"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

Gun control: Are you one of the 'Million' Moms?

It hit me today hard when I heard the news of the shooting death of 15-year-old majorette Hadiya Pendleton. Just last week she was performing at the inauguration. Today, she's a casualty of gun violence; her death, in a park just a mile from President Obama's home in Chicago, was apparently random. She had no history of affiliation with gangs. (And we have to say that, which makes me sad, too.)

Sometimes it seems insensible: that stricter gun control laws have not been put into practice before now. One more repeat of "but criminals will get guns anyway!" and I'll throw something at the radio; according to experts I've heard tell, it's all about economics. If you make it hard enough (read: expensive enough) for criminals to obtain guns, gun violence will fall like a stone.

Eight children are killed by guns every day in the U.S.

What can we do?

In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, a new group has sprung up: “Million Moms for Gun Control”. Million Moms just marched on Washington D.C. last Saturday to ask for reasonable updates to gun policy. The local Portland chapter is planning a family friendly rally on Feb. 9, 10 a.m. at City Hall. Information about the event and other ways you can help is on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OneMillionMomsForGunControlPortland

Ceasefire Oregon is another local group working to reduce access to guns. Ceasefire organizes gun turn-in events once or twice a year and they promote the ASK (Asking Saves Kids) campaign. ASK encourages parents to ask if there are firearms where their children play. On the legislative front, Ceasefire Oregon is planning a rally at the state Capitol on March 12 to ask for tighter gun laws*.

To get updates on how you can help, join their Action Alert list or follow them on Twitter.

At the recent Family Forward Oregon discussion on gun violence, Sen. Ginny Burdick and Rep. Alyssa Keny-Guyer said 95% of the calls they get on this issue are pro-gun and they need to hear more from people who support gun safety if any of these laws are going to get considered. They said it is really important to call or email the Governor (503-378-3111), Senate President Peter Courtney, Speaker of the House Tina Kotek, and your legislators to let them know you support tighter gun safety laws. 

The pro-gun groups will be having a rally at the Capitol every Thursday throughout the legislative session. Our lawmakers should hear from other voices, too: how can we address this more sensibly?

* Ceasefire Oregon's legislative agenda includes: ban assault weapons (similar to Sen. Feinstein's federal bill); ban ammunition magazines that hold more than ten bullets; prohibit concealed handguns in Oregon public schools K -12; require universal background checks; and hold gun owners responsible if minors access their weapons without parental permission.


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I always asked other parents if there were guns in the house and always volunteered that I own none. When we were in the South, the answer was sometimes "yes", prompting follow up questions. How are the guns stored? Are they all unloaded? Are they under lock and key? Having grown up in a gun household, I knew the satisfactory answers. Do you? Guns are not an issue without ammo. If the ammo is all locked away then chances are your kid is okay. Also, some guns can be partially dismantled, rendering them useless even if a kid is savvy enough to have found said ammo under lock and key. And nothing, nothing beats parental supervision.

My family was very safe with guns. We all took hunter safety courses and handled guns well. We hunted venison that we butchered and ate ourselves. We went to the range for target practice on winter afternoons. It was a good way to spend family time together. Some of my best childhood memories involve the learning to use guns well. It's only that I married a non-gun spouse that I don't own one now.

I'm all for some tighter gun control but don't go overboard. Guns don't kill people. People kill people.

@reiki mum---I don't think she's going overboard at at, we need gun control, with very strict laws. I appreicate your family is responsible about this, not everyone is. Plenty of people took your position (or even less restrictions), until they suffered some tragedy. Guns DO kill people. Again, in countries with strict gun control (like Great Britain) they just don't have these issues.

The ONLY positive to this recent rash of shootouts is that finally gun control is getting traction again. Quite frakly, I do not understand why there wouldn't be national registry, why the gun show loop hole hasn't been closed or why there isn't a waiting period.

And before you yap about the Second Amendment---it does not guarantee Americans the right to own as many assault weapons as they want, it guarantees us the right to form a militia to defend ourselves. It should be noted it was written when our country was largely frontierland, we lived in fear of the British invading us through Canada (or the French or Spanish throughout the South) and there were no police departments, constables (minimally so and only in cities) or any sort of centralized military.

It was also written when black people were 3/5 of a person and women couldn't vote and only could own property under very, very limited circumstances. In other words, honestly---it doesn't really apply to modern society. It's somehting gun nuts like to hide behind.

I'll close with---I've never asked about guns when my daughter's gone over to another kid's house because frankly, none of her friends come from homes that would have a gun, let alone be irresponsible with it (nor have parents ever asked us). However, now I think perhaps I should have.

Someone from Ceasefire Oregon is coming to our next PTA meeting to teach about the ASK program.

All of the discussion following the Newton massacre reminded me that unless you ask someone, you simply can't predict whether they are the kind of person who owns guns.

And Zumpie, while I agree wholeheartedly with your interpretation of the Second Amendment, sadly the US Supreme Court does not.

@J - yeah, I know---and it's BS. But thankfully will change someday (especially with a Dem reelected to the WH).

I'll now stray sliiiightly off topic about the Supreme Court and ANOTHER, older decision I recently learned about and don't agree with: paddling.

Mercifully, it's fully banned in our state, but it IS still legal in schools (though to be fair most don't employ it) in 19 (!!!!) states. My reaction was that this was just an ACLU/violation of parental rights lawsuit picnic waiting to happen.

Interestingly, as of 1977, no. Because it was tried not as a civil rights violation (which I believe it to be---in the form of assault, etc), nor a violation of parental rights (the incredibly simple premise that you should be able to send your child to their local public school without fearing for their physical safety. Not to mention stepping into how I feel my children should be disciplined)---it was tried as exceeding the bounds of cruel and unusual punishment.

Granted, as I noted, most school districts do not still do this and many others offer parents an opportunity to opt out---but they also sometimes ignore the opt outs and are currently within their rights to do so (it's considered a "courtesy" and they can freely ignore it).

Hopefully both cases will be reargued using different criteria, cause geeze-louise!!!

Didn't Chris Rock come up with the perfect solution for gun violence in America?

I agree with Zumpie's first post.

I have to say, I am very surprised at the number of people who have guns. I recently found out that my brother in law bought a gun, and we since have stopped visiting their home. I just don't feel comfortable with my children around a gun. Also, beyond the issue of guns, I have most often found that families who do have guns tend to live according to a different set of values anyway. I am not saying those values are right or wrong... just that we tend not to be like-minded, and thus I wouldn't be hanging out with them anyway.

I hate all the people citing the constitutional rights to gun ownership. Somehow, I don't think owning assault weapons to shoot up a classroom or movie theater was what our forefathers had in mind.

Unless you have a job that requires a gun, I really don't see the purpose of owning one. I do realize hunting is a hobby for many people, but again, I think that comes down to values, and I probably wouldn't hang with people who felt good about killing another living thing either.

But then... I am a vegetarian hippy...


1) thank you.

2) thank you also for your comments about hunting (I was worried that I was being santimonious even for ME and figured I wouldn't "go there"), because while I am neither a vegetarian (though I much admire and respect those who are), nor a hippie---but I think hunting is totally and completely gross.

3) I can even see owning ONE gun if it's something you want (though I certainly do not and agree with you, typically it isn't someone whose values I share). Or more, if you, say collect antique guns (which, again, not my choice, but who am I to judge?)---but absolutely, why does anyone need an assault weapon?

Sorry, I don't buy that "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." Does it need to be that nuanced? People with guns kill people. Not adding to the intellectual discussion but it was my first reaction.

While we are are it, let's put stricter laws in place against automobiles, alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, prescription drugs, cocaine, meth, heroin, and poor nutrition habits that lead to obesity. All of those things "kill" people too.

Or we could put our efforts into improved education and mental health services, so that our citizens are well equipped to make informed, sane, and responsible decisions on how to live their live and handle conflict.

We have many laws and regulations in place around automobiles and alcohol and cigarettes, illegal and prescription drugs, etc. We are just beginning to come to terms with the obesity issue. And yes, all of those things kill people. But the point is that we react to them in a risk/benefit way, analyzing the benefits and trying to minimize the risks. Not always in the most rational way, but there's at least an attempt.

With guns, the risk/benefit analysis doesn't seem to happen. What's the benefit of owning guns? Ok, how can we balance that benefit with the risks inherent to owning a gun. Restricting magazine size and types of ammunition? Requiring palm-print trigger locks?

Many shootings happen in situations of domestic violence. Let's step up our efforts to cope with domestic violence and give women and their children a path to safety.

Many shootings happen in relation to gang violence. Let's step up our efforts to address the root causes of gang violence.

Many shootings happen by accident, as when children play in a house with unsecured guns. Let's step up education and technological efforts to prevent these shootings.

But there's one thing ALL gun violence has in common here, and it isn't lack of education or poor mental health or poverty or bullying or anything else. The common factor is guns.

Wow, BK---totally not the same thing at all---in fact if anything, the argument could be made that many of these are overregulated--and almost all of them are choices that would only directly affect the individual, not others.

It's precisely why, in Oregon, suicide isn't a crime, but murder is (duh). I actually believe in decriminalizing, but regulating most drugs (and fully legalizing pot), because while I don't partake, all of these are choices affecting my body and are my choices. Shooting off an assualt weapon in a crowded theater (or Sandy Hook Elementary School) affects a whole bunch of innocent people.

As for automobiles---actually, I'd say we need guns regulated more along those lines: you cannot legally own or drive one until you've reached a certain age, have demonstrated certain knowledge and skills and have purchased insurance to ensure if you ARE irresponsible, you will compensate other motorists.

You are also verrrrrry closely monitored and if you demonstrate irresponsible behavior, you lose your driving privileges (and/or be imprisoned) because you are in possesion of something potentially dangerous and thus should be more closely regulated. You must also have proof of identity to purchase and have full ownership of a car title and/or obtain a license.

As to the regulation of alcohol and tobacco, even they are, in some ways, more tightly regulated for minors (certainly in our liquor controlled state) than are guns.

As for education, I agree with that---but that requires funding, which taxing drugs would actually provide---but simply deregulating everything wouldn't give us the funding for that.

Your argument is quite reminiscent of LaPierre's bizarre recent speech----are you possibly an NRA employee???

I sleep very well at night knowing we have guns in our home. I am going to be getting my concealed carry permit as well. I want to be able to defend my family if need be and you don't do that by calling the cops, in cases where a gun would be needed, they will not get here in time.

It's your choice if you don't want guns in your home... but it should also be the choice of law abiding citizen to have the guns of their choice as well. Criminals and mentally unstable people are not going to follow any laws, so why should we have be at their mercy.

Because laws will make it harder for them to obtain guns and hold those who give them access to their guns (like in the case of Sandy Hook) more accountable.

BTW, I wouldn't sleep more soundly with a gun in my house, I'd worry that my daughter might access it. If it's kept locked (as it should be), doesn't that give the intruder more time, thus invalidating that part of your argument?

Also, if you ARE a responsible gun owner, why wouldn't you want laws compelling others to also be responsible gun owners? I'll assume you're a responsible driver and are happy there are laws compelling others to drive responsibly, as well. Under your argument above, a crazy person or a criminal wouldn't obey traffic laws, either---so I guess we just do away with everything related to that, as well.

Gun contorl is not now, nor never about responsible gun owners being allowed to own guns. It's about increased, commonsense regulation of a dangerous item.

Lastly, about you're "I'm more safe because I have a gun". I know gun nuts like to push that argument, too. Except there are far more gun related deaths in red (read gun loving) states and because the US has the least gun restriction of the civilized world, we also have the highest percentage of gun deaths. Under the argument of "guns make us safe", we should be the safest country in the world. We aren't (or even close to it). Do you also believe tax cuts for the rich create jobs argument, too?

Oooppps!! I meant gun control is not about responsible gun owners NOT being able to own guns! Cause we all know that's what they think!

I don't mind things like background checks and such, but don't think there should be "assault weapon" ban or bans on high capacity magazines.

All of our guns are in gun safes, but it takes less than 5 seconds to open the one in the bedroom if you know the combination. Anyone breaking in here would make enough noise (have to break a window or sliding door) we'd have plenty of time to get into it

No gun control is about limiting what kind of guns responsible owners can have.

don't assume, I'm not a responsible driver.... I don't drive and registered democrat, so tax the heck out of the rich (ok, maybe they should just pay their fair share)

Yes, there should be a ban on assault and high capacity magazines. Those things serve no purpose other than to kill. Given that in some cases, gunmen on shooting sprees were stopped only when they had to reload (like in the Gabi Giffords case), even fewer would've died if the magazine capacities were further limited.

Why on earth, other than believing NRA propoganda would you possibly oppose this? Why, as a parent only seeking to defend herself against intruders (and for the record, lived in the same house for 14 years now, never even had anything taken off our porch, let alone a home invasion---those statistics are really inflated), would you possibly ever need an assault rifle? You'd just be more likely to kill your own children in the process!

I never questioned your driving skills, you fully misunderstood my point---which was that it's potentially dangerous and a responsibility, so it's heavily regulated. Just as gun ownership and use should be.

You might otherwise be a Dem, but all your arguments are still classic NRA fear mongering. And VERY right wing!

JHL above-your words, "I sleep very well at night knowing we have guns in our home." Wow, I don't even know what to say to that. Really? Living in a world where you "feel safe" having a gun in your home makes you sleep well...seriously?

I am very pro gun control and would never have a gun in my home.

Do you know that in 2010, 63.6% of all firearm deaths in the US were suicides? It's an interesting statistic and one that we never, ever hear when talking about gun violence in the US. I was shocked to hear it on NPR last week in a segment about military suicides and looked it up myself.

In some ways, it makes a stronger argument for gun control (and obviously a stronger mental health system). It also makes me less fearful about being shot by someone random (which is still statistically way smaller a chance than me being killed in a car accident on my way home from work today). I'm wondering how wide knowledge of this statistic would shape the public discourse on gun control vs. personal safety?

Anyway, just food for thought.

The Atlantic lays out the knowns and the unknowns about guns in the U.S.

I wonder if Oregon's gun suicide stats are similar to or different from the rest of the nation. Because we have adopted "Death With Dignity," people living in horrible medical situations don't have to use guns. If I lived elsewhere, I might want a gun just in case.

But are we talking about how we feel about this as moms? Most of us are moms of little kids today, but we'll be moms of teens not too long from now. Today, clearing clutter, I happened on a magazine piece written by Dylan Klebold's mother about four years after Columbine. Her family never kept a gun in her house. Can you imagine how she would feel if she had? Because then she would be like Nancy Lanza. If I had to trade places with one of them, it wouldn't be with the one who bought the murder weapons.

@anon---I get your reasoning, but if you're that sick, you might not even be able to lift the gun or pull the trigger. Plus there are plenty of other ways to off yourself versus using a gun (like OD'ing on extra painkillers or something).


"But there is a more fundamental problem with the idea that guns actually protect the hearth and home. Guns rarely get used that way. In the 1990s, a team headed by Arthur Kellermann of Emory University looked at all injuries involving guns kept in the home in Memphis, Seattle and Galveston, Tex. They found that these weapons were fired far more often in accidents, criminal assaults, homicides or suicide attempts than in self-defense. For every instance in which a gun in the home was shot in self-defense, there were seven criminal assaults or homicides, four accidental shootings, and 11 attempted or successful suicides.

The cost-benefit balance of having a gun in the home is especially negative for women, according to a 2011 review by David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. Far from making women safer, a gun in the home is “a particularly strong risk factor” for female homicides and the intimidation of women."

Child victims of the past few weeks. The full list is at the end of the article.
Nothing surprising, really - just five weeks in America.
A six year old accidentally shot herself in the face with a gun kept by her dad. A four year old shot accidentally by her six year old brother. A 13 year old shot accidentally by her 14 year old brother. A 12 year old shot accidentally by his 12 year old cousin, who was showing off his Christmas present. The three year old who shot himself with the pink handgun he thought was a toy.

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