Progressives (3/1/2019)

Next Meeting of the Oakmont Progressives:
When – Monday, March 11 – 6:30 Wine & Cheese Social, 7:00 PM Talk
Where – West Rec Center

Topic – State of Gun Regulations in California and the nation

We just passed the anniversary of the largest mass school shooting in U.S. History, on Feb. 14. A few months before that, we witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in our history at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, where a man from Mesquite, Nevada fired more than 1,100 rounds from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, killing 58 people and leaving 851 injured – over 400 of them by gunfire and hundreds more in the ensuing panic. In both instances, many elected leaders sent their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families. But has anything else been done? What is the state of gun regulations in California, and in the country? What can be done, without violating Americans rights granted by the Second Amendment?

On Monday, March 11, at the West Rec Center, the Oakmont Progressives will meet to learn and discuss these issues. Griffin Dix, co-Chair of the Oakland/Alameda County chapter of the Brady Campaign, will outline the current state of gun regulations in California and in the Nation, and present several reasonable changes which a broad coalition of groups concerned with gun violence have proposed.

In 1994 Griffin’s fifteen-year-old son, Kenzo, was killed in an unintentional shooting while at a friend’s house. Griffin was a plaintiff in the Dix v. Beretta lawsuit brought by the Brady Campaign’s Legal Action Project. The suit was the first to argue that a gun is defective for failing to include an internal lock and a prominent chamber loaded indicator. The lawsuit helped persuade many gun manufacturers to design guns with built-in locks.

Griffin served as Chairman of the Brady Campaign’s Million Mom March National

State Presidents Council and the chapter-elected member of the Brady Campaign Board of Trustees from 2006 through 2008. Since then he has been Co-Chair of the Oakland/Alameda County Brady Chapter working with other activists to pass many California firearm regulations, including laws establishing semiautomatic handgun product safety standards. He published a series of op-eds in the San Francisco Chronicle and other newspapers. He is writing a memoir about the loss of his son, his lawsuit against Beretta USA and his work with violence prevention organizations to pass many California gun laws. These laws have helped reduce California’s firearm mortality rate much more than the reduction in the rest of the nation.

Two incidents in 1996 indicate that Americans do not have to take such horrible events for granted and respond only by organizing “active shooter” drills in our schools.

After a shooter killed 35 and wounded 23 in Port Arthur, Australia, Australia enacted strict gun registration and regulations. In 206, the last year for which data are available, Australia had 238 gun deaths (of which 183 were suicides). The United States had 38, 658.

In Scotland, a man went to Dunblane Primary School near Stirling, and used four legally owned handguns to kill 16 children and one teacher before killing himself. Based on investigations into the shootings and the Cullen Reports, Scotland and the UK enacted strict gun registration laws (which include ammunition). Since those laws were enacted, there have been no school shootings in the UK. Most schools in the UK do not do “active shooter” drills.

On February 11, over 50 people came to the West Rec Center to hear Keyan Bliss, from the national group Move to Amend, explain the 100 year history of court decisions that the rights of individual human beings to corporations, including Citizens United which deemed political contributions to be “free speech” and allowed virtually unlimited corporate money in American Political campaigns. He then outlined the constitutional amendment which the group is promoting nationwide, which would remove corporate personhood from the constitution and eliminate the notion that contributions are free speech. Almost everyone stayed for the Q&A and discussion, and a number of Oakmonters signed up to help the Move To Amend local chapter . Move to Amend is a nationwide coalition of over 460,000 people and hundreds of organizations working to pass the amendment, and the local chapter is sponsoring an event in March for Sonoma County people.

Move to Amend local chapter will hear the National Director, Kaitlin Sopoci Belknap explain the amendment and the benefits it will offer on many related issues like affordable health care, food labeling, worker rights, and conservation of the environment. The event will be held on Tuesday, March 12, 5 – 7 PM at Russian

River Vineyards (5700 Hwy. 116n., Forestville, CA 95436) The event is free and open to the public — RSVP to Jan Weiner, weinziv@gmail.com.

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