Hey California: 8 Ways to Prevent the Next School Shooting
Today, California has a chance to save lives and take the first big step toward the safest gun laws in the nation.
Bend the Arc is partnering with the Courage Campaign and a score of community and faith groups to support the Lifesaving Intelligent Firearms Enforcement (LIFE) Act, a series of bills in the California legislature to prevent gun violence.
More than 18,000 Californians illegally possess more than 36,000 guns. They have these guns despite committing dangerous crimes or being diagnosed with severe mental illness. The result: more than 1,220 Californians lost their lives to gun violence in 2011.
The NRA is planning a big rally outside the Capitol, and this is our chance to knock them back on their heels. Every legislator in the Capitol needs to know that we have their back when they stand up to the NRA, and that the LIFE Act has overwhelming public support.
What we do in California is more important now than ever to set an example of how to address our country's epidemic of gun violence.
One of the most important principles in Judaism is regard for life and, true to its name, the LIFE Act will protect our children and make our communities safer.
The LIFE Act includes eight bills, all backed by Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), including:
SB 140 (Leno/Steinberg) would give law enforcement the resources to confiscate the guns of Californians who are known to illegally possess them; currently there is an 18,000 person backlog;
SB 53 (de León) would require a background check for all ammunition purchases;
SB 47 (Yee) would close a loophole in California's assault weapons ban that allows guns with a "bullet button" to sneak through;
SB 396 (Hancock) would outlaw "mega-magazines" that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition;
SB 755 (Wolk) would expand the list of Californians who can't legally own guns to include those with multiple drug or alcohol convictions, or who have carried ammunition onto school grounds, or actively participated in street gangs;
SB 374 (Steinberg) would ban semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines and retroactively require an ownership record for all guns;
SB 683 (Block) would expand safety certificate requirements to long guns, rather than just handguns;
SB 567 (Jackson) would close a loophole in California's definition of an illegal shotgun to include a shotgun with a revolving cylinder and a rifled bore.
When you sign on as a citizen co-sponsor, you demand the attention of our elected representatives and assure them that public support for the LIFE Act is real and widespread.
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…