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Cruising for Peace Means No Shots Fired

Cruising for Peace Means No Shots Fired

Cruising around town in a stylish low rider on a Saturday afternoon? How does that prevent gun violence?

The recent Cruise for Peace was part of San Diego’s “No Shots Fired” program, which kicked off last spring when city government and law enforcement leaders called for peace and healing following a series of shootings. Dozens of low riders from clubs around San Diego joined the Cruise for Peace, escorted by the San Diego Police Department’s low-rider squad car.

No Shots Fired is a collaboration between the Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention, the Community Assistance Support Team, law enforcement and other city partners. Since March, community organizations have maintained an agreement with gangs in areas most affected by violent crime, such as Southeastern San Diego, for a six-month cease-fire.

SD4GVP attended as well. Our participation aligns with our belief that an effective way to prevent gun violence is through violence intervention programs.

Member Spotlight: United Nations Association

Member Spotlight: United Nations Association

You follow the SD4GVP coalition because you want to prevent gun violence in your own neighborhood and city. But did you know that gun violence prevention intersects with the goals of the United Nations?

Established in 1946, coalition member United Nations Association of the United States, San Diego Chapter (UNA-SD) promotes engagement with the United Nations by translating its global initiatives into local context.

SD4GVP has been working with UNA-SD in support of achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the 2030 Agenda. These are 17 goals agreed upon in 2015 by all 193 member states of the United Nations to build fairer, equitable and sustainable societies that intend to leave no one behind by the year 2030.

Achieving such an ambitious agenda requires engagement at all levels, but especially at the local level. Through its work with member organizations in San Diego, SD4GVP as a coalition is enacting its mission of gun violence prevention in ways that align with and support several of the UN’s SDGs.

1. Legislative advocacy

SD4GVP works to help pass laws at the city, county, state and federal levels that enforce background checks, ensure firearm safety, ban assault-style weapons and restrict access to ghost guns. The coalition also advocates funding for violence intervention and prevention (VIP) programs and policing.

That work supports these SDGs: (3) Good Health and Wellbeing, (10) Reduced Inequalities, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (16) Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

2. Education

SD4GVP collects and publishes information on gun violence restraining orders (GVROs, or red-flag laws), and the safe storage of firearms. It distributes the information and conducts presentations geared to gun owners and non-owners alike, including to schools and other organizations.

That work supports these SDGs: (3) Good Health and Wellbeing, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (16) Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

3. Inclusion

Among its coalition members, SD4GVP counts organizations that provide support for victims of violence against intimate partners and members of the LGBTQI+ community. SD4GVP organizations also support racial justice, especially in the fight for police oversight and accountability.

That work supports these SDGs: (3) Good Health and Wellbeing, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (10) Reduced Inequalities, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (16) Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships to Achieve the Goals.

Governments working through the United Nations can’t achieve their SDGs alone. It will take a worldwide partnership between the public and private sectors, involving individuals, non-governmental organizations, corporations and foundations. SD4GVP is pleased to have UNA-SD as a member of our coalition.

Learn more about UNA-SD at UNASD.org and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

 

If You Really Want to Prevent Gun Violence, VOTE NO on the Recall of Governor Newsom!

If You Really Want to Prevent Gun Violence, VOTE NO on the Recall of Governor Newsom!

Cast your vote in the upcoming recall election as if gun violence prevention in California depended on you.

Because this time, it does.

At San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention (SD4GVP), we STRONGLY URGE California voters to VOTE NO on the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom.

We believe that Gov. Newsom has been a RELIABLE ALLY in California’s efforts to keep firearms out of the hands of people who should not have them. In fact, not only do we believe that, but the proof lies in the many gun-violence prevention bills he has signed. Among them:

  • AB 2847 (Chiu) ensuring that newly introduced handguns have consumer safety features and microstamps that mark bullet casings with information to help law enforcement identify shooters and gun traffickers.
  • AB 2617 (Gabriel) making out-of-state Extreme Risk Orders enforceable in California.
  • AB 2362 (Muratsuchi) allowing the California Department of Justice to impose fines on firearm sellers for violations to ensure that gun dealers engage in safe and responsible business practices.
  • AB 2061 (Limón) ensuring that firearms dealers, gun shows and events conduct business in compliance with applicable state and local laws.
Furthermore, Gov. Newsom has been instrumental in a HISTORIC INVESTMENT in the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Program (CalVIP), increasing funding to $200 million. Violence intervention is a big step toward stopping violence before it occurs, and this investment will fund violence-intervention programs across the state over the next three years.

Protect California’s sensible gun laws: Vote “No” on the recall of Gavin Newsom.

Like you, we have been greatly relieved to have a governor in Sacramento who takes seriously the business of preventing gun violence.

If you want to keep that kind of champion working for you in California, here are some actions you can take before the recall vote on September 14:

To learn more about this election, click here.

But above all else:

VOTE NO on the recall of Gov. Newsom!

John White is a volunteer with San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention.

photo credit: ABC10

Member Spotlight: Tariq Khamisa Foundation

Member Spotlight: Tariq Khamisa Foundation

Can you imagine forgiving the person who fatally shot your son? Could you get far enough through your grief to realize that there are victims on both sides of the gun? Would you call up the killer’s family and create a foundation with them to keep kids from killing other kids?

That’s how the Tariq Khamisa Foundation (TKF) came about. TKF was founded after 14-year-old Tony Hicks murdered 20-year-old Tariq Khamisa. Both of their families came together in the spirit of healing to launch TKF in 1995. The mission of the foundation is to create safer schools and communities by educating and inspiring children in the restorative principles of accountability, compassion, forgiveness and peacemaking.

The foundation has developed the TKF Safe School Model of programs for teaching children a peaceful approach to problem solving, reconciliation, conflict management and relationship building. TKF makes a solid, positive impression on young people through a variety of in-school programs:

  • Peacemaker Assembly — Using video and open discussion, TKF presenters tell the real-life story about the consequences of violence, the importance of accountability and the real-life benefits of restorative practices.
  • Restorative Workshops — In a series of ten 45-minute sessions, children learn to be mindful, manage emotions, be accountable for their actions, make amends and practice compassion and forgiveness. The curriculum meets educational standards for character building, social competency and personal safety.
  • Peace Educator Mentoring — Hired mentors work on school campuses to assist and support the most vulnerable students with individualized attention and guidance. Mentoring is focused on peacemaking, behavior management and mediation to prevent misconduct. Interventions promote advocacy, educational assistance, life skills and positive school engagement.
  • TKF Peace Clubs — Peace Clubs are customized, extra-curricular programs designed to develop youth leadership. Club activities emphasize the educational strategies of achieving inner peace, building collaborative relationships and making a difference in school and community.
  • Training Institute — TKF offers several types of training, including Professional Development for school staff, Restorative Circles to promote community building and Restorative Parenting Workshop as a five-session educational series.

That’s a long way back from the depths of grief in which the Khamisa and Hicks families found themselves.

Through its programs and presentations, TKF has reached more than a half-million students and counting. Its mission of relationship building and violence intervention fits squarely with the goals of San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention. We’re honored to have TKF as a member of our coalition.

Learn more about the foundation at TKF.org and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

17-year-old: “I can buy a ghost gun kit!” Gun rights groups: “So why the drama?”

17-year-old: “I can buy a ghost gun kit!” Gun rights groups: “So why the drama?”

He’s not old enough to vote, but he can buy a ghost gun kit.

He’s not old enough to buy tobacco, but he can buy a ghost gun kit.

He’s not old enough to buy liquor, but he can buy a ghost gun kit.

Do you see any potential problems with that?

“How easy it really is”

“I’ve heard it’s really easy to buy ghost gun kits online,” says a 17-year-old senior in high school, “and today I’m going to find out how easy it really is.”

He decides to buy the kit over the internet. Click the image to see the video he created about it:

17-year-old buys a ghost gun kit

No background check is necessary. Background checks are for traditional guns, and for completed parts of traditional guns. Ghost guns fall through a legal crack that gets around background checks for gun parts that require additional handiwork.

Once the parts have arrived, the 17-year-old can use common tools to modify and assemble the parts into a handgun. The handgun will fire 9mm rounds capable of inflicting serious bodily injury. Or death, depending on how the gun is aimed.

When complete, the handgun will not have a serial number. The 17-year-old can fire it a few times and give it to a friend to use, and there will be no way to trace it back to its original owner or seller.

Team ENOUGH and ghost guns

We’re lucky. The 17-year-old is a member of the San Diego chapter of Team ENOUGH, a youth-led organization representing students who are dedicated to gun violence prevention.

He is not buying a ghost gun kit so that he can commit suicide or a crime. He is buying it to demonstrate how perversely easy it is for just about anybody to get dangerously close to possessing a lethal weapon without a background check or a serial number.

Ghost guns are at the center of a “flourishing and unregulated online market” now. They are showing up in increasing numbers of crimes committed in places like Los Angeles; Chicago; Syracuse, New York; Columbia, South Carolina; and San Jose, California.

Mayors are troubled by them. Legislators are sponsoring bills about them. The President has taken initial actions to help stop their proliferation.

In other words, a number of people are trying, based on evidence like body counts and firearms recovered from crime scenes, to rein in the spread of ghost guns.

“So why the drama?”

Not everyone is concerned about easy access to ghost guns or thinks it is a problem. “Why the drama?” they ask.

Sometimes they are more concerned about the rights of law-abiding citizens, given that ghost gun kits are not against the law. “Go after the criminals a little harder,” they say.

But not all purchasers of ghost gun kits will use them in law-abiding ways. And not all 17-year-olds will think clearly about abiding by the law once they have assembled a ghost gun.

That’s why the drama.

John White is a volunteer with SD4GVP.

Safe Storage of Firearms at Home – How Schools Can Play a Role

Safe Storage of Firearms at Home – How Schools Can Play a Role

The school districts have gotten the message about safe storage.”

I wrote that in my post a few months ago, describing the letter that California’s Superintendent of Education Tony Thurmond sent to all district superintendents in the state. He asked them to inform families in their districts about parents’ responsibility to keep guns locked and ammunition stored separately.

That was a good first step.

However, we’ve just received bad news about what we hoped would be the next step: AB 452, a bill to require parental notification of California’s firearm safety laws through the schools, will NOT be set for hearing before the Education Committee this year.

Nevertheless, we’ll try again next year. It’s too important an opportunity to pass up.

Meanwhile, there’s Schools for Safe Storage

Ira Sharp of Never Again is a steadfast and determined advocate for safety. He has put together Schools for Safe Storage, a web resource for sending out information on the safe storage of firearms.

Suppose you have school-aged children in California, or maybe you simply believe, as we do, that school districts have a central role to play in gun violence prevention (GVP). You can go to Schools for Safe Storage, enter your county, enter your school district, select a template, then select a method (email, postal, phone).

The site makes it easy for you to tell your superintendent that you want schools in your district to inform parents that they are responsible for gun safety at home.

While we continue to work for the passage of AB452 and similar bills, Schools for Safe Storage is a strong, grass-roots way to deliver your message.

The shortest path to safe storage is through the schools

Why is this important? Why now?

The recent uptick in headline-grabbing shootings has many American shaking their heads, yet again. But those events disappear quickly from your news feed and from the front page.

What never goes away, though, is the epidemic of daily gun violence, mostly affecting communities, families and homes you don’t see on the news.

With a few simple actions, you can tell your local school district it’s important to send out information to families about their responsibility to safely store firearms.

Here in Southern California, several school districts have already taken this action or have committed to doing so in the future, including San Diego Unified School District, Poway Unified, Solana Beach and La Mesa-Spring Valley. We thank the volunteers who have made this happen!

Contact your school district superintendent. Now!

Are you ready to start a campaign like this in your school district? Visit Schools for Safe Storage for tools you can use to get started in any district in California. Let us know if you contact your school district or if you have any questions about mounting a campaign like this. You can reach us at safestorageca@gmail.com.

This keeps guns safely stored at home, out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, and out of the schools.

What’s not to like about that?

Lori Van Orden is a volunteer with San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention.

photo credit: unmatched value