Tag Archives: Gun Violence Prevention

Do Not Stand Idly By As Your Neighbor Bleeds: We Need to End Gun Violence

More than 30,000 people are killed by firearms each year in this country, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Each year, there are more school shootings, more incidents of gun violence in homes and more suicides by guns and yet, each year brings another round of congressional inaction to address this violence. But, there is more we can do in our communities to meet this challenge. The Reform Movement has partnered with Metro Industrial Areas Foundation to reach out directly to local mayors to ask gun manufacturers to lead reform in their industry. To do this, mayors will ask the gun manufacturers to create first-rate networks of dealers that meet high standards of security, record keeping and cooperation with law enforcement and bring child-proof, theft-proof guns to market – along with a variety of other gun safety technologies.

As Jews, we have an obligation not to be complicit and to speak out against gun violence. In the book of Exodus (20:13) we are told: “Thou shalt not kill.” And in Leviticus (19:16) we read: “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor’s blood is shed.” These texts collectively teach us that it is not enough to refrain personally from killing or using guns for violent purposes; we must also not be complicit in ongoing gun violence. It is from this moral standpoint that we are asking our mayors to join the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign and sign onto the Request for Information from gun manufacturers.

We are targeting six mayors in key regions with our action alert. If you live in Minneapolis, Miami, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, St. Louis or Portland, take action here. If you do not live in one of those targeted regions, you can see if your mayor has signed onto the Request for Information here and use our sample letters to contact them directly, asking them to sign on or thanking them if they have already.

Canadian memorabilia

Oh, Canada

This blog doesn’t have any profound insight or prescriptions for change. It is simply an expression of the great sadness I and so many other Canadians feel about yesterday’s horrifying attack on Parliament Hill. That sadness, and wishes for a full recovery, extends to those who were injured by the gunman and, of course, the family of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was standing guard at the National War Memorial when he was shot in the abdomen and killed.

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#ProtectAllWomen From Gun Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, when we devote time and energy to making ourselves and those around us aware of one of the most insidious and silent problems that plagues women, men, and children in this country. Earlier this month on RACblog we discussed how can channel our moral outrage at domestic violence into action and urge our Members of Congress to support the International Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 3571/S. 2307). You may be aware that domestic violence is an issue in this country. You may not know, however, about how crucial the issue of gun violence prevention is to the protection of victims of domestic abuse.

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Saving Lives from Gun Violence: WA Ballot Initiative I-594

This month, Washington State will be receiving their ballots to vote on two contradictory ballot initiatives related to gun violence, which they will send in by mail by November 4. Ballot initiative I-594 would require universal background checks for all gun purchases, including private sales. Laws similar to this have been passed elsewhere, including last year in Maryland where the new law has already led to a significant drop in gun deaths state-wide. Confusingly, an alternative ballot initiative I-591 would act to prevent state background checks unless a federal law was established. I-591 relies on the fact that a bipartisan federal background check law failed last year.

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Kansas Jewish Community Center

Issues of Extremism in America Today

On Sunday, April 13, 2014, just before Passover began, Fraizer Glenn Cross opened fire outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, killing Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his grandson Reat Griffin Underwood. Corporon was accompanying Underwood to auditions for the KC SuperStar singing competition, which were held at the JCC that day. Cross opened fire again at Village Shalom, a Jewish old age home about a mile away, killing Terri LaManno, an occupational therapist who was visiting her mother. After being taken into custody, Cross yelled, “Heil Hitler.”

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This School Year Not Another Shooting

The beginning of the school year for me has always been filled with the comfort of the early September winds and the coming High Holy Days. With the first day of classes brings with it new teachers, classrooms, and friends. Dipping apples in honey, smelling the musty reticence of the shofar, and walking along the beach throwing breadcrumbs give me the sense of clean slate, a new start and a new year.

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Gov Deval Patrick signs new MA gun violence prevention law

New Gun Violence Prevention Law in MA: How We Helped Make it Happen

Right before my daughter was born, my husband and I took a childcare class. We were the typical expectant parents, eagerly awaiting the birth of our child, and petrified that we wouldn’t know what to do once she arrived. I expected to learn how to put on a diaper and what to do for an earache. What I didn’t expect was for the instructor to say that before I let my child go on a play date, I should ask the host family if they had a gun in the house and how they stored it. Before that, I had never actually thought about my quiet suburban neighbors touting firearms that could endanger my child.

Fast forward a couple of years to our joining Temple Israel in Boston. TI was a pioneer in using faith-based community organizing methods, and was engaging in house meetings. One emerging theme was huge concerns about teenagers experiencing stress and issues regarding their safety.  And then, there was Newtown, CT. The tragedy of kindergarten children and their teachers being tragically murdered brought all of our attention to the threat of gun violence, and the threats that guns pose when used in crimes, suicides, and accidents.

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Let’s Make Background Checks on Guns Universal

With seemingly near constant news headlines of mass shootings and other acts of gun violence, debate on prevention measures for public safety is critical. The issue of whether universal background checks should be required for all firearm purchases is a possible solution to decrease some of these disturbing statistics:

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