiciary&type=live&filename=judiciary013013 There is a ton of information there. ONE continuous thread along those 4 hours of testimonies, questions and answers is that the Background checks AND the Current Laws, all 9,000 federal laws about firearms; are not implemented nor enforced strongly. PLEASE, see the hearing.

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