A View From The Campaign – March 2021 – Many States, Many Fights
From the Executive Director
Unfortunately, since January 1st, we have lost over 10,000 American lives to gun violence from firearm suicides and homicides, including 119 mass shooting incidents taking place in 31 states around the country (www.gunviolencearchive.org) The recent mass shooting that targeted six Asian American women in Atlanta highlighted the continued barrage of hateful acts directed at members of the Asian American Pacific Islander community around the U.S. See our statementin response to the Atlanta murders written by our State Affairs Director, Kathryn Grant, which includes a moving message from our former legal counsel and current Georgia State Representative, Marvin Lim. While in Boulder, CO 10 people were murdered, including a police officer in another high profile mass shooting taking place in a grocery store.
We know that strong gun laws are an important component of a safer society and that states with the strongest gun laws have much lower gun death rates vs. their counterparts with weak gun laws. That said, we also know that legislation by itself is not the answer – we need cultural change in the US, where the normalization of guns being carried in public spaces, including our schools, colleges, houses of worship, libraries, etc. is not the type of society in which we aspire to live. To that end, The Campaign continues our work opposing the normalization by the gun lobby and the politicians doing their bidding to force guns in our educational spaces, houses of worship and other spaces.
This month we are talking about guns in houses of worship in Florida, guns on campus in Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma & West Virginia and voter suppression work in Georgia. We are also celebrating Women’s History Month by featuring three women who made a powerful impact in the areas of civil rights, labor rights and human rights.
We have recently relaunched our companion website: www.armedcampuses.org Check out the site, which provides a 50-state treatment of campus gun laws designed for parents, students, policy makers, and press.
We are excited to announce The Campaign has relaunched our research tool at ArmedCampuses.org. Click on overto see how your state stands with respect to concealed firearms on college campuses.
Updates from the States:
HB 259/SB498 Legislation would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to bring guns to religious institutions that share property with schools. The Campaign co-chairs The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, which is leading the fight against this legislation. Currently, a concealed weapons permittee can carry in a house of worship if permission is granted, but only in cases where no school is co-located. The bill has passed the House and is heading to the Senate floor. See this linkto our press conference on March 9th with the Florida PTA, Southern Poverty Law Center and The League of Women Voters of Florida. Floridians can take action by calling their State Senator.
HB 307 – A bill that would pre-empt schools, colleges/ universities and all municipalities from enacting gun laws will be voted on this week in the NH House. The Campaign is part of a broad coalition headed by GunSenseNH. Our main concern is if this bill is signed it would negatively impact NH’s colleges and universities, as well as K-12 public schools because these educational entities will not have the ability to regulate safety and will be forced to allow loaded, concealed handguns in their buildings and on their grounds. New Hampshire residents, click here to take action today!
SB 733 would change current law and force colleges, universities, technical career centers to allow loaded, concealed firearms on campus. At this point, the bill resides in the Senate Public Safety Committee. We believe that the bill will not move this year, but remain vigilant and need folks to reach out to their respective State Senators. If you live in Oklahoma, please click here to take actionwith our alert.
In our last newsletter we reported that HB 102, legislation to force guns on campus was signed by the Governor. A new development has taken place where the House approved an amendment offering the University System a one-time payment of $1 million, ostensibly for “security costs” associated with implementing the new law, provided that the University System agrees not to challenge law, which takes effect on June 1, 2021. Since the sponsors of the original legislation never included a fiscal note, we infer that this new funding could be viewed by some as blackmail. See news story here.
The legislature is winding down its work and we are tracking three bills, two of which would force the public colleges and universities to allow students (18+), faculty and visitors to carry loaded, concealed handguns on many parts of campus (with exceptions). Another bill would permit teachers and administrators to carry guns in K-12 schools after becoming Protective Resource Officers. West Virginians can take action here.
Women’s History Month
For Women’s History Month, The Campaign highlighted three great leaders who did not shy away from speaking truth to power.
Our Work Continues in Rural Georgia
Georgia was unfortunately center stage in the gun debate in March due to the horrific attack on the AAPI community in the Atlanta area. Please read our “Hate Multiplies Hate” statement condemning the attackwhich includes some very thought provoking words from GA State Rep. Marvin Lim, The Campaign’s former attorney. In other better news, HB 218 FAILED as the body recognized the passage of a bill loosening firearms restrictions would be seen as insensitive so close to the recent murders. Also, we congratulate State Affairs Director Kathryn Grant on her inclusion in Clear Strategy Group’s Women’s History Month Tribute to “Unsung Sheroes.”
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Keep up with all we do atThe Campaign To Keep Guns Off Campus. Follow our social media channels to keep up with the latest news and alerts. Share our work as well and add your voice to the fight for saner gun laws.
2021 is already a very busy year for The Campaign. We are fighting bad legislation in multiple states, while also raising awareness, encouraging civil engagement and even teaching under resourced communities the value of safe gun storage. We love doing this work, but we cannot do it without your help.
Click on over over to make your donation today. Please consider making your gift a recurring gift. Whether weekly, monthly or quarterly, your recurring gift helps keep our campaign on the march knowing we will have the resources to do what needs to be done. And even if you can only give this one time, please do it today.
We are truly grateful for every donation. You are helping take on those who would threaten the safety of our children, our students, our teachers and all of those in K-12 schools and college campuses.
Thank you for supporting our fight to Keep Guns Off Campus.