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Why I will keep ranting against gun violence

NCJW members met with Kansas representatives while attending ‘Gun Violence: A Public Health Issue’ last week. Attendees included Kansas Rep. Barbara Bollier; Ellen Portnoy, NCJW; Barbara Holzmark, NCJW; Kansas Rep. Linda Gallagher; Linda Sander, co-president NCJW; Carla Oppenheimer, past president NCJW; and Judy Sherry, president Grandparents Against Gun Violence. NCJW and Grandparents Against Gun Violence were two of the event’s co-sponsores.

Recently I continued my promise to work to stop gun violence by going to the Heartland Coalition Against Gun Violence Community Forum: “Gun Violence: A Public Health Issue.”

I belong to two organizations that helped to sponsor this event, National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Kansas City Section and Grandparents Against Gun Violence. 

Listening to Dr. Rex Archer, the director of Health for Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department, strengthened my resolve. {mprestriction ids="1,3"}He spoke of violence as a contagious disease that causes not only physical injury but moral injury as well. He stated that we had to stop gun violence as we reverse an epidemic. 

He stressed also that gun violence is usually not an action by people who are diagnosed with mental illness. He called this a “side-tracking issue, because without a gun you cannot do mass murder. Guns are the issue.” He added that the NRA is a front for the gun industry to lobby.  

I listened to lectures by many experts from both Kansas and Missouri who work with the victims of gun violence and who help to curb gun violence. They were excellent, explaining in detail what happens to those touched by gun violence and what can be done.

Lonnie and Sandy Phillips, parents of one of the 12 victims in the Colorado movie theater slaughter, made the most important presentation. I learned about the PLCAA Law that was signed by George W. Bush on Oct. 26, 2005. This law must be repealed!

The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act makes it impossible for any American citizen to sue a firearms manufacturer and dealer, or ammunitions manufacturer or dealer, for negligence when a crime has been committed. That’s right, they cannot be sued.

Sandy and Lonnie Phillips tried to sue the ammunitions dealer who sent the murderer of their daughter 4,000 rounds of steel-sided bullets that were shot six times into their daughter, Jessie. Killing her! They hit her legs, her abdomen, her clavicle and one to the head that blew off four inches of her face. 

When they tried to sue, not for money, but to get the dealer to have to do background checks, the case was dismissed because of the PLCAA Law. They now have to pay $200,000 in attorney fees to the dealer. Insanity!

I learned about the Kansas Law that goes into effect in July 2017 that allows guns on college campuses. Oh my God! Do you remember last year when Johnson County Community College was on lock down? My son was there. Locked in a room with his professor and other students. Hiding in a darkened room sitting quietly but texting. He came home after that experience stressed and saddened.

I asked Barbara Bollier, a Kansas state representative, “What happens after the law goes into effect if the school security sees someone with a gun?” There will be no lock down and no effort to stop the person with the gun until the person fires the gun! Insanity!

But it is more than that. Dr. Archer told us that 40 percent of all guns sold are sold without a background check because they are sold through the Internet, gun shows or personal sales. The background check loophole must be changed!

We must all take action.We must repeal PLCAA.We must repeal the Kansas Law and the Personal and Family Protection Act! We must vote to get the background check loophole repealed!

Our vote is our weapon against the public health issue of gun violence. We used our vote to stop smoking in public places. We used our vote to impact drunk driving. Now we must use our voices and our vote to end gun violence.

Do not be silent!

As Lonnie Phillips said, “If you don’t vote, you are part of the problem.”{/mprestriction}