All posts by Jeffrey Lott

Jeffrey Lott is director of communications for the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence.

Team 26 Returns to Delaware on Monday

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

3893563_orig

“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.

IMG_2774

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.

2016-04-11_Team26_Poster-small

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

Take Our Survey

 

Blue_Poles_(Jackson_Pollock_painting)
Blue Poles by Jackson Pollock (1952). National Gallery of Australia

Effective communication is an essential tool for any organization with an important message—and DeCAGV has asked a communications class at the University of Delaware to study our electronic media. 

Please complete this 10-15 minute survey about our communication strategy. As a visitor on our website, we value your input and will be using the data to better our communication on digital platforms. We ask that you complete the survey by March 20, 2016.

Thank you.

“No Background Check—No Gun”

CLOSE THE BACKGROUND CHECK LOOPHOLE

The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence (DeCAGV) supports Rep. Valerie Longhurst’s campaign close a serious loophole that allows some gun purchases to proceed without a completed background check. Firearm sales by federally licensed dealers require every purchaser to be vetted by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). But current law suspends this requirement and allows gun sales to proceed when the NICS check is not completed within three business days.

 

Longhurst_Valerie
Rep. Valerie Longhurst, Majority Leader

Rep. Longhurst’s letter to Delaware’s congressional delegation describes this loophole, which can result in “potentially dangerous individuals ‘legally’ purchasing guns on a technicality.’” Longhurst plans introduce legislation to address the issue at the state level.

George Higgins, executive director of DeCAGV, agrees with Longhurst’s analysis of the problem. “Unfortunately,” Higgins says, “we can’t count on Congress to protect our communities from individuals who can still buy guns without a proper background check. If we’re going to vet all gun sales, that has to mean every sale—without exception.”

Longhurst’s letter states: “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 – no background check, no gun.”

“That’s our position,” Higgins says. “No background check, no gun. We’d like to see Delaware take the lead on this issue. Delaware passed universal background checks—including sales at gun shows—in 2013, but the ‘delayed transaction’ loophole is an unacceptable gap in that system.”

“We have no argument with the Second Amendment,” says Higgins. “But most Americans, including gun owners, also favor strict regulation of gun purchases. A leak-proof system of background checks—that’s just common sense.”

CDC Report Featured at Culture of Peace Forum

WITN Video Captures Culture of Peace Forum

Landgraf
Secretary Rita Landgraf at the Jan. 9 Movement for a Culture of Peace forum.

A report on gun violence in Wilmington by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was the subject of an educational forum sponsored by the Movement for a Culture of Peace (MCP) on Jan. 9.

A video of the forum was recently posted on Wilmington’s WITN Channel 22.  The full CDC report can be downloaded here: cdcfinalreport.pdf.

The forum focused on the CDC report and on another report that addresses law enforcement’s response to the high murder rate in Wilmington.

DeCAGV is a founding partner of MCP.

Panelists included Secretary Rita Landgraf of the Department of Human and Social Services and two state legislators from Wilmington: Sen. Margaret Rose Henry and Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden.

The legislators emphasized that the City of Wilmington needs to adopt the recommendations of the Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission, which studied the role of law enforcement in combating violence that has plagued Delaware’s largest city for the past decade.

Landgraf gave details of a recent report by the CDC that traced a series of underlying events and factors in the lives of children and youth that are predictive of the later commission of gun crimes.

She advocated for earlier intervention in the lives of young men in areas such as employment, health care, education, and social services to prevent these crimes.

 

 

Firearm Carnage Approaches Motor Vehicle Deaths

Gun Deaths Surpass Motor Vehicle Deaths in
21 States and the District of Columbia

Graph_Vehicles_Guns
CLICK TO ENLARGE

A study conducted by the Violence Policy Center shows that annual firearm fatalities in the United States are fast approaching motor vehicle deaths. The study finds  finds there were more gun deaths than motor vehicle deaths in 21 states and the District of Columbia in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.

Gun deaths outpaced motor vehicle deaths in 21 states and the District of Columbia in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, a new analysis from the Violence Policy Center (VPC) finds.

This is the fifth edition of the VPC report comparing gun deaths to motor vehicle deaths by state. The number of states where gun deaths exceed motor vehicle deaths has increased from just 10 states in 2009 — the first year of data analyzed by the VPC — to 21 states in 2014.

In 2014, there were more gun deaths than motor vehicle deaths in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia, the analysis finds.

In 2014, Delaware had 127 motor vehicle deaths for a rate of 13.57 per 100,000, and 102 firearm deaths for a rate of 10.90 per 100,000.

“Science-based regulations have dramatically reduced deaths from motor vehicles in recent decades. It’s well past time that we regulate firearms for health and safety just like all other consumer products.”

Data is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Gun deaths include gun suicides, homicides, and fatal unintentional shootings; motor vehicle deaths include both occupants and pedestrians.

“Firearms are the only consumer product the federal government does not regulate for health and safety,” states VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand. “Meanwhile, science-based regulations have dramatically reduced deaths from motor vehicles in recent decades. It’s well past time that we regulate firearms for health and safety just like all other consumer products.”

Nine out of ten American households have access to a motor vehicle while fewer than a third of American households have a gun. Yet nationwide in 2014, there were 33,599 gun deaths compared to 35,647 motor vehicle deaths.

The Violence Policy Center (www.vpc.org) is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the Violence Policy Center on Facebook and follow @VPCinfo on Twitter. The full report can be viewed here (pdf).

We Support President Obama’s Actions to Prevent Gun Violence

Executive Action Needed Because Congress Fails to Address the Problem

Delaware Coaltition Against Gun Violence Commends President Obama on His Executive Actions to Prevent Gun Violence

January 5, 2016

The Delaware Coaltition Against Gun Violence joins the undersigned State Affiliates of States United to Prevent Gun Violence commend President Obama for his brave leadership and for remaining steadfast in his commitment to reducing gun violence.  The Executive Action measures detailed in the “FACT SHEET: New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer” are broad and cover a wide range of key points including expanding background checks by:

  • clarifying which gun sellers must register as licensed gun dealers and thus perform background checks to help keep guns out of dangerous hands;
  • making communities safer by increasing ATF action and work on keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers
  • providing more funds for improving mental health treatment as well as making sure that appropriate mental health records are submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Polling shows that 90% of all Americans, including the majority of gun owners, want background checks on all gun sales.  It is unconscionable that the Congress has failed to act on this one important measure.  We applaud the President for putting the safety of Americans above the will of special interest groups. The people have spoken and the President has done what he can to deliver. The Delaware Coaltition Against Gun Violence and similar organizations in other states are committed to making sure such executive actions are implemented and are proud of our President for taking these actions.

States United to Prevent Gun Violence

Arizonans for Gun Safety
Women Against Gun Violence CA
Colorado Ceasefire Capitol Fund
Connecticut Against Gun Violence Ed Fund
Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence
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 MA
Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
Protect Minnesota
Nebraskans Against Gun Violence
New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Ed Fund
North Carolinians Against Gun Violence Ed Fund
Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence
Oklahoma Gun Sense
Ceasefire Oregon
Ceasefire Pennsylvania
Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence
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 is a non-profit organization dedicated to making our families and communities safer. We are the only national state-led gun violence prevention group. Our mission is to support 30 state affiliates and to nurture new state organizations.

The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence is a statewide coalition of parents, teachers, clergy, grandparents, doctors, nurses, friends, gun owners, and like-minded groups and individuals is united to help safeguard our citizens and communities, address the root causes of gun violence, and promote sensible laws that help prevent gun violence in our homes and communities.

Together we are forging a strong public voice for to address and prevent gun violence.

Contact: info@decagv.org

Governor Markell Signs Commonsense Gun Law

 

Will Protect Victims of Domestic Violence

 

Courtesy of Americans for Responsible Solutions
Courtesy of Americans for Responsible Solutions

October 2, 2015 – Dozens of advocates for domestic violence prevention and sensible gun regulation applauded today Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s signed a bipartisan bill that addresses gaps in Delaware law to help protect domestic violence victims from abusers with access to firearms.

“Today is a victory for common sense and a victory for safer communities,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), ARS partnered with the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence (DeCAGV) and the state’s Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCADV) to pass SB-83 with bipartisan majorities in both houses of the Delaware General Assembly.

“In the face of calls from Delaware’s domestic violence survivors and public safety officials, Republicans and Democrats came together to pass a law that helps keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and protect vulnerable people and their families,” said Giffords. “And with Governor Markell’s signature now affixed to this bipartisan proposal, Delaware will be a safer place to live.”

The bill’s sponsors, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington) and Rep. Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear), participated in the signing ceremony. Attorney General Matt Denn also supported SB-83.

DeCAGV_sm_logoLiane Sorenson, chair of DeCAGV’s Educational Fund and former Republican state senator praised the legislation. “I’ve been working on protecting Delaware’s domestic violence survivors for 23 years, and I was on the Delaware Domestic Violence Coordinating Council during my career as a legislator. We are still fighting these battles today and this commonsense law will make a difference, and it will save lives. Today is yet another sign that Republicans and Democrats can come together around responsible solutions that help limit domestic abusers’ access to guns and protect vulnerable people and families,” said .

The bill, which goes into effect on January 1, 2017, and was co-sponsored by Democratic and Republican legislators, will protect victims of domestic violence and dating violence by helping prevent domestic abusers’ access to guns, without affecting the Second Amendment rights of law abiding people. The law will:

  1. Prevent individuals convicted of dating partner violence within the past five years from buying or owning guns. Under current Delaware law, when a dating abuser or a former cohabitant is convicted in a court of law beyond reasonable doubt of “misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence” he or she is permitted to purchase or possess a gun. This poses a serious danger to the victim and his or her family. This legislation will prohibit abusers who have been convicted for a misdemeanor crime of a domestic violence when the victim was a substantive dating partner or when the criminal offense happened within 3 years from when the relationship ended from owning or possessing guns for 5 years.

  1. Protect victims who have fled their homes from their abuser. Current Delaware law only prohibits gun possession by a person convicted of victimizing a cohabitant if they were living together at the time of the crime. This means that an abuser does not lose his or her gun eligibility if he or she is convicted for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence after the victim fled the home. This legislation would ensure convicted abusers are prohibited from possessing firearms for five years when the criminal offense happened within 3 years from when the victim fled the home.

  1. Help enforce existing law by requiring that people subject to a Protection From Abuse order, who have been instructed to surrender their firearms, identify to the court how they have done so. The bill would also help ensure that guns are surrendered pursuant to a PFA order by clarifying that the abuser must turn over these weapons immediately upon the request of a law enforcement officer or, if no request is made, within 24 hours at a staffed police station.

Congresswoman Giffords visited the Delaware State Capitol in May and called on lawmakers to pass SB 83 and help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. A survey of registered Delaware voters conducted on behalf of Americans for Responsible Solutions found that a broad majority of Delawareans – including gun owners – support the bill’s key elements. Click here to read a summary of the research’s findings.

Fifty percent of fatal and near-fatal domestic violence incidents in Delaware involve a gun.

Between 1996 and 2013, guns in Delaware were used in 40 homicides of intimate partners, and in 13 homicides of other people in domestic violence incidents (family members, children, and bystanders killed in these shootings). Guns were also used in 17 domestic violence-related suicides.

Nationally, women in the U.S. are 11 times likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other developed countries, and more than half of all murders of America’s women are committed with a gun. Abused women are also five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that individual has access to a firearm.

Governor Markell’s signing of the bill into law adds Delaware to a long list of states that have enacted bipartisan legislation addressing the lethal links between gun violence and domestic abuse. As of July 2015, bills addressing the nexus of domestic abuse and gun violence have passed or been introduced in 23 state legislatures. In 2014 alone, large bipartisan majorities in six states – Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Washington – passed new laws to better protect victims of domestic violence.

 

 

Markell to sign SB-83 today at YWCA

On Friday, October 2, Delaware Governor Jack Markell will sign SB-83, a bill that extends protection from gun violence in dangerous domestic abuse situations. The bill passed the General Assembly in June after an extensive campaign by a coalition of domestic violence groups and advocates of sensible gun laws.

The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence (DeCAGV) was instrumental in this campaign. We marshaled allies across the state and nation, including numerous local groups and national organizations such as States United to Prevent Gun Violence, Americans for Responsible Solutions, and the Center for American Progress.

DeCAGV does not take credit for this legislation. We acknowledge that voters across Delaware saw its merit and urged their legislators to support it. Our contribution to its success was in connecting advocates for women (the principal victims of domestic violence) with those who seek a sensible, practical approach to stemming the epidemic of gun injuries and deaths plaguing Delaware and the nation.

At a senate hearing on SB-83 in early June, more than 25 witnesses testified in favor of the common-sense bill. The law will

  • Prohibit gun possession by a person convicted of misdemeanor dating-partner violence within the past 3 years
  • Prohibit gun possession by any person convicted of a violent misdemeanor against a former cohabitant (who lived with the perpetrator) during the past 3 years
  • Ensure that domestic abusers ordered to surrender their guns to a police agency or to a federally licensed gun dealer. Subjects will also be required to identify to the court that they have surrendered their firearms
  • Prohibit gun purchases by an abuser while he or she is subject to an emergency Protection From Abuse orde
  • Prohibit gun purchases by an abuser while he or she is subject to an emergency Protection From Abuse order

DeCAGV thanks leaders in both the Delaware Senate and House for sponsoring and supporting this bill, which will become effective on January 1, 2017.  The primary sponsor in the senate was Sen, Margaret Rose Henry; in the House it was Rep. Valerie Longhurst.

The bill will be signed during a ceremony at 10:00 a.m. at the YWCA Home Life Management Center—which provides long-term shelter and services fro victims of domestic abuse.

 

 

SB 83 Passes Senate

ap-gun-violence-prayer-vigil-4_3_r536_c534

DELAWARE EXTENDS
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTIONS

Senate Bill 83 has passed the Delaware State Senate yesterday on a bipartisan vote of 15 to 6.

The adopted bill — a substitute measure introduced by its prime sponsor, Senator Margaret Rose Henry — will extend the protections afforded under Delaware’s domestic violence laws to victims of dating partner violence and to victims who have fled their homes to escape an abuser.

It will also ensure that abusers surrender their guns when a Protection from Abuse order is in effect.

The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence (DeCAGV) was instrumental in proposing and passing this important new legislation. Working with Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and the Center for American Progress, supporters of DeCAGV have added this legislative victory to their previous successes: Delaware’s universal background checks for gun purchases and its requirement to report lost or stolen firearms — both passed in 2013.

SB 83 has not yet been scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives, but Gov. Jack Markell has indicated that he will sign it when it reaches his desk.

Help us continue our campaign for common sense gun laws that protect families and communities with your financial support for DeCAGV. Click here to make a contribution.

Sorenson
DeCAGV Board Chair Liane Sorenson

“We worked hard to convince members of the Senate that the safety of domestic abuse victims — almost all of whom are women — came first,” said former Republican Senator Liane Sorenson of Yorklyn, chair of the DeCAGV Educational Fund board of directors. “We were not surprised that 15 of 21 senators voted with us. It’s good to see that domestic violence remains a bipartisan issue.”

We thank you, our thousands of supporters, for your postcards, calls, and emails to members of the General Assembly.

Donate-Button

 

Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence
safeguard our citizens and communities

“This Bill Is Worth Passing”

TODAY’S EDITORIAL in the Wilmington News-Journal endorsed SB 83, a bill that will protect domestic abuse victims from gun violence.
EMAIL YOUR STATE SENATOR to urge a vote in favor of this common sense legislation.

READ: Stopping Gun Violence in the Home

The old Hollywood and tabloid newspaper term “crime of passion” may seem quaintly out of date. But there is nothing quaint about passions so out of control that they lead to violence. And, unfortunately, domestic violence is far from out of date.

All too often newspaper headlines tell the news of current and former spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners and even casual acquaintances killing or seriously injuring the person who has been the object of their hatred. It is, of course, a disgrace. However, the victims of abuse and the rest of society are beginning to fight back.

More must be done. One of the commonsense answers is to disarm the aggressors in domestic violence incidents.

More must be done. One of the commonsense answers is to disarm the aggressors in domestic violence incidents. There is a reason courts issue protection orders. Society has come to believe that the person being protected is under a threat.

Already the police, in assessing a violence threat, ask a victim if the partner or ex-partner threatened the victim with a gun. If the answer is yes, the threat is considered real. Courts will intervene after a hearing that protects the rights of all parties. The courts will demand the surrender of a weapon. However, there are lapses in when and how quickly it is done. The procedures for turning in the weapon also need to be codified.

Senate Bill 83, now coming before the Delaware General Assembly, would close these loopholes.

Senate Bill 83, now coming before the Delaware General Assembly, would close these loopholes. The person who threatened a partner now will have to hand over the gun to authorities and show proof that he or she did it. The firearm would be out of the individual’s control during the life of the protection order. The victim, on proving the immediacy of a threat, could get protection.

The bill would expand the legal definition of the term “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to more readily reflect the realities of modern life. The term would now include substantive dating relationships and people who have cohabited at the time of the offense or within 5 years prior to the offense.

The bill also would prohibit an abuser from possessing a firearm or buying one while he or she is subject to an emergency Protection From Abuse order.

Too many incidents are fueled by rage or substance abuse. Why allow someone out of control to have easy access to a firearm?

Of course, the bill will not be able to work miracles. It will not be able to stop all such crimes, all out-of-control actions. No bill could do that. But it will make it harder, less convenient for some rampaging abuser to grab a firearm and use it. How many lives would such a bill save? Many? A few? One? Even if it is just one, the bill is worth passing.

As former State Sen. Liane Sorenson wrote, “Keeping guns away from people who are guilty of domestic abuse makes common sense. It won’t affect our Second Amendment rights, but it will help make our families and communities safer.”

EMAIL YOUR STATE SENATOR to urge him or her to vote in favor of this common sense legislation.