Baseball or Neighborhood Shootings?
America’s Pastime seems to be either baseball or neighborhood shootings! Andrew Patrick, political communications director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, referred to “shootings replacing baseball as the traditional pastime here and across America” in a recent statement after the shooting outside DC’s Nats Park in mid-July, killing 6-year-old Niyah Courtney. The Coalition and other GVP organizations responded by asking Congress, specifically the US Senate, to step up and pass gun violence prevention laws now.
On July 29, the Washington Post editorial board said, “There is an intolerable epidemic of gun violence in DC neighborhoods.” The editorial board reports that homicides are up by 4% since last year this time, per DC Police stats, but 2020’s numbers had seen a 19% increase since the year before. The board underscores that the numbers and headlines about high-profile shootings, however, cannot capture the effects of routine gunfire on the fabric of life in these struggling neighborhoods. The pain remains and the ask—when will it stop!
Mayor Bowser’s Building Blocks DC program, outlined in a GVP presentation at WNDC with DC’s first GVP Director Linda Harillee Harper, has a targeted a neighborhood approach featuring community intervention resources and violence interrupters. (Members, check out the June program link, if you missed it.) DC Police Chief Robert J. Contee III is aggressively working with communities impacted by the most gunfire incidents and trafficking of firearms from VA, MD, and other states. Contee, according to the Post, is pushing the judicial system to stop the “merry-go-round that puts people arrested for gun offensives back on the street.” As Contee says of a person who commits a violent act—should they be walking around the community with an ankle monitor on? We know the answer to that one—NO!
DC Witness (a nonprofit group) provides specifics on DC neighborhoods from 2019–2020 and then 2020–2021with homicide rates and interrupter resources. Go to the Link now. INSERT Link here. (Will send the document separately.)
May the Fall will bring change and hope for DC and other cities in America!
NRA-lite or NRA Wannabes
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) calls itself a trade association, but currently plays a key lobbying role for its manufacturers and gun sellers, not unlike that of the Tobacco Institute for the tobacco industry. Since 1961, NSSF has represented a broad scope of the hunting and shooting sports industry. Members include approximately 8,000 manufacturers of sporting firearms and ammunition, equipment manufacturers, and distributors, retailers, and shooting ranges.
NSSF is pushing the NRA out of the limelight somewhat, even though they were joined at the hip for many decades! The NSSF’s steady rise has grown as the NRA has dealt with its bankruptcy issues and leadership struggles. NSSF’s funds for campaigns and ads now exceed $229 million, which includes funding to oppose David Chipman’s nomination as the Biden nominee for director of the ATF. Further, NSSF’s legislative agenda mirrors NRA’s legislative goals including opposing:
- Manchin-Toomey background checks compromise
- ERPO Laws (extreme risk protection) laws
- Regulation of high capacity magazines
- Regulation of ghost guns (those made on 3-D computers without serial numbers)
Don’t kid yourselves, Congress and Senator Angus King (I-ME). This is NOT your ordinary trade association! And, yes, they oppose the Chipman nomination for ATF!!
David Chipman, ATF Director Nominee
The Biden nomination of David Chipman is as uncontroversial as they come. Nevertheless, Republicans have characterized the ATF (The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives) office as controversial and not confirming a candidate for decades. Thus, Chipman becomes tagged with this.
Chipman, a gun owner and dedicated public servant, having worked at the ATF for 25 years, is the right man at the right time for the job! The AFT is responsible for investigating and preventing firearms trafficking and other violent crime. The director’s job is to enforce the laws on the books and keep America safe by stopping firearms trafficking and bad-apple gun dealers. The AFT has been under-funded and under-staffed for years! At a time when crime is surging, the ATF needs strong, experienced, and consistent leadership now!
GVP Task Force meets at the WNDC Garden, Thursday, September 23 at 5:00 pm.
Contact Ellen at: firstname.lastname@example.org
— Ellen McGovern, Chair, GVP Task Force