Gunsense VT Update

Putney Friends Meeting — GunsenseVT

GunSense VT’s founder and fiercest gun violence prevention warrior, Ann Braden, has announced that she will be stepping back from the organization to pursue two incredible opportunities: writing and running for public office. A prolific and talented author, Ann has had her middle grade novel accepted for publication by Sky Pony Press. It is due out in Fall, 2018. Additionally, Ann has been accepted into the Emerge Vermont program which trains Democratic women candidates, and is planning to run for office in her home district of Windham County.

“I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished with GunSense VT, and I’m humbled by the passion and energy of its supporters. From simply gathering names on a petition to bringing gun violence prevention legislation to the Governor’s desk, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds over the past five years,” states Ann. “I know that GunSense is well-positioned to continue the fight for common sense gun legislation in Vermont.”

The Board of GunSense VT and all of Vermont’s citizens owe Ann a debt of gratitude for opening the door to conversations and legislation that will ultimately improve public safety for all Vermonters.

As GunSense VT looks to the future, we will be growing our capacity and making improvements to our communications to continue the fight for universal background checks. Seasoned gun violence prevention activist and farmer Clai Lasher-Sommers is taking the helm as Acting Executive Director. Born in Vermont, and now living just over the border in New Hampshire, she is a survivor of gun violence, knows the issue inside and out on the personal level and national stage, and brings a fearless commitment to the cause.  The GunSense VT Board will be holding a day-long retreat in January to identify priorities as we enter the 2018 legislative session.

Clai will be happy to hear from you @ clai@gunsensevt.org

“My heart breaks for Sutherland Springs. Just like it still does for Las Vegas. And Orlando. And Charleston. And Aurora. And Blacksburg. And Newtown. Just like it does every night for Chicago. And New Orleans. And Baltimore. And Bridgeport. The terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic. The time is now for Congress to shed its cowardly cover and do something.”

– Senator Chris Murphy, (D) Connecticut

We were outraged by the news out of Sutherland Springs, Texas.  On Sunday a man armed with a Ruger AR-556 assault rifle ended 27 lives, and shattered countless others, at a place of worship. Once again, we are faced with massacres happening in places that are supposed to be safe. No one should feel apprehension while worshipping, going to school, going to the movies, shopping, or doing any of the other things that we do in our daily lives.

The NRA and the politicians whom they own will spout the same senseless sentiment: “It’s not the time to talk about guns.” We know differently.It is way past time to talk about guns. And for the 27 people killed in Texas and the 13,254* other people killed by guns this year, it is too late. Your voice has the power to effect change. Keep calling. Keep writing. Keep demanding action on gun safety legislation.

Take one of these actions today. Once you take one action it becomes easier to do two, or do three. Whatever you can do will make a difference.

1. Call Senators Sanders and Leahy and tell them that you support universal background checks, and you expect them to as well. Tell them to stand up with Chris Murphy and make this a bipartisan issue. Gun violence affects all Americans. It will take all of our representatives working together to make a change.

Senator Bernie Sanders: 800-339-9834

Senator Patrick Leahy: 800-642-3193

2. Call Governor Phil Scott and tell him Vermont’s lack of gun laws are shameful. Right now, there’s nothing preventing someone with a history of violence from buying a gun in Vermont without a background check from a private seller. Tell the Governor that Vermonters deserve better!

Governor Phil Scott: 802-828-3333

3.  Please make a donation to GunSense VT, which is at the forefront of fighting for universal background checks in Vermont. Your donation today will help us  continue our work for gun safe legislation in Vermont.

4. Make sure to follow @GunSenseVT on Twitter, and GunSense on Facebook and share our posts. When we raise our voices, even in the virtual world, it encourages others to raise theirs.

5. Make sure you know who your state legislators are and find out where they stand on gun violence prevention. Visit legislature.vermont.gov to find your legislators and see their voting records.

6. Remember that a significant majority of deaths by firearm are suicides. Visit the website of the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center for information and resources. Familiarize yourself with the risk factors, which can include depression, substance abuse, family violence, and feelings of isolation (especially among older Vermonters), and having firearms in the home.

7. Most importantly, look out for one another. Get to know your neighbors. Spend a few more minutes in conversation. Meet someone in person for coffee. We all need more human connection, especially now.

*The Gun Violence Archive:  www.gunviolencearchive.org

Newtown Vigils: Help shine a light on gun violence in December

This December 14 marks the five-year anniversary of one of the most heartbreaking tragedies this nation has ever known: the murder of 20 young children and 6 educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Since that horrific day, we have also known the pain of other high-profile mass shootings. Charleston. San Bernardino. Orlando. Las Vegas. Texas. The list goes on.

This December, we invite you to recall all victims and survivors of gun violence: those who have died, those still living, and those who still live with the pain of loss. Those who have been threatened with guns and traumatized by violent acts, Those who still live with abuse and threats in homes where there are guns.

Vigils to remember victims of gun violence are being held statewide. Please consider organizing one in your community!

Organizing a vigil need not be stressful or time consuming. It can be as large or as small, as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. You can organize a group to stand silently with candles in front of your town hall, or you can organize speakers in your local library or house of worship. It’s up to you, and GunSense is here to help.

Please contact Elissa at elissa@gunsensevt.org if you are holding a vigil or if you would like to organize one.

We have resources to share, and we want to help you publicize your event (and make sure that you are counted nationally). Connect with GunSense today!

All the Best,

Elissa Pine, GunSenseVT
http://www.gunsensevt.org/

GunSenseVT · PO Box 2533, Brattleboro, VT 05303, United States

This is not normal. This is not okay.  

 

GunsenseVT“Our attention this morning is focused on Sandy Hook…”

“Our attention this morning is focused on Orlando…”

“Our attention this morning is focused on Las Vegas…”

Who among us doesn’t hold his or her breath when

turning on the TV or radio and hearing a story that leads with those words? Tragically, Monday morning was such a morning.

To people who lost loved ones in the Las Vegas massacre, to witnesses traumatized by the violence, to first responders who had to deal with unimaginable scenes, to the injured whose wounds may never fully heal, we are sending strength.

To the politicians who stand by, shooting after shooting, doing nothing to effect change, we are sending the message:

We should not have to live in fear every time we or our loved ones leave the house for school, for a concert, for a movie, for work.

Even if our US Senators and Representatives are supportive of gun violence prevention measures, they still need to hear from you.

Please contact your elected officials today with the message:

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We are counting on you to address this public health crisis and keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott has long held that Vermont’s extremely lax gun laws are adequate. We urge Vermont residents to contact Governor Scott with the message:

“Vermont is not an island. We are part of a nation that is experiencing an unprecedented public health crisis in the form of gun violence. We must do our part by passing universal background check legislation in Vermont now.”

Please also consider writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. A simple letter summarizing your reaction to this tragedy and encouraging legislative action can send a powerful message to lawmakers and fellow Vermonters.

It is easy at times like this to feel utterly defeated, but we owe it to all those who suffer to keep fighting for common sense gun legislation. GunSense Vermont continues to champion the much needed goal of background checks for every gun sold in our state.

Thank you for joining us in the fight.

-Your GunSense VT Leadership Team

p.s.–If you are looking for a way to directly support those impacted by the violence in Las Vegas, we suggest:

The National Compassion Fund (directly distributes donations from the public to victims of mass crime)

Elissa Pine, GunSenseVT
http://www.gunsensevt.org/

H.308 (Racal Justice Reform) ACT NOW!

H.308 (Racal Justice Reform) unnamed.jpg

Friends, we are almost there. We need Governor Scott to sign H. 308 as soon as he receives it. There is a legislative rule that says that the Governor must sign a bill passed by the Legislature within 5 days or it beomes law automatically UNLESS the legislative session ends within that period. Then, if the Governor does not sign it, the bill fails automatically. We are in that period, the Legislature is scheduled to convene by this Saturday; we do not know when the Governor received it and the clock started ticking. There have been some indications from the Scott Administration that they wanted to derail the bill. This does not necessarily mean that the Governor will let the bill fail or will veto it, but it does raise grave concerns. Therefore the Racial Justice Coalition and Justice for All, the main organizer for this bill (and on whose board I sit), and I personally, ask you to contact the Governer by email, see below, or by phone at 802-828-3333. Please help the governor understand that by signing H.308 he declares that our State motto “Freedom and Unity” is more than rhetoric; that we will not just pay lip service to “liberty and justice for all,” but we in Vermont will establish legal mechanisms to make those high values real and a living part of our common life. Thank you, Joseph
Joseph Gainza

Producer and Host

Gathering Peace
Tuesdays 9-10:30 AM
WGDR 91.1 FM; WGDH 97.1 FM
www.wgdr.org live streaming & archive

Joint Resolution

Rally- January 21st, 2017, Putney, Vermont, photo by Nancy Jane Lang
Rally- January 21st, 2017, Putney, Vermont

A proposed resolution by the Vermont Senate and House of Representatives:

Joint resolution expressing strong opposition to any governmental registry based on religion, race, or ethnicity and to any mass deportation of undocumented residents.

Whereas, the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation “that all men are created equal,”  has, on occasion, fallen short when members of religious, racial, or ethnic groups have been subjected to discriminatory federal policies, and

Whereas, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the far broader Immigration Act of 1924 are two of examples of federal laws that either prohibited or restricted immigration based on religion, race, or ethnicity, and

Whereas, at the start of World War II, Civilian Exclusion Order No. 34 directed the exclusion of persons of Japanese ancestry, including U.S. citizens, from the nation’s west coast and resulted in the relocation of Japanese Americans to internment (concentration) camps, and

Whereas, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld this order in an infamous decision, Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944), and although Congress enacted the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, Pub.L. No. 100–983, that apologized for this wartime policy, the potential of the federal government mistreating individuals based on their religion, race, or ethnicity still exists, and

Whereas, while campaigning, now President‑elect Donald Trump stated his support for mandatory registration of Muslims residing in the United States, seemingly to include American citizens, and

Whereas, although he quickly began to narrow, if at times ambiguously, the scope of his proposed registry, the mere fact that he would contemplate a religiously based national registry raises chilling comparisons to the relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II, and

Whereas, President-elect Trump also proposed while campaigning to deport all 11 million undocumented persons residing in the United States, and

Whereas, although he subsequently narrowed the deportation proposal to those undocumented persons who have committed crimes, a number he estimated at two to three million individuals, the concept still raises core constitutional issues of due process, and

Whereas, this proposal, depending on the ultimate scope of its coverage, has the potential to result in the deportation of hundreds of thousands of undocumented young persons who are living in this country through President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and

Whereas, the registry and mass deportation proposals run contrary to our nation’s most fundamental democratic principles, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the General Assembly expresses its strong opposition to any governmental registry based on religion, race, or ethnicity and to any mass deportation of undocumented residents, and be it further

Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to President-elect Donald Trump and the Vermont Congressional Delegation.

*Clerks Note: This text was read at the rally. It has not been minuted as approved by the Meeting, it will be considered at the next monthly Meeting.

January 10th Bill Introduction, Universal Background Checks

So far, 78 people have RSVPed for the January 10th Bill Introduction Press img_5784Conference. We need a lot more! If you haven’t yet RSVPed, please do so! We need you. If you’ve already signed up, convince a few friends to come with you. This is our chance to show lawmakers that public support for Universal Background Checks is strong — and that the polls numbers really do translate into in-person support. It’s the only way we’re going to be able to make progress.

A date for the Universal Background Check Bill Introduction and Press Conference has been set! This is where your presence in-person is invaluable. Mark your calendars now, and RSVP here!

WHEN

January 10, 2017 at 12pm – 3pm

WHERE

Statehouse

The schedule:
12:00pm – Lunch with your representatives in the Statehouse cafeteria
12:45pm – Press conference in the Cedar Creek Room
1:30pm – 3:00pm  – Strategic Organizing Meeting in Room 10

If you live far from Montpelier, don’t let yourself be daunted by the drive. We’ll have carpools coming from every corner of the state. Together we’ll show lawmakers how strong the support for Universal Background Checks is!

RSVP here!

We need to come together and show up!

Thank you,
Ann

Ann Braden

President, Gun Sense Vermont

Ann Braden
http://www.gunsensevt.org/

Background Checks aren’t a partisan issue

Hi Friends,

3 years ago: Few lawmakers felt comfortable talking about gun laws
Yesterday: Political leader after political leader stood up and called for Universal Background Checks.

August 4 Rally
Vermont Statehouse Rally

“This is a sea change,” said Senator Phil Baruth.
“It’s a new day,” said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.
“We’re not taking away any rights. We’re giving people their lives,” said House Speaker Shap Smith.
“Background Checks aren’t a partisan issue,” said Republican Representative Patti Komline.

One speaker after another. Senator Sirotkin, Matt Dunne, Sue Minter, Peter Galbraith, Kesha Ram, David Zuckerman, Senate President Pro-Tem John Campbell, Senator McCormack, Amy Brady of Voice for Vermont’s Children, and Clai Sommers, a powerful survivor. It was inspiring. And surreal.

This is a key turning point, but more work is needed. Tuesday’s primary will launch the final push to election day, and we need our volunteer teams ready to dive in and support candidates who support background checks. Many people signed up for their local teams at last night’s rally, but we need even more people to sign up if our teams are going to be strong enough.

Click HERE to Join your Local Team!

You can read more about the rally in the Burlington Free Press, in Seven Days, or in VTDigger. Thank you for all of you who came out and beared the hot sun! I bet you all left there like I did: dehydrated, but reinvigorated!

This is the time! This is our chance! Let’s make this happen!
Ann

Ann Braden

President, Gun Sense Vermont

http://www.gunsensevt.org/