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Ending Gun Violence for All

Patch Back's Lisa Bigelow wonders, will the results of Connecticut's gun control legislative efforts help all of our citizens, or just some?

 

The bipartisan task force on gun violence held a public hearing on Monday in Hartford during which Newtown victims’ family members, gun rights advocates, members of the public and elected representatives testified on upcoming legislation. 

The testimony was sobering. And it revealed an audience of constituents tired of violence, frustrated with the slow pace of legislative change and deeply, deeply divided over the rights of citizens to own (or not to own) assault-style weapons.

As I watched, what struck me most were not the heartbreaking words of the victims. It wasn’t the guarded words of the gun club member or the angry words of the control advocate.

Instead, it was the gentlemen from the high populations centers who deal with the slow, bloody drain of handgun violence every single day. They said, where have you been, Bipartisan Task Force? We’ve been begging for help for years.

They rightly stated that these current efforts, though certainly well intended, won’t do a thing to help victims of violence in the communities of Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford. Therefore, I will repeat what needs repeating: any gun control legislation must address more than what is versus what isn’t an “assault” weapon.

It must be about more than just magazine capacity, too. It must even be about more than figuring out a way to incorporate better psychological care into our current health system. Instead, let us strive to end gun violence in all its forms so that our friends in urban areas win the same right to safety that those in quieter locales usually enjoy.

Alert: I’m going to ask the question that no one in the media seems to be asking. Many of you will disagree. And for once, I truly hope you do. And I not only hope you disagree, I hope you write in and tell me why I’m wrong (respectfully, of course … I didn’t enjoy being called a “stupid” “leftist” last week, even though my kids got a huge kick out of it).

Although many gun violence statistics can be twisted to suit a variety of needs the data on urban areas with high crime rates are clear: the victims are most often minorities. These minority victims are far outnumber the victims of mass shootings, who tend to be white. To me, it is disappointingly clear that the nationwide effort to “do something” about guns has everything to do with affluence and its favorite cousin, race.

Tell me, where are the marches when young children are murdered on the streets of Chicago, or New Haven, or Washington, or Detroit? Let me be clear: I do not question for one moment the sincerity or intent of the folks from March for Change or CAGV or hell, even the NRA. When an event such as Newtown occurs in our own backyard it is only natural that the local response should be strong and heartfelt and pure.

But I do have serious questions about the value we as a society place on human life. Or, at the very least, I question the validity of developing a legislative response to a societal threat that is directly proportional to the consequences of one action, as occurred in Newtown, versus developing a legislative response to what occurs every day to people of all colors.

Let’s work together to make all forms of violence end, as one reader so aptly wrote to me several days ago. Let’s help our legislators craft a bill that will regulate private gun sales so common criminals can’t get them easily. Let’s make universal background checks strict and repeating. Let’s develop and enforce safe storage laws and train administrators and teachers in effective self defense tactics.

Most of all, let us remember the words written in the hearts of every American: all men are created equal.

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Reverend Barbara Sexton January 30, 2013 at 04:39 PM
To the author: You might want to educate yourself by reading and studying these: http://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/law/firearms.htm . AND you ought to take the time, expend the effort and pay the money to go through official firearms training yourself and go through the process of applying for a gun permit in CT, so that you can know what you are talking about.
tony penachio February 01, 2013 at 03:00 AM
any gun law is a violation of the Constitution!!!!, as well as a violation of the oath of office of anyone in office to the oath they swore on the bible too, upon entering office. Stop invading our Constitutional rights!!!!!!, We HAVE the right to guns, it is a DONE DEAL!!!!, leave it/us alone, is solves nothing and read the last line of the second Amendment....and OBEY IT!!!!!
Here we go March 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM
To the Author: I have asked the exact same question about the outrage and marches when it was just young, urban minority youth being killed. I am repeatedly kicked off anti-gun facebook sites for doing so. This shows me, the anti-gun crowd has no real argument for eliminating guns, they just don't like them. And they are capitilizing on a tragedy to do so. They are making emotional, not logical decisions and since they know they couldn't win the debate with reason, they show up in hartford crying and using emotion to try and win. I have also asked another question, which is this; If CT is truly banning guns for the protection if children, then why haven't they banned abortion yet? Because that is killing too, but it's killing the left accepts. As a firefighter for the past 15 years of my life, I have pulled more drunk teenagers out of cars dead than I have shot to death. We legislate alchohol distribution and driving age. Problem still hasn't stopped. But these people who jump on the emotional bandwagon don't really want to change. They want to SAY they initiated change, but they don't want to get their hands dirty.
Here we go March 23, 2013 at 12:55 PM
If they were truly commited to fixing this problem, they would look at the medication of the youth in this nation for ADHD. People have become lazy with trying to fix the problems in their lives. From ADHD to weight loss in this country, people want the results without doing the work. Pills don't fix anything. If you do have ADHD or your kid does, you may need to put them in certain sprecialized programs for them to succeed, but they need to know and learn how to live and succeed with the illness through out their lives, not just numb the feeling. There are many people who live with ADHD every day that are not medicated, but have learned to function and be productive members of society. Many of them become incredible artists, musicians, photographers, sports players and even military and emergency service workers. The reason? because what they need is constant stimulation to keep their mind occupied. Not medictaion and sitting in front of a TV or computer.

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