All posts by Jeffrey Lott

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

Sandy Hook Mom Speaks

Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence Shares
Nicole Hockley’s Delaware Speech
from May 8, 2013

Hello. My name is Nicole Hockley. I’m not a political person and have never done any lobbying before. Until recently, my primary role in life was being Mommy to my two sons.

But on 12/14, when my beautiful 6 year old boy, Dylan, was murdered in his first grade classroom alongside 19 of his friends and 6 of his educators, my role in life changed. While I will always remain a Mommy, I am now committed to doing all I can to make sure that no other parent, no other family has to go through what I’m going through, what other parents of Sandy Hook are going through and what nearly 4000 families are currently going through as a result of gun violence just since 12/14. And that death toll continues to increase every day.

I’m grateful that the people of Delaware, through their elected leaders, are taking a stand to make this state safer from gun violence.

This legislation to support background checks that the General Assembly has passed and that the Governor is signing into law today will spare Delaware families unimaginable heartache. And it will save lives without interfering with anyone’s Second Amendment rights.

Will it stop every crime? Of course not. But it will help to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons and those who are dangerously mentally ill. In Delaware, criminals will no longer be able to bypass required background checks simply by purchasing a gun on the Internet or at a gun show, where sometimes no questions are asked. It’s a common sense solution and I applaud Delaware for making this important step forward.

But there is still more that Delaware can do to save lives and protect its people and children.

In Newtown, we learned the brutal truth about the devastation that high capacity magazines can cause. The person who killed my son carried ten – 30 round large capacity magazines … that is 300 rounds. He chose to leave his smaller capacity magazines at home. He chose to have the best kill rate possible by using high capacity magazines, which only exist to deliver as many bullets as possible in the shortest time frame. In approximately 4 minutes, he shot 154 bullets and killed 26 women and children. In an instant, my precious boy was gone.

But in the time it took him to reload in one of the classrooms, Dylan’s classroom, 11 children were able to escape. If the shooter’s magazines had held 10 rounds instead of 30, forcing the shooter to reload at least 6 more times, what opportunities would have been available for someone to disarm him, as we’ve seen in other tragedies. If he had had to reload more often, how many more children might be alive today? Maybe my Dylan would still be alive.

The General Assembly must pass House Bill 58 and limit high capacity magazines in Delaware.

Senate Bill 16, about reporting lost and stolen guns, is a very simple bill and it’s just plain common sense. We know many criminals get their guns by having other people buy them in so-called “straw purchases.” And when the guns are used in a crime and traced back, the purchaser, who obviously doesn’t want to tell the police that he actually bought the gun for a convicted criminal, just tells police that the gun was “lost” or “stolen.” All this bill says it that if you really have your gun lost or stolen, you have to report it so the police can help you get your property back. What law-abiding citizen would be against reporting stolen property to the police? There is no logical reason not to pass Senate Bill 16.

What happened in Newtown can happen anywhere. No community is immune. Any of you could be in my position. That’s why it’s important to make meaningful changes now. Don’t wait until it happens in your community before taking action.

I’m so grateful that Delaware is moving forward to keep its citizens safe and I want to express my thanks to the legislature, the Governor and the people of Delaware. Background checks are such an important and meaningful step forward and I encourage you to keep standing up for what you know is right. I hope the leaders of others states and the politicians in Washington are watching and will follow your lead.

Thank you.

NEW COALITION URGES SUPPORT OF COMMON SENSE GUN LAWS

Dover –The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence (DeCAGV) announced today its support for a package of common sense bills designed to prevent gun violence and increase the safety of all Delawareans. The proposed legislation will:

  • Require Background Checks for Private Firearm Sales (House Bill 35);
  • Require the Reporting of Lost and Stolen Firearms;
  • Ban Possession of a Firearm Within 300 Feet of a School;
  • Ban the Sale, Manufacture, Delivery and Unlawful Possession of Large-Capacity Magazines; and
  • Ban the Manufacture, Sale, Delivery and Unlawful Possession of Military Weapons.

“We are here to focus lawmakers on the fact that public support for these common sense changes in Delaware laws will help keep guns out of the wrong hands and secure the safety of our citizens and communities,” stated retired, long-time State Senator Liane Sorenson (R-Newark). “We are parents, teachers, clergy, grandparents, nurses, friends, and gun owners from all parts of the state and from varying political backgrounds who want to reduce gun violence and prevent mass shootings. And, there is broad and overwhelming support for these common sense changes across Delaware.”

DeCAGV members shared new polling data released this week by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence which shows very strong support for legislation to reduce gun violence. By resounding margins – and regardless of county of residence or political party self-identification — very strong majorities of Delawareans support universal background checks, safe school zones, and tougher reporting requirements for lost and stolen guns, as well as for limits on high-capacity gun magazines, and a ban on new sales of military-style weapons. The polling numbers are clear:

  • Require Background Checks for Private Firearm Sales (House Bill 35): 88-11;
  • Require the Reporting of Lost and Stolen Firearms: 86-12;
  • Ban Possession of a Firearm Within 300 Feet of a School: 75-22;
  • Ban the Sale, Manufacture, Delivery and Unlawful Possession of Large-Capacity Magazines: 64-33; and
  • Ban the Manufacture, Sale, Delivery and Unlawful Possession of Military Weapons: 59-36.

“Expanded background checks (House Bill 35) enjoy nearly universal support in Delaware,” said Lynne Howard, DeCAGV legislative committee member. “94% of Democrats, 82% of Independents, and 85% of Republicans support expanded checks. Support is equally strong in each of Delaware’s three counties. Moreover, geographic and partisan political support is almost as deep for requirements to report lost and stolen guns to end ‘straw purchases.”

Added Elder Tyrone Johnson of Churches Take a Corner in Wilmington, and a founding member of DeCAGV: “People have a right to be free of gun violence and to feel safe in their own communities, their own homes. We must reject the idea that says it’s all or nothing on guns–people can support smart, common sense change to our state’s gun laws and gun ownership, too.”

DeCAGV also called for Delaware’s gun laws to address the problem that military-style guns and gun hardware are readily available for sale. And, to tackle the glaring loopholes closed by HB 35; including the need to keep guns out of the hands of people on a terrorist watch list or with a criminal record, and those with a history of serious mental illness or domestic violence.

For further information on the Delaware polling, visit: http://www.csgv.org/DERelease for the press release andhttp://www.csgv.org/DEPPt for the data.

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The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence’s (DeCAGV) goal is a citizen-led effort to prevent gun violence in Delaware by promoting sensible, common sense gun laws and addressing the root causes of gun violence. DeCAGV is a statewide coalition of parents, teachers, clergy, grandparents, nurses, friends, gun owners, and like-minded groups and institutions. Following in the footsteps of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Brady Campaign, and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, DeCAGV shares the view of most Delawareans that we can support the second amendment and still achieve common sense gun laws. For further information, visit www.decagv.org.

PRESS ADVISORY: Press Event Launching Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence and Delaware Polling Data on Public Support for Proposals

WHO: Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence
General Assembly Members
Special Guests

WHAT: Press Event Launching Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence and Delaware Polling Data on Public Support for Proposals

WHEN: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

WHERE: Senate Hearing Room, Top Floor, Legislative Hall, Dover, DE

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The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence’s (DeCAGV) goal is to prevent gun violence in Delaware by promoting sensible gun laws and addressing the root causes of gun violence. DeCAGV is a statewide coalition of parents, teachers, clergy, grandparents, nurses, friends, gun owners, and like-minded groups and institutions. Together we will forge a large and strong public voice of Delawareans working to reduce gun violence. For further information, visit www.decagv.org.

NEW COALITION URGES SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 35 REQUIRING CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK FOR ALMOST ALL SALES OF FIREARMS

Wilmington, Delaware – The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence (DeCAGV) announced its support today for House Bill 35, a bill which would require criminal background checks for almost all sales of firearms. The bill is scheduled for a hearing before the State House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

The bill, sponsored by nineteen legislators (prime sponsors: Representative Valerie Longhurst and Senator Harris McDowell), is a critical step forward in modernizing Delaware’s gun laws. Delaware has the weakest gun laws in the region. Too many people are dying or being injured due to gun violence, including the recent tragedies on the soccer field in Wilmington, at the New Castle County Courthouse, at Dover’s Whatcoat Apartments, and at law enforcement officers’ homes in Sussex County.

Currently, federally-licensed firearms dealers are required to perform criminal history background checks on firearms purchasers. However, when the sale or transfer of a firearm does not involve a licensed dealer, no background check is required. National estimates suggest that as many as 40% of gun sales occur outside of federally-licensed gun shops where there is no background check; this is a huge loophole which allows criminals, minors and other prohibited persons to purchase guns.

House Bill 35 would require that a criminal history background check be performed in connection with the sale or transfer of all firearms, with limited exceptions. Background checks would be performed by licensed firearms dealers, who are already required to conduct a background check whenever they sell a firearm or when requested by private parties.

Following in the footsteps of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Brady Campaign and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, DeCAGV is working to share the view of many Delawareans that one can support the second amendment and demand sensible gun laws.

DeCAGV will be formally announcing its formation and platform on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 1:15 in Legislative Hall in Dover. Further information to follow.

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The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence’s (DeCAGV) goal is to prevent gun violence in Delaware by promoting sensible gun laws and addressing the root causes of gun violence. DeCAGV is a statewide coalition of parents, teachers, clergy, grandparents, nurses, friends, gun owners, and like-minded groups and institutions. Together we will forge a large and strong public voice of Delawareans working to reduce gun violence. For further information, visit www.decagv.org.

Delaware Lax Gun Regulations: The Brady State Ranking

Compared to neighbor states, Delaware has lax gun laws. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence ranks each state according to the effectiveness of its gun regulations. As shown in the following table, Delaware is at the bottom of the list or neighboring states.

 

State Ranking Criteria: Brady Campaign1
Possible Score: 100 Points
State 100 = Perfect Score
New Jersey 72
New York 622
Maryland 45
Pennsylvania 26
Delaware 13
Virginia 12
1. http://www.bradycampaign.org/stategunlaws/scorecard
2. Rank before New York recently passed major gun legislation. See >>

Because Delaware has so many close by state neighbors it could as an “exporter” of firearms to nearby states, all with tougher gun purchase and use regulations. While Delaware was recently found to be a net importer of guns used in crimes, other states’ new laws may quickly change Delaware to a net exporter.

TheWashington Postseries, “The Hidden Lives of Guns,” is an excellent source of information on how guns are bought, moved across state lines and overall “maneuvered” to avoid local laws. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/nation/guns/ with the interactive map on how guns move across state lines.

To examine the ranking elements important to the Brady Campaign in their state analysis, the following highlights issues and regulations that The Brady Campaign deems important

State Ranking Criteria: Brady Campaign
Possible Score: 100 Points

1. Curb Firearm Trafficking (Maximum 35 Points)

A. Gun Dealer Regulations (Maximum 12 Points)

B. Limit Bulk Purchases (Maximum 5 Points)

C. Record Retention (Maximum 5 Points)

D. Crime Gun Identification (Maximum 10 Points)

E. Report Lost/Stolen Guns

2. Strengthen Brady Background Checks (Maximum 40 Points)

A. Background checks on all gun sales

B. Permit to Purchase (Maximum 21 Points)

C. Ammunition Regulations (Maximum 2 Points)

D. Ban Assault Weapons (Maximum 10 Points)

E. Large Capacity Magazine Ban (Maximum 5 Points)

3. Child Safety (Maximum 7 Points)

A. Child Safety Locks (Maximum 5 Points)

4. Guns in Public Places and Local Control (Maximum 8 Points)

A. No Guns in Workplace

B. No Guns on College Campuses

C. Not A CCW Shall Issue State

D. No State Preemption

Pew Research Survey: Gun Regulations Support v. Gun Lobby Intensity

In mid-January, 2013, The Pew Research Center released new survey data on the “Gun Control Debate.” The complete results of the survey and the Pew analysis can be seen at: http://www.people-press.org/2013/01/14/in-gun-control-debate-several-options-draw-majority-support/

Following are their key Pew charts and tables with some summary comments. The data makes the point that while the majority of US citizens support more sensible gun regulation measures; this “majority view” is offset by the intensity and activism of the “gun rights” group.

The data reinforces the need of the “majority view” group to build grass-roots, broad-based, strong coalition of people that are informed, vocal and politically active. Over time, the “majority view” for sensible gun regulations will develop the momentum and activism of the “gun rights” group to influence US gun policy in a positive way.

This will be a long-term effort and is a foundational strategy of DeCAGV.

Survey Results Summary

policy_graph1Pew Research Center Survey for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 9-13 among 1,502 adults. Released:January 14, 2011

Highlights of the chart to the right:

  • 85% of respondents favored background checks for private gun shows.
  • 80% support laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns.
  • There are comparable survey results from republicans, democrats and independents for questions related to items 1 and 2.
  • Two thirds of those surveyed favor a federal data base to track gun sales.
  • 58% of respondents favor a ban on “semi-automatic” weapons; 55% on “assault” type weapons. This response indicates confusion over the definition of weapon type; assault, semi-automatic; automatic.
  • 57% oppose officials with guns in schools.

Gun Control Opinion, Historical Data Tracking:

  1. policy_graph2Pew historical data is shown below, from 2007. Pew has similar data trend back to 1993.
  2. Overall, not much change in respondents views about gun control and “gun rights” shortly after Newtown.
  3. In fact, there is little change in gun control views going back to 1993 surveys.

Data shows that today, more people want to protect American’s right to own guns than in 2007.

Activism Gap Favors Gun Advocates

  1. Those favoring “gun rights” are energized to gives money to likeminded groups and politicians.
  2. Similarly, “gun rights” people and groups are more politically active than gun control.
  3. policy_graph3Summary: Gun rights advocates are more intense and active on gun issues and policy than the gun control group. They are more politically active.

Conclusion: Intensity of gun rights advocates can offset favorable broad public support (“majority view”) or gun control advocates.