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Fight gun violence with economics, speaker urges



Published: Wed, January 26, 2011 @ 12:06 a.m.

GUN VIOLENCE

Facts and figures

Between 11,000 and 12,000 people in the U.S. die annually from gun violence.

An additional 70,000 are shot but survive.

Roughly half of gun homicides each year occur in inner cities.

About 31,000 Americans are affected every year by such violence.

Each year, 3,000 young people under age 19 use a gun to commit suicide.

Source: Elliot N. Fineman, president of the National Gun Victims Action Council

By Sean Barron

news@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Stronger and more consistent laws are needed to reduce gun violence in the U.S., but the problem also must be attacked from an economic standpoint, a marketing consultant contends.

People were shocked and appalled by shooting rampages at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., and Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., in 1999 and 2007, respectively. Nevertheless, neither tragedy led to tougher federal gun laws, Elliot N. Fineman said during his presentation Tuesday at the Main Branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, 305 Wick Ave.

Fineman, president and chief executive officer of the National Gun Victims Action Council, spoke to about 50 people on providing economic leverage leading to tighter state and national gun laws.

ACTION sponsored the free 90-minute presentation, “An Economic Strategy to Reduce Gun Homicide and Violence in Our Community Now.”

The Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods is a faith-based organization that concentrates on social issues such as education, crime prevention and immigration.

In December 2006, Fineman’s 44-year-old son, Michael, was shot to death at a San Diego restaurant by a paranoid schizophrenic who had legally obtained his firearm.

Fineman, of Chicago, pointed to budgetary and manpower disparities between the National Rifle Association and the James Brady campaign, which oppose and support, respectively, most gun regulations. The NRA has a $250 million annual budget and 600 employees; by contrast, the Brady campaign’s yearly budget is $7 million, with only 23 employees, he noted.

“That’s why we have the [lax] laws we have,” Fineman said, adding that he doubts the Jan. 8 shooting spree in Tucson, Ariz., will result in better laws largely because of the NRA’s economic and legislative clout.

Jared L. Loughner, 22, is accused of using a Glock 9 mm semiautomatic pistol to kill six people and injure 13, including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, during a meet-and-greet gathering at a supermarket.

Fineman said his organization plans to boycott large corporations, including Starbucks and Nike, unless they change their stance on gun violence.

Starbucks, which allows people to openly carry firearms in its stores, must ban the practice and commit $10 million each year to getting sane gun laws passed, he explained, adding that Starbucks made $550 million in profits in 2009.

Much of Nike’s earnings have come from residents of inner cities, where a disproportionate amount of gun violence occurs. Yet the shoe and apparel giant has remained largely silent, he contended.

Fineman said many myths have been proffered by the gun industry, such as the notion that a gun is vital for self-defense.

“The idea of self-protection is absurd and can’t work,” he said, explaining that most robberies and other gun crimes rely heavily on surprise.

Also part of the program was Lori A. O’Neill, NGAC’s vice chairwoman who addressed firearms trafficking.

O‘Neill, of Bainbridge in Geauga County, said most gun crimes are committed by those who have no legal right to own a firearm. In addition, trafficking “is a very deliberate and profitable enterprise in this country,” she added.

O’Neill and Fineman quickly pointed out that they support the rights of law-abiding people to have guns.

“We want regulations. We don’t want to take anyone’s rights away,” Fineman said.

The vast majority of firearms dealers are honest, but a few deliberately allow guns to get into the wrong hands by selling to “straw buyers,” people with no criminal record who buy guns for those who are not allowed to have them, O’Neill noted.

Many guns shows contribute to weapons ending up in criminals’ hands because private transactions are not regulated. A key to closing that loophole is to require federal background checks for all gun purchases, she continued, adding that such a move will not impact law-abiding citizens.

A potential gun owner, like a motor-vehicle operator, should be required to pass a test, receive special training, become licensed and carry liability insurance, O’Neill explained.

Increased awareness, greater legislative action and better laws can lead to reductions in gun homicides and violence, she said, in much the same way that the formula by Mothers Against Drunk Driving resulted in a decrease in drunken-driving fatalities over the past 30 years.


Comments

1mrhappy(23 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

According to the CDC "In 2008, 11,773 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes." Just as many deaths as guns but no one wants to talk about outlawing alcohol. Gun control advocates are hypocrites.

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2Photoman(1000 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

When I approach a store displaying a "No Guns Allowed" decal I can't help buy wonder why they would want to advise criminals that it is most likely a safe place to rob as probably no one will have a gun to stop them. And now, because Starbuck shows profitability Mr. Fineman wants to extort $10 million from them to stop his group from picketing. I now have no respect for Mr. Fineman or his organization.

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3ElPolloRetrasado(202 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

In 2008 you had a 1 in 32000 chance that you would be murdered by a gun yet in our prisons where guns are not accessible you had a 1 in 21000 chance of getting murdered. Long story short, we blame the guns and the NRA and the businesses that don't denounce guns but it's the criminals that kill that are the problem. Our system lets people kill and then lets them kill again. Just because Fineman's son was killed by someone that was schizophrenic who is to say he couldn't have gotten that gun on the street? Go to the ghetto in Youngstown and see how quick you can buy a saturday night special!

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4steelwagon(284 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

You can enact all the laws you want but you'll never stop the illegal sales of guns to criminals.
It's just like the drug trade......you can't stop it when there's so much profit to be made.
And don't be dumb enough to believe the courts or so called justice system or the lawyers want it stopped.
Everybody makes big money from it!!!

I think it's great that Starbucks allows it's customers to pack heat inside their stores.
Bet a would be robber thinks twice before attempting to hold the place up.

And who is Fineman to demand 10mil.from anybody to keep his goons away from their business ?
I'll be sure to patronize Starbucks now!!!

“The idea of self-protection is absurd and can’t work
Oh really ?
Ask the family in Montana who's home was invaded by 2 illegal mexicans.

These 2 sucmbags kicked the door in and got their sorry A&&E$ blown through a wall by a 13 year old girl who just happened to be a jr.skeet shooting champ.

Now what do you suppose would have happened to that young girl if there were no gun in the home Mr.Fineman ?
The only gun control law I favor is this....

Catch a felon with a gun or use a gun to commit crime you do a very long prison term at hard labor,no sitting around,no free college education just hard physical labor.
You make commiting a gun crime a hard miserable experience and if you murder you hang for it and not 20 years after the fact !!!.

I would urge every law abiding citizen to arm themselves.
We keep stats on how many gun deaths there are every year in the U.S.
It would be most interesting to know how many innocent folks are alive today because they were armed or had a gun in the home for protection.

And just because the hood rats love their nike's doesn't obligate the company to do anything but keep making shoes.
After all that is the business the're in..
I'm sure crooks like Bernie Madoff loved Armani suits and Gucci shoes too!!!

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5cambridge(2996 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Gun nuts are so funny.

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6GunSensus(1 comment)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Over-educated paper shufflers? What does that mean? How can you make judgments about people you don't know?

In fact, almost every member of the board has lost a child to senseless gun violence. Does that make them less than you, Diane?

That chip on your shoulder must get pretty painful.

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7mrhappy(23 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

"The NRA has a $250 million annual budget and 600 employees; by contrast, the Brady campaign’s yearly budget is $7 million, with only 23 employees." I think this is called democracy. More people give their money to the side they agree with. Why do democrats hate democracy so much. It is their way or the highway. Even if The People don't agree with them. That isn't democracy, it is fascism.

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8southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Guns are here to stay; deal with it!!

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