Armor of Light — What Price Conscience?

Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence and Pacem in Terris

Great Issues & Solutions 2016
Tuesday, July 19, 7 pm
Westminster Presbyterian Church
1502 W. 13th Street, Wilmington, DE

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THE ARMOR OF LIGHT follows an Evangelical minister and the mother of a teenage shooting victim who ask, is it possible to be both pro­-gun and pro­-life?

In what RogerEbert.com calls “one of the year’s most powerful documentaries” and The Christian Science Monitor describes as a “gripping portrait of courage,” director Abigail E. Disney tracks an Evangelical minister trying to find the moral strength to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America. In THE ARMOR OF LIGHT Reverend Rob Schenck breaks with orthodoxy by questioning whether being pro-gun is consistent with being pro-life. Rev. Schenck is shocked and perplexed by the reactions of his long-time friends and colleagues who warn him away from this complex, politically explosive issue. Along the way, he meets Lucy McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, an unarmed teenager who was murdered in Florida. ARMOR follows these unlikely allies through their trials of conscience, heartbreak and rejection, as they bravely attempt to make others consider America’s gun culture through a moral lens.

ALL people deserve the right to live in peace.

Free and open to the public.  All events are in the Meeting Room adjacent to Rodney Chapel at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1502 W. 13th Street, Wilmington, DE. Free parking is available at Westminster Presbyterian Church parking lot at 13th & N. Rodney Sts. This series is sponsored by Pacem in Terris. This film is co-sponsored by DE Coalition Against Gun Violence. For more information: Pacem in Terris, or call 302-656-2721.

Huge Victory on Background Checks in Delaware!

Governor Markell Signs HB 325

Governor Jack Markell signs HB 325.
Governor Jack Markell signs HB 325, closing the “Charleston Loophole” in Delaware.

Dear Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence,

Thanks to our supporters and allies like you, we achieved a huge victory against the gun lobby! Yesterday, we joined Governor Markell and prime sponsors Rep. Ed Osienski, Rep. Val Longhurst, and Sen. Bryan Townsend at the signing ceremony for HB 325, which closes the Charleston Loophole by extending the 3-day default proceed on background checks to 25-days. This life saving measure will give more time for proper background checks to be performed on gun sales across our state!

We were proud to stand with the Governor yesterday as he signed this bill into law. This victory is hugely important not only to our state, but to the entire nation as we all continue to see inaction on gun violence in the U.S. Congress. This is a huge moment. Can we count on you to help keep the momentum going? There is still much to do, and we must continue to increase our resources to keep making progress.

Your gift to Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence will go a long way to help us to continue to achieve legislative victories and tell the gun lobby that Delaware wants none of their culture of fear. Please give what you can today.

Sincerely,

George Higgins

Executive Director

General Assembly Approves HB 325

DeCAGV_sm_logoThe following press advisory was released by the Delaware House Democratic Caucus this evening. The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence thanks all of its supporters and friends who worked tirelessly to pass HB 325—another step in making our state a leader in commonsense gun safety legislation.

Bill Will Close Background Check Loophole

Current law allows prohibited persons to ‘lawfully’ purchase firearm without completed criminal check.

DOVER – The Delaware House gave final approval Tuesday to legislation from Rep. Ed Osienski and Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst that would close a serious federal loophole that annually allows thousands of prohibited persons to purchase firearms without passing a background check.

House Bill 325 cleared a final vote in the chamber after returning to the House with a Senate amendment. No House Republicans voted in favor of the legislation. It now heads to the governor for his signature.

Current federal regulations allow a Federal Firearm Licensed dealer (FFL) to proceed with a firearm transaction if a requested background check has not been processed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) within three business days. This loophole has allowed firearm transactions that otherwise would be denied to proceed, resulting in potentially dangerous individuals purchasing guns from lawful sellers on a technicality. According to the FBI, from 2010-14, gun dealers completed 15,729 gun sales to ineligible people due to the delayed transaction provision.

Last year, nine people were murdered in a mass shooting at a Charleston, S.C. church. The suspected gunman, Dylann Roof, purchased the firearm used in the killings through the delayed transaction loophole after a background check took longer than three days. It was later determined that the sale should have been denied due to a drug conviction.

Under HB 325, a person purchasing a firearm would need to pass a background check before a transaction could be completed. This would not impact the vast majority of gun transactions in Delaware, as 92 percent of background checks are completed in a matter of minutes, or at most, hours. This would eliminate the “delayed transactions” (also known as “default proceeds”) of guns being turned over because a background check takes longer than three business days.

As amended, HB 325 allows 25 days for a background check to be completed before a firearm could be transferred.

“For the average, law-abiding citizen, this bill would have no impact on their ability to purchase a gun. If you walk into a store to buy a gun and pass a background check, then you would be able to leave with your gun, just the same as you can today,” said Rep. Osienski, D-Newark. “This is not a hypothetical situation. It already has happened, and in at least one instance, it was a horrific tragedy.”

“If we truly believe, as most Americans do, that any person who seeks to lawfully acquire a firearm must pass a background check before doing so, then this is a common-sense solution,” said Rep. Longhurst, D-Bear. “In addition to the issue of potentially dangerous people obtaining a firearm, we have to use ATF resources to retrieve guns from people who shouldn’t have had them in the first place.”

“Delawareans have made it clear that they want us to do what Washington won’t: pass meaningful gun-safety laws. House Bill 325 is common-sense gun-safety legislation that will protect Delawareans by making sure more gun sales only occur once a background check has been completed,” said Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, lead Senate sponsor of HB 325. “For the small percent of checks that can’t be completed immediately, HB 325 gives law enforcement officials more time to make sure firearms do not end up in the hands of people who are prohibited from having them.”

According to NICS, in Delaware from 2013-15, 40 individuals successfully purchased firearms and were later determined to be prohibited from possessing a gun. In each case, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had to deploy officers to retrieve the weapons.

In most of these cases, background checks were denied only a few days after the three-day period passed. However, in some cases, a prohibited person has been able to possess a firearm for weeks before the background check catches up. In one 2013 case in Delaware, a fugitive from justice successfully purchased a firearm through this loophole. That background check did not reveal the person’s status as a fugitive until 43 days after the transaction was initiated.

At least 18 states have addressed this delayed transaction loophole in a manner that reduces the number of prohibited people who are able to purchase firearms.

 

For Father’s Day: Get Dad a Tie, Not an Assault Rifle

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According to authorities, Orlando shooter Omar Mateen used the assault-style rifle Sig Sauer MCX to kill at least 49 people. A lawyer for the Newtown, Connecticut, families whose children were also killed with an MCX called the weapon “the gold standard for mass murder.” A federal ban on such weapons was allowed to expire in 2004.

Note: We received this announcement this morning from our friends at Connecticut Against Gun Violence. We call on Delaware gun dealers to voluntarily join this act of dignity and respect for those who were killed last weekend in Orlando—and for all victims of gun violence across the nation—on this year’s Father’s Day.

CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR CALLS ON
GUN SELLERS TO AVOID SEMI-AUTOMATIC WEAPONS SALES ON FATHER’S DAY IN
RECOGNITION OF ORLANDO FAMILY MEMBERS

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called today for Connecticut gun sellers to voluntarily halt selling semi-automatic weapons this Father’s Day—Sunday, June 19—in recognition of the fathers and parents who lost children in the Orlando tragedy. The AR-15 and the Sig Sauer MCX are illegal in Connecticut, so the Governor is calling on state gun sellers to take a symbolic step of avoiding any semi-automatic weapons sales on Sunday.

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Connecticut Governor Dannel Melloy (wikimedia)

In states in which assault weapon sales are legal, Melloy is calling on gun sellers to avoid selling those firearms—particularly the Sig Sauer MCX and the AR-15—out of respect.

Since enacting commonsense gun violence prevention legislation in 2013, crime in Connecticut is at a nearly 50-year low, and violent crime is dropping faster than in almost any other state in the nation. In the last three years, there have been less than 100 murders in the state—something that has not happened since the 1960s.

The gun law passed by Connecticut in the wake of Sandy Hook is one of the toughest in the nation. It requires all firearm transactions be reported to the state police, complete criminal background checks for purchasing firearms and ammunition, and registration of all banned assault weapons and large capacity magazines.

“I am calling on Connecticut gun sellers to avoid all semi-automatic weapons sales on Father’s Day for one reason. We should show respect, through a symbolic gesture, to those who lost loved ones in Orlando,” Governor Malloy said. “It’s one day—and one day only….

“These guns are weapons of mass destruction. They are specifically designed to kill as many people as possible in the shortest period of time. Shootings with these weapons are an almost daily occurrence nationally, and they will continue unless we act both in Congress and at a state-level with smart gun laws. In the absence of action, at a minimum, individual gun sellers can choose to show respect for those who lost their lives in Orlando, and in particular, as we celebrate Father’s Day, children who have lost their fathers and fathers who have lost their children to gun violence. My heart goes out to the friends and family-members of the victims.”

Horror, devastation—and a resolve to make change

States United to Prevent Gun Violence
Statement on Pulse Night Club Mass Shooting

The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence and its 31 affiliated state gun violence prevention organizations comprising States United to Prevent Gun Violence are saddened and horrified by today’s shooting at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, FL. Saddened and horrified, but not shocked. We are no longer surprised when someone motivated by hatred is able to easily obtain assault-style weapons and rounds upon rounds of ammunition, turning another place of joy and celebration into a site of devastation and mourning.

Reports indicate that this shooting — with fifty killed and at least fifty more injured — is the deadliest mass shooting in American history. The shooter was an American citizen and officials are investigating this as an act of terrorism. In truth, every mass shooting is an act of terrorism —  it incites fear and terror and aims to create chaos and panic.

In the coming days, we will learn more about the shooter, and more about the victims, survivors and heroes who braved danger to help others. We will mourn with the grieving families and friends as they lay their loved ones to rest. We will listen to politicians express platitudes while doing nothing to keep the weapons of war off our streets. So while we send our thoughts and prayers to the victims and survivors, we also pledge to honor them with a demand for action NOW for stronger gun laws and commonsense policies to keep our loved ones safe.

Arizonans for Gun Safety
Women Against Gun Violence
Colorado Ceasefire
Connecticut Against Gun Violence Ed Fund
Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence Ed Fund 
Georgians for Gun Safety
Hawaii Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence
Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence
Iowans for Gun Safety 
Maine Gun Safety Coalition
Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence 
Stop Handgun Violence
Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
Protect Minnesota
Grandparents Against Gun Violence (MO)
Coalition of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence
North Carolinians Against Gun Violence Education Fund
Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence
Oklahoma Gun Sense
Ceasefire Oregon
Ceasefire Pennsylvania
Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence
The Safe Tennessee Project
Texas Gun Sense
Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah
Virginia Center for Public Safety
Washington CeaseFire
Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort Ed Fund
States United to Prevent Gun Violence 

Act Now as HB 325 Approaches Senate Vote

TELL THE DELAWARE SENATE: PROVIDE ENOUGH TIME FOR BACKGROUND CHECKS ON GUN PURCHASES

HB 325, which passed the Delaware House in April, will be voted on in the Senate before the end of the session this month. DeCAGV strongly supports this bill and you should too.

TELL YOUR STATE SENATOR THAT YOU SUPPORT HB 325.

Don’t know the name of your senator and how to make contact?
Click here for a handy lookup tool based on your zipcode.

DON’T KNOW THAT TO WRITE?

Here’s a Q+A about how HB 325 will close a dangerous loophole in our system.

 

What is the purpose of HB 325?

This bill closes a dangerous loophole in Delaware’s background check system that allows gun sales to proceed by default after just three business days—without a completed federal background check. HB 325 would allow up to 30 days for the completion of a background investigation.

Why is HB 325 needed?

From 2013–2015, 40 individuals who successfully purchased firearms in Delaware were later determined to be prohibited from possessing a gun. This is dangerous. In each case, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had to put its agents at risk to retrieve the weapons. And this hardly accounts for the risk to the public.

Why is this called the “Charleston Loophole?”

The three-day background check loophole has come to be known as the Charleston Loophole. Last summer nine black churchgoers were killed in Charleston, S.C., during a prayer service. The shooter—who would not have passed a back-ground check—was able to purchase the gun he used after three business days when the federal background check was still incomplete. Nationally, from 2010–2014, gun dealers completed 15,729 gun sales to ineligible people due to the expiration of the three-day period.

Isn’t this a Federal issue?

Despite the fact that the Federal system has been chronically underfunded—and, more recently, overwhelmed by a nationwide surge in gun sales—more than 90 percent of background checks are processed within minutes or hours. Other cases require extra attention precisely because the firearm purchaser has a complicated record of red flags. As reported in The Trace, default-proceed sales are eight times more likely to involve a prohibited purchaser than other background checks. And because Federal legislation to close this loophole is currently unlikely, states have begun to act.

Is HB 325 constitutional?

Since the Supreme Court’s 2008 opinion, DC v. Heller, most courts have held that a gun law violates the Second Amendment only if it does not serve an important or significant government interest, or if the law does not reasonably “fit” that interest. HB 325 easily passes this test. It serves a compelling government interest: preventing firearm possession by convicted felons, the dangerously mentally ill, and other people who cannot pass a background check. And the “fit” between HB 325 and this interest is clearly reasonable, given that it would allow a law-abiding, responsible person to obtain a gun as soon as the background check is completed—and, if the background check cannot be quickly completed, during the period of up to 30 days.

Yes on HB 325

TELL THE DELAWARE SENATE: PROVIDE ENOUGH TIME FOR BACKGROUND CHECKS ON GUN PURCHASES

HB 325, which has already passed the Delaware House, is slated to be considered in the Senate this week. DeCAGV strongly supports this bill. Here’s a Q+A about how HB 325 will close a dangerous loophole in our system.

Download a copy of this document (pdf) and share it with your friends: Yes on 325—DeCAGV

What is the purpose of HB 325?

This bill closes a dangerous loophole in Delaware’s background check system that allows gun sales to proceed by default after just three business days—without a completed federal background check. HB 325 would allow up to 30 days for the completion of a background investigation.

Why is HB 325 needed?

From 2013–2015, 40 individuals who successfully purchased firearms in Delaware were later determined to be prohibited from possessing a gun. This is dangerous. In each case, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had to put its agents at risk to retrieve the weapons. And this hardly accounts for the risk to the public.

Why is this called the “Charleston Loophole?”

The three-day background check loophole has come to be known as the Charleston Loophole. Last summer nine black churchgoers were killed in Charleston, S.C., during a prayer service. The shooter—who would not have passed a back-ground check—was able to purchase the gun he used after three business days when the federal background check was still incomplete. Nationally, from 2010–2014, gun dealers completed 15,729 gun sales to ineligible people due to the expiration of the three-day period.

Isn’t this a Federal issue?

Despite the fact that the Federal system has been chronically underfunded—and, more recently, overwhelmed by a nationwide surge in gun sales—more than 90 percent of background checks are processed within minutes or hours. Other cases require extra attention precisely because the firearm purchaser has a complicated record of red flags. As reported in The Trace, default-proceed sales are eight times more likely to involve a prohibited purchaser than other background checks. And because Federal legislation to close this loophole is currently unlikely, states have begun to act.

Is HB 325 constitutional?

Since the Supreme Court’s 2008 opinion, DC v. Heller, most courts have held that a gun law violates the Second Amendment only if it does not serve an important or significant government interest, or if the law does not reasonably “fit” that interest. HB 325 easily passes this test. It serves a compelling government interest: preventing firearm possession by convicted felons, the dangerously mentally ill, and other people who cannot pass a background check. And the “fit” between HB 325 and this interest is clearly reasonable, given that it would allow a law-abiding, responsible person to obtain a gun as soon as the background check is completed—and, if the background check cannot be quickly completed, during the period of up to 30 days.

 

“Under the Gun” Free Advance Screening

Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence, Movement for a Culture of Peace, and EPiX present a free advance screening of UNDER THE GUN, a new film about gun violence in America, executive produced and narrated by Katie Couric.

UTG_flagSaturday, May 7
9:00 a.m.
Penn Cinema
at the Riverfront
401 S Madison St, Wilmington, DE 19801

Tickets are free with advance registration:

HTTP://BIT.LY/UNDERTHEGUNDE

Watch the trailer at: : bit.ly/UnderTheGunFilm

This pre-release event is the only screening in the Delaware Valley before Under the Gun airs on the EPiX network. It will be followed by a discussion conducted by Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence and Movement for a Culture of Peace.

Variety reported that “In “Under the Gun,” Couric and director Stephanie Soechtig (“Fed Up”) examine why, despite the increase in deaths at the hands of guns and the outpouring of shock and outrage that comes with it, our nation has failed to respond with meaningful action. What is keeping the two sides of this debate — those favoring stricter gun control laws and Second Amendment purists like the NRA — from finding common ground? Through the lens of families impacted by the mass shootings in Newtown, Aurora, Isla Vista, Tucson, as well as the daily gun violence in Chicago, the film examines why our national politicians are refusing to act and what is being done at the state and local levels. The filmmakers decided not to mention the names, nor show the photos, of any shooters in the documentary.”

The film was an official selection at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute wrote: “Rather than becoming a screeching polemic that plays to its intended audience, Under the Gun is a fair look at both sides of the national debate.

Printable flyer and graphic for Under the Gun (Movement for a Culture of Peace):
https://wilmingtonpeacemarch.wordpress.com/resources/

Team 26 Returns to Delaware on Monday

Sandy Hook Riders Honor Victims,
Seek Gun Violence Reforms by Congress

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“Team 26” from Newtown CT will rally at the Perkins Student Center at the University of Delaware on Monday, April 11.

You can ride with Team 26. Meet at 10:00 a.m. at Curtis Mill Park on Paper Mill Road. Email info@decagv.org for more information.

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A 400-mile bicycle ride from Newtown CT to Washington DC to raise awareness of gun violence is stopping for a rally at the University of Delaware on Monday, April 11.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Team 26 leader Monte Frank, Newark Mayor Polly Sierer, and University of Delaware students will be among the speakers. Markell and Sierer, several state legislators, and others from the community will ride with Team 26 from Curtis Mill Park to the 10:30 a.m. rally at the Perkins Student Center.

The ride from Sandy Hook to the Capitol aims to raise awareness of the gun violence epidemic, to support common sense legislation to reduce gun violence, and to honor the 20 children and 6 educators killed at the Sandy Hook School and all victims of gun violence throughout the Nation.

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This year, Team 26 is advocating for universal background checks and supporting grassroots efforts at the state and local level. As America’s bike messengers, they will be delivering a petition to Congress to keep guns off campuses, which currently has more than 36,000 signatures.

The team of 26 cyclists represents the 26 children and teachers killed at the school by a lone gunman armed with a military-style assault rifle. After leaving Delaware, the riders will cycle to Baltimore on their way to Washington, D.C., for a Tuesday rally at the Capitol. Download a full-size poster (pdf).

This is the bike team’s second visit to Delaware in support the work of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence (DeCAGV) and other gun violence prevention groups. Last year, Team 26 rallied at the Hockessin PAL Center.

Additional sponsors are Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.

SCHEDULE for Monday, April 11:

7:30 a.m.        Team 26 leaves West Chester, PA, on the third day of their 4-day, 400-mile ride from Newtown CT to Washington DC.

9:30 a.m.        Team 26 crosses into Delaware from Chadds Ford. Riders will pass through Yorklyn and Hockessin on their way to Newark.

10:00 a.m.      Team 26 arrives at Curtis Mill Park (287 Paper Mill Rd., Newark 19711) to link up with Delaware cyclists, including Governor Jack Markell and Newark Mayor Polly Sierer, to ride the final mile to the Perkins Center (325 Academy St, Newark, DE 19716).

10:30 a.m.      Rally at University of Delaware

Perkins Student Center – 325 Academy Street, Newark, DE

Confirmed speakers:

      • Governor Jack Markell
      • Monte Frank – Team 26
      • Newark Mayor Polly Sierer
      • Eliza Eggleston, U of D student from Newtown CT
      • Brian Fahey, U of D graduate and member
        DeCAGV Advisory Board
      • Dennis Greenhouse, DeCAGV Board Chair

11:00 a.m.      Public meet and greet with members of Team 26

 11:30 a.m.      Team 26 departs for Baltimore for a 4:00 pm rally