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Prevention Institute E-Alert: November 17, 2015

Proposal Puts Gun Safety Decisions in the Hands of the People, Offers Chance to Change Norms of Inaction, Resignation about Guns

In an op-ed published today in the Sacramento Bee, PI’s Larry Cohen voices strong support for a state ballot measure that would put gun safety decisions in the hands of the people, and subvert the tight hold that the National Rifle Association has on legislators. The measure, proposed last month by California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, would make California the first state in the nation to implement point-of-sale background checks for ammunition purchases. It would also require gun owners to get rid of their large-capacity magazines, and report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement. Larry writes: 

Year after year, Americans are horrified by the relentless gun violence we experience in this country—and feel despair that it can’t be stopped. This national sense of resignation is a direct result of the stranglehold the National Rifle Association (NRA) has on legislators, who fear the dire political ramifications of supporting common-sense gun safety measures. It’s long past time to take the issue directly to the people, and change the norms of inaction and resignation about gun safety in the U.S.

The status quo is unacceptable—and the people know it. The public overwhelmingly supports common-sense gun safety measures, with 92% favoring background checks for all gun sales, and 79% saying ammunition buyers should provide thumbprints and identification. Even among the rank and file of the NRA, measures like universal background checks (75% in favor) and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines (70% in favor) attract strong support.

On average, 89 people die in the US every day from gun violence, including preschoolers, gun owners, victims of domestic violence, and bystanders in communities racked by gun violence. Contrary to gun industry spin, owning a gun doesn’t make a person safer. Gun owners are 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than non-gun owners.

Newsom’s proposal gives Californians another opportunity to lead the nation on fundamental issues of health and safety. It’s time to change the norms around gun safety in this country, and give the public a voice.

Read the op-ed at the Sacramento Bee, and consider sharing with your networks via Twitter. Here are some sample Tweets:

  • CA voters to decide on #gunsafety measure in Nov 2016. Why it matters: ow.ly/ULu8i  via @PreventionInst
  • Proposed ballot measure takes #gunsafety questions to the people. Read @PreventionInst’s @SacBee op-ed for more: ow.ly/ULu8i
  • Time to change norms around #gunsafety, push for action to keep communities safe ow.ly/ULu8i

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