NCGV Statement on July 17th Police Killings in Baton Rouge

A mere two weeks after the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile shocked the American public, and less than a week after the memorial service for five police officers slain by a sniper in Dallas, Baton Rouge is mourning the deaths of three officers at the hands of a lone civilian gunman. Early in the morning on July 17th, officers responded to reports of an armed man at a shopping center. The man opened fire, killing three officers and wounding three more before he was killed.

North Carolinians Against Gun Violence condemns this latest shooting in the strongest terms possible. While the motivations of the gunman are still unknown, one thing is clear: this unspeakable violence is fueled by a culture in which guns are easy to obtain and the taking of human life has become a normalized solution to conflict. We stand with the family members and colleagues of the slain officers, and with those who were wounded and survived.

In his remarks about the shooting, President Barack Obama reminded the American people that we must not allow ourselves to be divided by the cycle of violence: “five days ago, I traveled to Dallas for the memorial service of the officers who were slain there. I said that that killer would not be the last person who tries to make us turn on each other. Nor will today’s killer. It remains up to us to make sure that they fail. That decision is all of ours. The decision to make sure that our best selves are reflected across America, not our worst -- that’s up to us.”

 

Add your reaction Share

3 Tips for Preventing Suicide Among Veterans

In 2012, the Veterans Affairs Department estimated that 22 veterans die each day due to suicide. While some groups questioned the accuracy of the number, especially because four states were not included in the calculations, it is a fact that there is a high rate of suicide among veterans. So much so, in fact, that the VA is bringing in mental health experts, advocates, and affected families to create an action plan to reduce suicide among veterans. While the VA works on its plan, there are some steps families and loved ones of veterans can take now to help prevent suicide among veterans.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Baton Rouge. Falcon Heights. Dallas.

Americans have been in horror and shock as images of police killing two black men went viral on social media, and later when a sniper opened fire during a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas, killing five police officers and leaving seven more officers and two civilians wounded. Now another lone gunman has claimed the lives of three more officers in Baton Rouge.

We at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence decry the cycle of gun violence in America. The police killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile outside St. Paul are abhorrent examples of the routinized use of violent, deadly force with guns as a first rather than last resort. The Dallas sniper shootings and the Baton Rouge police killings make plain what sort of tragedies are possible when easy access to deadly weapons combines with fury and hatred.

We value law enforcement as allies in working to keep communities safe. Law enforcement officers are understandably concerned about the number of guns on our streets and their increased firepower. The escalation of the civilian arms race—with more and more people carrying more and more high-powered guns—is indeed alarming and dangerous, but that can never be an excuse to violate the rights of the civilians they are vowed to protect or to justify disproportionate force.

We mourn with the families, friends and colleagues of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the  officers gunned down in Dallas and now, Baton Rouge. We pledge to them that our determination to end the daily gun slaughter on our streets is only strengthened. Let us resolve that these horrific losses of life will not be in vain, but will inspire us to come together and end the arms race that is disproportionately killing Black Americans and turning peaceful protests, nightclubs, churches and schools into sites of tragedy.

 

 

Share

5 Dead; 9 Wounded in Horrific Dallas Shooting - This Must Stop!

Once again--this time during a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas--we witness the appalling toll of gun violence. When easy access to deadly weapons combines with hate and fear, tragedies occur.

With the rest of the nation, we mourn the loss of five police officers gunned down in the line of duty and the senseless shooting of seven more officers and two civilians whose lives will he forever altered. Our hearts go out to their families, friends and colleagues, and we pledge to them that our resolve to end the daily gun slaughter on our streets is only strengthened.

Gun violence, which claims more than 30 Americans each day in homicides, is impacting an ever higher number of our nation’s law enforcement officers each year, yet certain members of Congress fail to act - leaving sensible bills unaddressed.

Let us resolve that the loss of these brave officers will not be in vain, but will inspire us to come together and end the arms race that is turning peaceful marches, nightclubs, churches and schools into killing fields.

Add your reaction Share

#AltonSterling and #PhilandoCastile

We as a gun violence prevention organization decry the cycle of gun violence in America, with African American communities too often bearing the brunt. The police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge – followed by the shooting of Philando Castile outside St. Paul – are abhorrent examples of the routinized use of violent, deadly force with guns as a first rather than last resort.

It is important to note that we value law enforcement as allies in working to keep communities safe. They are understandably concerned about the number of guns on our streets and their increased firepower. The escalation of the civilian arms race—with more and more people carrying more and more high-powered guns—is indeed alarming and dangerous, but that can never be an excuse to violate the rights of the civilians they are vowed to protect or to justify disproportionate force.

The arms race on our streets is making our communities more dangerous – not safer – and it is past time to end political posturing and come together to discuss and rationally address all forms of gun violence and its many causes.

Add your reaction Share

NC Senators Vote Against Gun Background Checks, Keeping Terrorists from Buying Guns

            On Monday, June 20, North Carolina’s two senators cast votes to help kill two amendments to reduce the dangers of gun violence.  Both Richard Burr and Thom Tillis voted against universal background checks for gun purchases and a measure to strictly limit guns sales to known terrorists.

            “These were votes to keep the unacceptable status quo of gun laws,” said Becky Ceartas, director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence [NCGV].  “It’s shocking that these harmful votes were cast in the wake of the worst mass shooting of our history in Orlando and, adding to the outrage, they came almost one year to the day since of the killings in the Charleston church.”

            “In casting these votes, our senators showed their true colors.  They chose not to put safety of our families first, pushing that aside to demonstrate their loyalty to the gun lobby,” Ceartas said.  She pointed out that the National Rifle Association has given Sen. Thom Tillis $4,418,012 and contributed $805,219 to Sen. Richard Burr.

            “Action must be taken.  It’s now up to Speaker Paul Ryan and the U.S. House of Representatives to vote on similar amendments for background checks and bans on terrorists seeking to buy guns.”

            The House is scheduled to take a Fourth of July break at the end of this week.  Ceartas called for Rep. Ryan “to do the right thing and have the House vote on these life-saving measures.  The representatives want to go home and see families and work their districts over the Fourth, but now of all times, votes on these life-or-death measures must be a first priority.”

            Four proposed gun measures were voted down Monday along party lines for the most part.  Sen. Christopher Murphy offered the proposal on background checks, and Sen. Diane Feinstein sponsored the amendment curtailing gun sales to known terrorists.  The other two amendments were one by Sen. Charles Grassley to allow certain psychiatric patients to buy guns on the day they are released from mental institutions; it also would allow military veterans suffering from mental illnesses to buy guns.  And Sen. Jon Cornyn’s proposal was to allow a suspected terrorist to buy guns unless the U.S. Attorney General could prove in court that the person had committed, or was about to commit, an act of terrorism. In addition, the gun applicant would have had the right to contest the evidence against him in court.  The amendment would have required these things to be done within five business days.

            Senators Burr and Tillis voted for the Grassley and Cornyn amendments. “Their votes,” said Ceartas, “were a sad attempt to try and fool the American public into believing they were doing something about gun violence.  They weren’t.  They acted in bad faith and we will not let this stand.”

 

 

Add your reaction Share

NCGV's Statement on Pulse Night Club Mass Shooting

North Carolinians Against Gun Violence and the 30 other affiliate organizations of 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 grief and mourning.

“I was devastated to wake up to this news,” Becky Ceartas, Executive Director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, said. “The sheer scale of this atrocity demonstrates what can happen when assault style weapons are legal. We need our leaders to act to ensure that something like this never happens again.”

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.

#####

 

Read more
Add your reaction Share

I’ve been threatened by students over grades before. Guns on campus will only make it worse

A couple of years ago lawmakers in the General Assembly tried to allow guns on campus in NC but a strong coalition came together to oppose it and courageous lawmakers stood up to the gun lobby to stop it.

“On Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, a task force at the University of Texas at Austin recommended restricting guns  in residence halls, at sporting events, and in certain laboratories, but allowed them in classrooms.”

http://goo.gl/dU191h

Add your reaction Share

Stand Up Sabbath - June 17-19

The one year anniversary of the mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston is next week. http://goo.gl/ywnjua

Here in NC, NCGV is working in coalition with the NC Council of Churches and other organizations to promote the Stand Up Sabbath weekend on the anniversary of this tragic shooting, June 17-19.

We are encouraging congregations to do things from putting a bulletin insert in their bulletins to saying a prayer commemorating this tragedy and all lives that are lost to gun violence to incorporating these messages into the sermon. This webpage has lots of resources including a bulletin insert - http://www.ncchurches.org/gun-violence-prevention/

Please let us know if you can participate and/or if you have any questions – ncgv@ncgv.org

 

Add your reaction Share

Crucial Conversations Luncheon

Monday's Crucial Conversation Luncheon put on by NC Policy Watch was focused on gun violence prevention and the upcoming anniversary of the Charleston massacre.

NC State Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr. spoke about the need for rational, logical gun violence prevention reforms. He recounted his own story of having to fight for his life and to save his arm from a bullet that was fired at him. He reminded us that we shouldn’t forget the 75,000 people who are shot and survive.

Rev. Middleton pastors the Mount Zion AME Church in Charleston, SC, a sister church to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that stands just a few blocks away. He was a close personal friend of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was murdered at Emanuel last June. He spoke about the number of mass shootings that have taken the news headlines. In SC, they had a Stand Up Sunday where congregations throughout the state united in the spirit of morality. “A tragedy like this can happen to any of us anywhere. Therefore, we must begin to do something. “

Rev. Dr. Jennifer Copeland is the Executive Director of the North Carolina Council of Churches. She spoke about the upcoming Stand Up Sabbath the weekend of June 17-19 that commemorates the Charleston massacre and all that are killed and injured by gun violence. She reminded us that the prophet Isaiah turned a weapon of death into a flourishing a peace.

To find out more about the Stand Up Sabbath, go to http://www.ncchurches.org/gun-violence-prevention/

Add your reaction Share