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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.

Jlo January 30, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Honestly I regret being such vociferous presence in this forum and not being able to attend any of these meetings in person so far. I live in a very gun friendly state at the moment so no one around here really cares.
Concerned Parent & Gun Owner January 30, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Jlo - For several years my bride and I have been discussing leaving CT because we are increasingly feeling out of step with our neighbors on a range of issues, this being the most recent. I know a few other folks who feel the same way. What is interesting but goes undiscussed is what happens if draconian gun laws lead to an eventual migration out of CT of gun owners, particularly those with pistol permits. Many gun control types refuse to acknowledge the deterrent role olayed by a portion of the citizenry being armed but in a concealed way. Criminals are not normally stupid and tend to not strike where there is a chance of their meeting armed resistance. If the suburbs of CT begin to lose their legal gun owners and becoming increasingly "gun free zones", how long before theive, burglars, etc start to test this theory by branching out in the endevors? If "gun free zones" do not work for schools, can the state being a virtual CFZ work well broadly? Just sayin'.
Jlo January 30, 2013 at 09:35 PM
I think thats a legitimate fear, if I was a criminal a gun free fairfield county would be my wet dream. Long police response times, lots of woods to provide cover and refuge, large expensive houses with lots of goodies, and residents who feel that chasing me with a broomstick would be preferable to shooting me. Sure that sounds funny but it really isn't too far off base. Look at the car break in epidemic we've had in Wilton over the last few years. Sometimes 10 or 20 a night! Was it high school kids out for sport or was it more hardened criminals from other cities who saw a market for stolen purses, laptops and GPS units. How much of a leap would that person or persons have to make before they start breaking into homes?
Concerned Parent & Gun Owner January 31, 2013 at 12:59 PM
For those who are interested in views of those supporting gun rights, I recommend the following testimonies: Powerful testimony from a father of one of the Newtown victims http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0xLbhWsUfE Serious words from a naturalized American http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXqzUu8SyEY Professional forensic firearms points out how little “assault weapons” and “hi-cap mags” have to do with crimes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaS2zM9rc1w African American man on the efficacy of gun control legislation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtZjUcze-k0 Strong statement by a woman gun owner who calls out panel members for ignoring speakers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbJmlz40su4 The last guy to speak at sometime around 2:30 AM, 12+ hours after the citizen testimony started and he calls out the politicians for not paying attention http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cx60VC4T018 I spent an hour on line with this guy waiting to clear the newly installed metal detectors in the Capitol; He addresses all of the suggested “solutions” from a practical perspective. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZXwzAeTTTg&NR=1
Concerned Parent & Gun Owner February 15, 2013 at 11:12 AM
2A - have you seen the bill introduced yestersay in Missouri by Dems giving gun owners 90-days to TURN IN their firearms? Please save me the "no one is taking your guns" crap combined with "we need to start somewhere". The gun taking minority are emboldened at this point and will continue to push for more and more onerous and invasive laws all pointed at law-abiding gun owners (because, you know, criminals don't obey laws). The old adage, "give them an inch, they take a yard" is never more apt than in these issues.

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