October 2018 Gun Safety Update

Dear LWV Members:

      First of all, one of the audience members asking questions at the debate Monday between U.S. Senate candidates was Kandice Code. Kandice tragically lost her four year old son, Eric, to gun violence last year. She asked the candidates to commit to introducing legislation to prevent children's access to guns. While none of the candidates would
commit, at least Senator Donnelly mentioned "with rights come responsibilities", which is the farthest he has ventured into approving any type of gun safety measures.  Kandice is a member of LWV Calumet Area, and is one of the Gun Safety Advocates to the state LWV board. She was prepared, poised, and determined to ask that question at the nationally televised debate, and she did a great job. I watched the debate on C-SPAN, and was thrilled to hear LWV mentioned for providing the timer, our own League member Carol Spreitzer. Great job, Carol!
Interestingly, the LWV-US gun safety group's monthly conference call was about Safe Storage of guns and Child Access Prevention. A speaker from Brady Campaign described national programs that address this issue, including ASK (Asking Saves Kids) and BeSMART, a program of Moms Demand Action. Eight children each day are killed in the U.S. by 'family fire", which is the new term with which they hope to shift public health culture norms, similar to "designated driver" and "secondhand smoke".
The percentage of Americans who think having a gun in their home makes you safer has increased from 34% in 2000 to 70% in 2017. During those years, the NRA's primary demographic for marketing has been women, using the term "home invasion". Statistics show that having a dog, not a gun, is what makes homes safest, and more than 70% of guns purchased for home protection, if ever used, are used by family members in unintentional shootings or suicides.  Safe storage of guns refers to use of trigger locks, storing guns separately from ammunition, using gun safes, and storing guns off site rather than at home.
The membership meeting focusing on gun safety which we were trying to schedule in November, is being postponed until January, in part to
accommodate the speakers.
Following are links to some recent articles about guns, with a warning that the last one is disturbing and heart breaking, whether or
not you are a fan of Mad Magazine and author / illustrator Edward Gorey!

                                                                                                                                             Have a good week, League members-
                                                                                                                                          Bonnie Schaaf, Gun Safety Chair, LWV of LaPorte County

Status of ATF changing its regulations on Bump Stocks, one year after the shooting in Las Vegas:

Lawsuit needed to enforce Freedom of Information Act for exchanges between DOJ and NRA:

A chilling offering from Mad Magazine:

The League of Women Voters’ Position on Gun Safety
At the 1990 Convention of the League of Women Voters of the US, the League took the then rare step of adopting a gun control position. Debate on the Convention floor persuaded members to concur with the statement proposed by the LWV of Illinois, and to urge passage of federal legislation to control the proliferation of handguns and semi-automatic assault weapons in the United States, through letters to all members of Congress.
Since 2004, the League has had many strong concerns over major loopholes in the law, including:
the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which would grant special protection for the gun industry by barring city, county or individual lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dismiss pending cases;
the 2004 expiration of the Assault Weapons Ban;
the Gun Show Loophole,which does not require dealers to run criminal background checks at gun shows;
congressional attempts to repeal District of Columbia gun safety laws because such action interfered with the right of self-government for DC citizens; and
failure of other attempts to control gun violence, including requiring child safety locks on guns.
Now the Indiana Legislature has convened a summer study committee of the Judiciary and Public Policy Committee to study a proposal for "permitless carry," to repeal the permit requirement for carrying an open or concealed loaded weapon in public by anyone, including violent and emotionally unstable people; weapons offenders; and alcohol and drug abusers, with no background checks and no safety training.
At its first meeting on August 22nd, 2017, the committee heard testimony from the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police, the Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police, the Indiana State Police, and the Indiana Sheriff's Association. Their unanimous opposition to the proposal was that it would make their jobs more difficult and decrease public safety.
LWVUS has adopted an extremely strong and clear position statement in favor of reasonable regulation of firearms, including a specific reference to licensing procedures (in bold, below), in our "Position on Gun Control":

  • The  League of Women Voters of the United States believes that the proliferation of handguns and semi-automatic assault weapons in the United States is a major health and safety threat to its citizens.
  •  The League supports strong federal measures to limit the accessibility and regulate the ownership of these weapons by private citizens.
  •  The League supports regulating firearms for consumer safety.
  •  The League supports licensing procedures for gun ownership by private citizens to include a waiting period for background checks, personal identity verification, gun safety education and annual license renewal. The license fee should be adequate to cover the cost of education and  verification.
  •  The League supports a ban on “Saturday night specials,” enforcement of strict penalties for the improper possession of and crimes committed with handguns and assault weapons, and allocation of resources to better regulate and monitor gun dealers."


The League of Women Voters of LaPorte County agrees.

The process in Indiana to obtain a permit to carry a handgun is not burdensome.  Filling out the online application and getting fingerprinted, combined, take about one hour.   Currently, public safety officials deny handgun carry permits to people who have a propensity for violent or emotionally unstable conduct, alcohol and drug abusers, and those who have been convicted of certain weapons offenses.   Repealing the permit requirement would strip public safety officials of this authority, and allow these dangerous people to legally carry loaded handguns in public.  
The repeal of this law will not benefit the citizens of Indiana.  The vast majority of Americans, including gunowners, support laws requiring permits to carry loaded handguns in public.    In fact, thirty seven states already require permits for carrying  handguns in public.
We encourage citizens to contact your legislators on this “permitless carry” proposal.  You can find your legislators at http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/.
For the full schedule of committee meetings, list of committee members, and agenda for the hearings, see: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/committees/judiciary_and_public_policy.
Or call or write to Sen. Bray, Chair of the Joint Judiciary and Public Policy Committee’s Summer Study Committee: 317-232-9400 Email: Senator.Bray@iga.in.gov.
Your very lives may depend on it.

For more information about us, contact us at lwvlaporte@gmail.com.
Our mailing address is PO Box 9234, Michigan City, IN 46361-9234.

The Gun Safety Committee will meet on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at The Nest, 803 Franklin Street.   Please join us for a discussion and to make plans for future activities.

Recommended articles

200,000 children have been shot in the US since 1998:    (Especially note the first footnote explaining how they obtained these stats)

How the students plotted their revolution: