Caught in the Crossfire: Unintentional Shooting Deaths Since Newtown

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

According to a study released on June 25,2014  by Everytown for Gun Safety, at least 100 children have died due to unintentional gunfire in the year following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. John Feinblatt, the president of the group who conducted the study, explains to HuffPost, “Too often we just say it is an accident or inevitable. But what this data shows is it’s preventable.” In Sam Stein’s article for HuffPost, 100 Children Died In Unintentional Shootings In Year After Newtown, that the report entitled Innocents Lost: A Year of Unintentional Child Gun Deaths examines in great detail the frequency, causes and victims of these shootings. According to Everytown, 73 percent of the shootings counted were done by minors who are defined as 14 or younger. While 57 percent of the cases showed that the victims were shot by someone else usually an older peer, 35 percent involved the victim shooting him or herself and usually involved younger victims. Further data shows that the these shootings occurred in familiar placed to the victims with 84 percent being killed in their home, a friend’s home or a family car and ,in 76 percent of the cases, the gun belonged to a parent or family member. The shooting found in the study occurred in 35 states with most happening in small towns and rural areas.  Stein explains that the finding from Everytown come from extensive review of news stories and subscription service in the 12 months after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook. Any shooting found to contain any ambiguity as to whether it was accidental or not or could not be confirmed as accidental by law enforcement officials was left out resulting in a possible under-counting of the final results published in HuffPost.

The group, Everytown, itself has had its fair share of controversy due to the methodology used to count the school shootings which are kept in a separate database since Newtown, according to Stein. Erika Soto Lamb, a spokeswoman for the group, insists that the criteria used to calculate the findings were fair and arguments against it were driven by pro-gun supporters. The numbers calculated in the report are higher than what the Center for Disease Control projects which is an average of 62 children per year ages 14 and under. Stein figures that the 100 children killed per year works out to 2 children killed per week. The issue for Everytown with respect to gun control comes in the form of poor education about how to properly store firearms and the dangers. The group supports the idea of imposing criminal liability for irresponsible gun storage in the form of well tailored child safety laws as the report even cites Florida’s Child Access Prevention law. Feinblatt sums it up by saying,”There is no question when you look around the country you see a real patchwork of laws having to deal with child access, and yet we have research that is compelling that laws that impose criminal sanctions are effective. We only have to look towards the drunk driving movement. … It decreased and deterred people from drunk driving, which obviously we have come to accept as dangerous. And we need to come to the same acceptance.”

Gun Control Controversy: Looking at the Numbers Since Newtown

As of June 11, 2014 reported by Katy Hall and Jan Diehm of HuffPost:
“Clarification: Everytown used the following methodology: Incidents were classified as school shootings when a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on school or campus grounds, as documented in publicly reported news accounts. This includes assaults, homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings. Incidents in which guns were brought into schools but not fired there, or were fired off school grounds after having been possessed in schools, were not included. This list includes incidents meeting the above criteria that were brought to our attention after our School Shootings Analysis was issued on February 10, 2014. Incidents were identified through media reports, so this is likely an undercount of the true total.”

According to the article, All 74 School Shootings Since Newtown, In One Depressing Map, at least 74 school shooting have occurred during the 18 months since Newtown as tallied by Everytown for Gun Safety, a group fighting to pass gun control laws. The longest gap between shootings occurred during summer breaks from mid June to mid August with the most recent being at the beginning of June at a high school in Portland, Oregon where the gunman a student were reported dead. After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012, President Obama pushed for gun reform calling for stricter background checks that garnered great public support, but failed in the senate last year and Congress since has no plans to pass any gun legislation.

Besides the many school shooting in the news it seems every day, there have also been several domestic disputes and random shootings that have occurred as well begging the question: Why is no one doing anything to keep us safe? HuffPost reporter Kim Bellware reported on the 16th of June with the headline, Man Kills His Ex-Wife And Her Boyfriend At High School Reunion, about an Illinois man who shot and killed his ex-wife and her new boyfriend in front of a 100 witness while she was at her high school reunion. Another tragic shooting occurred at a Phoenix church fatally wounding and killing a clergyman. Associated Press reports that on June 11 a homeless ex-convict with a history of violence and drug abuse allegedly killed a clergyman with a handgun retrieved by another priest after he was hit with an iron rod.

The Circus Has Come to Town

Connecticut Governor Dannell Malloy appeared on CNN’s ‘State of Union’ on Sunday to discuss many things, but one particular subject sparked quite a response from the governor. As one of the country’s strictest gun control legislation goes into affect in Connecticut just four months after the Newtown shooting, the NRA president Wayne LaPierre has wasted no time publicly criticizing the new legislation as alleged fears spread that the gun manufactures might flee the state. The governor has this to say reports the Huff Post:

“Wayne reminds me of the clowns at the circus. They get the most attention and that’s what he’s paid to do. This guy is so out of whack, it’s unbelievable. 92% of the American people want universal background checks. I can’t get on a plane as the governor of the state of Connecticut without somebody running a background check on me. Why should you be able to buy a gun?….We’ve decided that public safety trumps all of that (regarding gun manufacturing). I hope they stay and manufacture products that can legally be sold. But if they leave, that will be a decision they make. We’re not making them leave.”

Meanwhile, in Washington, families of the Connecticut school shooting along with President Barack Obama are walking the halls of Congress to garner support for stricter gun control regulations. The group has already helped to push the nation’s most restrictive gun law that was signed by Gov. Malloy, D-Conn, on Thursday. As Congress returns from spring break the families plan to spend the next weeks on Capitol Hill where the gun control debate has reached a stalemate. Using their own personal stories and the lasting affects of the Dec 14 shooting, the group hopes to speak to senators who have yet to support gun legislation. As David Wheeler, who lost a 6 year old son, Benjamin, commented to the Associated Press: “I’m not a constitutional scholar and I’m not a Second Amendment specialist. I don’t know the ins and outs of gun policy but I know …,” his voice trailed off as a sob catches in his throat. “But I now know one of the things that no father should ever know. And in our system of representative government we have to use our voices.”

Many of the families affected by the Newtown Massacre at Sandy Hook come from diverse political backgrounds and do not always agree on policy reports the Associated Press. The group includes gun owners, Democrats and Republicans. Mark Mattioli, who lost his 6 year old son James, attended a NRA news conference last week to endorse  a proposal to train school staffers as armed officers, while relatives of nine victims have a non-profit group called the Sandy Hook Promise who came together to sign letters Thursday to senators asking them to vote for expanded background checks, stricter gun trafficking laws and ban ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds. The magazine Adam Lanza used a magazine capable of 30 rounds of ammunition firing 154 shots during the four minute rampage in the school and stopped to reload giving 11 children the chance to escape according to the Associated Press. Nicole Hockley who lost her 6 year old son, Dylan, in the classroom where Lanza reloaded commented that, “They ran for their lives. Dylan was not so fortunate. If there were lower capacity magazine clips, there’s a chance Dylan would be here with me today.” She drives home her point by handing out cards to lawmakers with her son pictured in a Superman T-shirt and grinning with the caption “Honor his life 3/8/06-12/14/12. Stand with us for change. Now is the time.” Bill Sherlach also passes out a similar card with his Wife, Mary, a school psychologist who died, pictured asking lawmakers, “Can you show the same courage in your vote today?”

As strong as the message may be to lawmakers, it’s a tough road ahead as Congress has a strong tradition of protecting gun rights as barring large capacity magazines are difficult and senators cannot agree on the expanded background check. The Sandy Hook Promise stated days after the shooting as a group of neighbors came together and decided to take action to heal the community and aid victims’ families. The group has so far shoveled driveways, given funds to those on hard economic times and use their personal and professional connections to support public policy from mental health to gun safety. The co-founder Tim Makris had this to say, “This is not about just guns. The gun is the enabler, the cause is mental health.” Ubnfortunately for COngress, the iussue befoe them is guns. THe families of victims watchs on March 28 as Obama spoke about Congress and the importance of his proposal: “Less than 100 days ago that happened, and the entire country was shocked. And the entire country pledged we would do something about it and that this time would be different. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten. I haven’t forgotten those kids.” Obama plans to meet with the families Monday when he travels to Connecticut for a speech at the University of Hartford Sports Center close to the capitol where the governor signed the sweeping new gun restriction into law Thursday according to the Associated Press.

Connecticut Has Done What Congress Could Not

As the gun control debate become exhaustive and the international community seems to have an easier time getting their act together than Congress, Connecticut has decided to take action statewide to protect their citizens and put some minds at ease a mere three months after the Sandy Hook shooting that claimed so many lives and intensified the gun debate. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) on Thursday signed comprehensive gun control reforms less than 12 hours after the state legislature approved it in a late night session according to Huff Post. Malloy during the signing ceremony commented that the event was profoundly moving saying Connecticut came together as few other places have and are able to do as Washington remains divided (thank you NRA and second amendment supporters) and lawmakers have no excuse to expand background checks. Both of Connecticut’s two Democratic senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, supported the expanded gun control which requires background checks on private gun sales, bans the sale of magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and expands the state’s assault weapons ban including new gun models. As Malloy stated, the provisions will be in effect immediately with others being phased in. The bill also has new registration requirements for high capacity magazine owners who purchased before the law and creates the nation’s first dangerous weapons offender registry. The legislators during Wednesday nights session applauded the bill as it will allocate $15 million more to school safety and mental health monitoring programs. Many of the families who were affected by the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton were present for the historic signing and President Barack Obama will also visit Connecticut on Monday to applaud the new reform as well as make a case for broader gun control measure being debated by Congress.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Gun Deaths Since Sandy Hook Top 1,280

U.S. Gun Deaths Since Sandy Hook Top 1,280.

Sad that this has happened since such a tragic event but I believe a lot of factors are playing into this whether accidental or intentional. Sincere Smith age two found his father’s gun on the living room table in Conway, S.C. It only took him a second to perish when he pulled the trigger putting a single bullet through his chest and out his back. The father had turned away to call Sincere’s mother who was visiting a friend. The father scooped him up and rushed him to the hospital, but it was too late. Now all they have is memories from that Christmas morning to remember the happy boy by. Two weeks earlier, the father had bought the .38 caliber handgun to protect his family from another potential break in. He has no answer for the national gun debate, but he wants that  second back. The father Rondell Smith has had deep regret since the incident and has considered taking his own life. The saddest part of the story is the little boy died alone as police interrogated the father eventually charging him with involuntary manslaughter which his court date is set for Feb. 8. There were 28 other shootings across the U.S. on Christmas including a soldier shot in his barracks in Alaska, a man murdered in a parking lot of a bar in Orrville, Alaska, a 23 year old shot at a party in Phoenix, a L.A. County Sheriff’s employee was killed in a drive by and a 2o year old man in Louisville, Kentucky was shot after walking his sister home. The last one had posted a message on his Facebook for all his friends and former classmates that had been gunned down that day. A 10 year old in Memphis, Tennessee was fatally wounded when his brother’s gun fell off the bed the boy was jumping on and discharged when the 12 year old brother picked it up. The older brother has purchased the gun after being bullied at school. There were 41 homicides or accidental gun deaths on New Year’s Eve and 54 people died of bullet wounds on New Year’s Day. The Huffington Post traced homicides and accidents through the US since the Sandy Hook Massacre on Dec. 14. There were 100 deaths the first week after the shooting and seven weeks after there were 1,280 gunshot homicides and accidental deaths. Including police involved shootings, the total gun violence tally adds up to 1,475 shooting incidents according to Slate. The list of death, destruction and heart break for family, friends and a nation continues. When will it stop? We as a nation have the power to stop such violence from continuing but when will we unite as one voice to stop this. It is our choice not the governments or special interest…IT IS OUR VOICE THAT WILL BE HEARD. Please read the whole article to find out about the many others that have perished due to the inaction by our government and raise your voice and speak for those who have been silenced by the violence whether accidental or intentional. We all have children, grandmothers, friends, aunts, uncles, etc. Now is the time for action not for silence.

 

Gun Found In 7-Year-Old’s Backpack At Wave Preparatory Elementary School In Queens

Gun Found In 7-Year-Old’s Backpack At Wave Preparatory Elementary School In Queens.

What was this kid thinking? Where did he get this gun? These are the questions people should be asking after a .22 caliber handgun was found inside a 7 year old’s backpack at Wave Preparatory Elementary School in Rockaway on Thursday. No individuals were harmed and the gun was taken by one of the school’s safety officers. The school was in lock down as well. The event happens after a much fuel debate continues over gun restriction and tighter laws following the Sandy Hook shooting. On Tuesday, New York state was the first to pass gun control measures in the wake of the tragedy. The NRA said the passage of such measures prevented their lobby from thwarting the efforts, while President Obama unveiled his gun control proposal on Wednesday.

NRA Puts Its Mouth Where Its Money Is With Ad Targeting Obama Kids – DailyFinance

 NRA Puts Its Mouth Where Its Money Is With Ad Targeting Obama Kids – DailyFinance.

Before President Obama released his gun control proposal on Wednesday, opponents of the gun control plan were taking action. On Monday, Attorney General Edwin Meese  like others before suggested that the president could be impeached for such actions. The National Rifle Association also was busy releasing their ad that asked views, “Are the President’s Kids More Important than Yours?”which made comparisons between placing armed guards at school and the Secret Service detail assigned with protecting Sasha and Malia Obama. The ad called the president an “elitist hypocrite.” Not only has the president receives more than 30 death threats a day, Sasha and Malia have also been threatened as well I guess it comes with the territory. The NRA and its board of directors are not much different as they have also received death threats.

However, the NRA has a large financial stake in the game so no surprise they are hitting below the belt. The organization pulled in $227.8 million that includes $100 million in memberships and $71 million in contributions and grants many from gun manufacturers. The firearm manufacturers have a lot to loss with Obama’s proposal about $4 billion to be exact, bit I agree with AOL that going after his children who have nothing to do with this gun fight is ridiculous. The NRA and for that matter the gun manufacturers should be putting their efforts towards a long term solution not a lazy one. The problem here is not only gun and in a matter politicians with their fingers in several pies that only benefit them, but the need to re-examine the whole system and process in buying guns. Let’s face it NRA and gun manufacturers, regardless of whatever regulations are put into place people are still going to buy guns and unfortunately Obama and Congress no matter what gun measures you put into place like in all of these mass shooting if there is a will there is a way whether legal or illegal to get guns. This is what should be the focus to stop that.