CT Against Gun Violence
CT Against Gun Violence has a simple, but powerful mission: reduce gun violence in Connecticut. Three core strategies balance legislative, oversight and non-legislative approaches to attack the problem from multiple angles.
Started 9 petitions
Tell Trump "no" to gutting funding for gun violence research
Nearly 40,000 Americans were killed by guns in 2017, the most recent year for which CDC data is available. According to research published in Preventive Medicine, the gun homicide rate in the U.S. is 25 times higher than in other high-income countries. Yet ever since Congressional allies of the gun lobby approved the Dickey Amendment in 1996, the CDC has effectively been blocked from funding research on gun violence, even though the American Medical Association calls it a "public health crisis...unrivaled in any other developed country." Until President Trump released his FY 2021 budget—without a dime for CDC gun violence research—it it looked like the freeze on federal research grants to study gun violence was finally coming to an end. In 2018 Congress included explicit language in its spending bill citing remarks by Alex Azar, Trump's secretary of Health and Human Services, that the Dickey Amendment "does not in any way impede our ability to conduct our research mission," and that he would direct the CDC to do gun violence prevention research. Pressured by House Democrats and led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), the FY 2020 spending bill appropriated $25 million for research on reducing gun violence, to be split equally between the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health. While $25 million is a pittance compared to research funding for other causes of death in the U.S. (in FY 2019 the CDC allocated $371 million to cancer prevention and control), it was an historic achievement. Ending the 25 year blockade on federal gun violence research was a short-lived victory. President Trump's FY 2021 budget eliminates ALL funding for Firearm Injury and Mortality Prevention Research from the CDC's budget. Not a single penny to be spent on finding ways to prevent 100 Americans from being killed by guns every day. Just the way the gun lobby wants it. Please tell President Trump and Secretary Azar his budget is an insult to the American people. Demand that they restore gun violence prevention research to at least FY 2020 levels.
We're Done with Your Prayers Mitch McConnell, Ban Assault Weapons Now!
What do all these mass shootings have in common? Aug 31: Odessa shooting; 29 people across 15 miles killed or injured (the most recent causalities since this petition was launched).Aug 4, 2019: Dayton shooting; 36 late-night revelers killed or injured.Aug 3, 2019: El Paso shooting; at least 46 shoppers killed or injured.Jul 28, 2019: Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting; 19 food lovers killed or injured.Oct 27, 2018: Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting; 17 Jews killed or injured.Apr 22, 2018: Nashville Waffle House shooting; 6 diners killed or injured.Feb 14, 2018: Stoneman Douglas High School shooting; 34 students and educators killed or injured.Nov 5, 2017: Sutherland Springs Baptist Church shooting; 47 church-goers killed or injured.Oct 1, 2017: Las Vegas shooting; 481 concert-goers killed or injured.Jun 12, 2016: Pulse Nightclub shooting: 103 club-goers killed or injured. The shooter used a semi-automatic assault-style rifle. That's why we must demand that Senate GOP Majority Leader McConnell bring Senate Bill 66, the Assault Weapons Ban sponsored by Sen. Feinstein (D-CA), to the Senate floor for a vote. More than half of mass shootings involve the use of assault-style rifles and/or high-capacity magazines, both of which would be banned by S.66. In 6 out of 10 mass shootings where high-capacity magazines are used, nearly twice as many people are killed, and six times as many injured. Time after time Majority Leader McConnell has refused to even allow debate on gun control legislation, despite a nearly 2:1 margin of voters who favor a federal ban on assault weapons versus those opposed. Since 6 in 10 voters favor stricter gun laws McConnell should also advance a host of other gun control legislation he has blocked. He should bring S.42, the Background Check Expansion Bill sponsored by Sen. Murphy (D-CT) to a vote, a measure favored by 94% of voters. He should bring S.184, the Gun Violence Prevention Research Act sponsored by Sen. Markey (D-MA) to a vote. He should bring S.193, Ethan's Law to require safe firearm storage sponsored by Sen. Blumenthal (D-CT) to a vote. To name just a few of the gun safety bills buried by the "grim reaper" (as McConnell likes to call himself) an apt description for a leader who sits by while more than 100 people are killed by guns every day. America has had enough of Mitch McConnell's prayers, it's long past time for him to put American lives ahead of the gun lobby. Please sign this petition to demand that McConnell schedule a vote on S.66, the Assault Weapons Ban, and other federal gun control measures.
Block Confirmation of Canterbury to ATF for Opposing Universal Background Checks
One of the key missions of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is to protect communities from "the illegal use and trafficking of firearms." So it is totally unacceptable that Chuck Canterbury, President Trump's nominee to lead the ATF, opposes all new federal gun regulations, including background checks for all gun sales. Background checks have stopped more than 3.5 million sales to convicted felons, domestic abusers, fugitives and other dangerous people. Universal background checks are supported by more than 95% of Americans, including Republicans and gun owners. Please sign this petition demanding that Sen. Lindsey Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, block Canterbury's confirmation as ATF Director. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Canterbury said that he does not "support any more restrictions than are currently in the law." In response to questioning by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Canterbury stated his opposition to expanding federal criminal background checks to all firearm sales and banning assault-style weapons. Clearly trying to dodge questions about his position on a whole range of federal gun regulations, Canterbury was accused by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) of being "evasive." What's also clear is that the person who would be one of the most senior officials in the federal government responsible for ensuring that guns don't get into the wrong hands favors gun rights over public safety. In 2009, as president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Canterbury proclaimed, “I take a back seat to no one in my reverence for the Second Amendment." Gun violence in America is a public health crisis. Nearly 40,000 people were killed by guns in 2017. The ATF needs a director that believes in common-sense federal gun regulation. The agency has lost its way, with senior officials in the agency taking direction from the NRA, and routinely overturning the recommendations of field agents to revoke licenses of federal gun dealers who break the law. Sen. Graham has the power to stop the appointment of a nominee who even Sen. Kennedy, no friend of gun control, said was "not qualified" to run the ATF. Get Graham to use it.
Investigate Sandy Hook School bomb threat as act of domestic terrorism
On December 14, 2018, the sixth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 20 first-graders and 6 educators, a bomb threat was called into the school. This was nothing less than an act of domestic terrorism, directed at a community that has already experienced unimaginable trauma. It, and similar incidents, should be investigated by the FBI with all the resolve and resources that are directed to foreign radical extremist terrorist threats. This is not an isolated event. Far-right conspiracy theorists have routinely harassed and threatened parents of Sandy Hook School victims. The same is happening to the student survivors of the Parkland School shooting. The children of Newtown—like all students these days—already suffer daily from the fear of school shootings. It is unconscionable that they are being terrorized by these despicable acts. The perpetrators need to be caught and brought to justice.
Tell Betsy DeVos: don't use taxpayer $$$ to arm teachers!
As reported by The New York Times, education secretary Besty DeVos is considering awarding federally funded grants to buy guns for schoolteachers as a way to prevent school shootings. DeVos’ plan represents a radical shift in education policy that for years has taken the position that the federal government should not fund weapons procurement for schools. It ignores Congressional mandates that expressly prohibit using federal taxpayer dollars to buy guns. In a cynical ploy to circumvent the prohibition of funding school weapons purchases, DeVos is contemplating raiding the Student Support and Academic Enrichment program to buy guns. Arming teachers is not the way to support students or enrich their academic experience. Arming teachers is a misguided policy that substitutes NRA rhetoric about “good guys with guns" for rational solutions to prevent gun violence in schools. Educational advocacy organizations, law enforcement experts, parents and teachers themselves roundly oppose the strategy of turning educators into armed security guards. In a statement released after President Trump floated the idea of arming teachers in response to the Parkland school shooting, the National Association of School Resource Officers “strongly recommends that no firearms be on a school campus except those carried by carefully selected, specially trained school resource officers.” Former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said arming teachers to prevent school shootings is “the height of lunacy.” Rick Myers, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association said he would be “hard-pressed to find someone in policing who thinks it's a good idea to arm teachers.” As Debra Ciamacca, a Marine Corps officer turned high school teacher explained, “Guns have no place in the classroom” because teachers will never have the training to make the split second decisions needed in active shooter situations. Furthermore, “weapons are not conducive to the teacher/student relationship.” Even among trained police officers, shooting accuracy is shockingly low. A 2008 Rand Corporation study of New York City police reported an average hit rate of just 18 percent. That's one reason why Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Educational Association, calls the idea of arming teachers “ill-conceived, preposterous, and dangerous.” In her letter to President Trump, Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.7 million member American Federation of Teachers wrote, “The response we have heard is universal, most notably from educators who are gun owners, military veterans and National Rifle Association members: Teachers don’t want to be armed; we want to teach.” In a recent survey conducted by the NEA, 82 percent of their members said they would not carry a gun in school. Two-thirds of educators who own guns would not consider carrying a firearm on school property, and two-thirds also said they would feel less safe with armed teachers in their school. The voices of those who know best overwhelmingly oppose arming teachers. Tell Besty DeVos to listen to them and drop all considerations of using taxpayer funds to arm educators. (Poster Credit: BBDO Atlanta/Ad Age)
Tell Trump administration: don't make it easier to export assault rifles.
For no reason other than to increase gun industry profits, the Trump administration has revived proposed rules that were shelved after the Sandy Hook school shooting to make it easier for American manufacturers to export firearms, especially assault weapons that are banned in six states, including Connecticut. This same rule will allow unfettered access to online plans to make undetectable, untraceable 3D-printed guns at home. A 3D-printed gun has been implicated in a murder in Rhode Island; this is not some theoretical threat to our safety. There’s a reason that firearm exports are tightly controlled: around the world more than 1,000 people are killed every day in acts of organized crime, political violence, terrorism and human rights violations. According to a study by the Violence Policy Center, “military-style semiautomatic firearms easily available on the U.S. civilian gun market comprise a significant portion of the weapons illegally trafficked to Mexico and other Latin American and Caribbean countries.” As Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wrote last fall to then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, firearm exports “should be subject to more—not less—rigorous export controls and oversight.” Commenting on the impact of the proposed rules change, a senior administration official said, “You could really turn the spigot on if you do it the right way.” According to Lawrence Keane of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade organization tasked with increasing gun sales, the rule change could generate a 20 percent increase in exports, sending another 70,000 arms annually into the global marketplace. Among other aspects that weaken oversight, the proposed rules changes would: classify semi-automatic assault rifles as “non-military” despite the fact that many of these weapons of war are used in armed conflict. eliminate Congressional oversight of gun export deals, prohibiting sales to despotic regimes such as it did with Turkey and the Philippines. Reduce end-use controls making it more difficult to take action against arms traffickers. We should not be exporting America’s gun violence problem just so U.S. arms manufacturers can increase their profits. Tell the Secretaries of Commerce and State to oppose the relaxing of rules that would make it easier for U.S. firearm manufacturers to export assault rifles and other guns, with less oversight and accountability. Photo credit: CNN
Force ATF Associate Deputy Director Turk to resign in light of collaboration with NRA.
As brought to light by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and reported by CNN, the second-highest ranking official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Ronald Turk, wrote a white paper in collaboration with an NRA lobbyist calling for weaker gun laws and reduced ATF oversight of gun dealers. The drafting of the report started one week following the 2016 election, and was secretly released the day President Trump was inaugurated. When more than 33,000 Americans are killed every year by gun violence, it is unconscionable for a leader of the ATF to collude with the NRA to advance its “guns everywhere” agenda. ATF Deputy Director Thomas Brandon should relieve Mr. Turk of his duties immediately. In the report, leaked last year to The Washington Post, Associate Deputy Director Turk suggests the ATF should allow gun dealers to sell across state lines, loosen restrictions on gun silencers and more than double the number of crime guns a federally licensed gun dealer sells before coming under ATF scrutiny. All of these policy changes would harm public safety. Although Turk claims these are just his views, as second in command at the ATF what he believes is sure to have an impact on policy. The report carried the agency seal and Turk’s ATF title. It’s clear that Turk’s intentions were to weaken federal oversight of the gun industry. The original title of the report was “Guns in America – Options for a New Administration” and referenced “securing” Second Amendment rights and “support for the firearms industry.” As the federal law enforcement agency that “protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, [and] the illegal use and trafficking of firearms,” there is no place for a senior official whose agenda it is to support the gun lobby by weakening federal gun laws. Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk has to go.
Stop gutting federal gun laws
Now is not the time for silence. It's time for outrage. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the hundreds of people that were killed or injured at the Mandalay Bay Casino mass shooting in Las Vegas, the worst in the nation's history. But sympathy will not save the 33,000 Americans who will be killed this year by gun violence. Legislators beholden to the gun lobby will no doubt say now is not the time to talk about gun laws. There is no other kind of attack on Americans that is met with this level of indifference. It needs to stop. Right now Congress is considering deregulating silencers which would make it harder to identify from where gunshots are coming in active shooter situations. The House is close to passing a bill making it easier for people to carry concealed weapons to any state in the nation with not so much as a background check. Tell Congress #Enough. Sign this petition to tell Members of Congress to: Vote no on H.R. 3668, the SHARE Act that would gut long-standing regulations on silencers and loosen restrictions on armor piercing bullets. Block H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act that would force states to honor the concealed carry weapons permits of every other state, regardless of how lax the other state's law. Ban weapons of war: assault weapons and large capacity magazines, which have no place in the hands of private citizens. (photo credit: D. Becker/Getty Images)
Tell NBC to cancel Megyn Kelly interview with Sandy Hook denier Alex Jones
On June 11, just two days before news anchor Megyn Kelly was to host the Sandy Hook Promise fundraising gala, she personally promoted her upcoming in-depth interview with alt-right Sandy Hook denier Alex Jones. We believe it is unacceptable and deeply disrespectful to give a platform to a person whose outrageous lies have led to a cruel campaign of harassment and abuse by his followers directed at the families of the 20 children and six educators killed at Sandy Hook School. While Kelly denounces the views of Alex Jones, that is no excuse to call attention to his dangerous, unfounded conspiracy theories that are traumatizing families who have already suffered beyond belief. Kelly claims she wants to “shine a light” on Jones to understand the respect he receives from “the president of the United States and a growing audience of millions.” To our eyes it looks more sensationalism for ratings than thoughtful journalism. She followed her initial tweet on June 11 with another, “It was a riveting exchange. Promise you that.” News of Kelly’s interview has been met with resounding criticism. In pulling its advertising from NBC, the chief marketing officer of JP Morgan Chase said she was “repulsed” that Kelly was giving airtime to someone who denies the truth of the Sandy Hook and Aurora shootings. Yet NBC News has not changed its position on moving forward with the Sunday airing of the Jones interview—even more reprehensible coming on Father’s Day. Please tell Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News, that Megyn Kelly’s interview has no place on a reputable news network.