Gun Violence Prevention

The Gun Industry Created a New Consumer. Now It’s Killing Us.

Good marketing is supposed to generate demand. Bad firearms marketing has given us a national nightmare.By Ryan Busse

Black-and-white photo of a man carrying a rifle on his back at a gun show

Spencer Platt / Getty; The AtlanticJULY 25, 2022, 7 AM ETSHARE

About the author: Ryan Busse is the author of Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry That Radicalized America, and serves as a senior policy adviser to the gun-safety advocacy group Giffords.

Americans are rightly anguished by gun violence and the question of what’s motivating the young men who have committed a succession of horrific mass murders. We seem to be fumbling around for answers: Is it racism and radicalization, or untreated mental illness, or toxic video games, or too-easy access to guns? All of these may be parts of the problem, but equally none of them makes complete sense outside of the larger context: The gun industry’s modern marketing effort did not just arm these shooters; in a very real sense, it createdthem.

This is something I know a bit about, as someone who spent a quarter century in the business. Over my years as a rising executive with a successful gun manufacturer, I became more and more disturbed by the sort of firearms the industry was selling, how it was selling them, and to whom. Next week, I am testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at a hearing that, in the words of its chair, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, “will examine the role of gun manufacturers in flooding our communities with weapons of war and fueling America’s gun violence crisis.”

When I got my first job in the gun industry, in 1995, the marketing centered on hunting, target shooting, and responsible self-defense. Many advertisements evoked a love of craftsmanship and the outdoors, and some, like this 1995 Ruger ad, even directly addressed its customers as “responsible citizens”—a tagline the company dropped from its advertising in 2007.A Ruger rifle ad(Sturm, Ruger & Co.)

Companies such as the European American Armory, an importer of cheap, mostly Eastern European guns, that used cheesy ads—like this one from 2008—to sell imported guns were a rarity. Little did I realize that those tacky exceptions were the gun industry’s future.A European American Armory ad featuring a female model(European American Armory)

Those ads, designed to appeal to young men who knew no better, were the starting point for marketing that would create a new customer base and change our country forever.

This transformation received its first boost in the mid-aughts when President George W. Bush allowed the assault-weapons ban to sunset and then signed a bill that gave broad protection from liability to gunmakers. Combined, those moves reduced the social stigma and potential legal penalties for edgy marketing of military-style rifles. Over time, larger, more mainstream gunmakers began to experiment with marketing messages previously relegated to the disfavored fringe of the business.

Ryan Busse: The rifle that ruined America

Young men were the target. They had disposable income, a long customer life, and a readily exploited fascination with guns. The push to access these new customers took off in 2010 when the AR-15 maker Bushmaster launched its “Man Card” advertising campaign.A Bushmaster ad with a picture of a rifle and the words, "Consider your man card reissued."(Bushmaster Firearms International)

The ads, which ran in several gun-industry publications, on websites, and in Maxim magazine, were controversial and gained national attention. More important, they showed the rest of the industry the power of an appeal based on masculinity to the 18–35 male demographic, at a time when images from America’s foreign wars were airing constantly on the evening news.


“The Bushmaster Man Card declares and confirms that you are a Man’s Man, the last of a dying breed, with all the rights and privileges duly afforded,” the ad copy read. If you’re hearing there, in “dying breed,” an anticipatory echo of the “Great Replacement” theory that inspired the alleged killer in May’s mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, you’re not mistaken: The conclusion that this type of marketing has contributed to creating today’s radical violent extremists is inescapable.

Another echo: One of the guns used by the Buffalo shooter was a Bushmaster XM-15. Of course, the great majority of people who own this rifle have never done anything illegal with it, but one other exception is notorious. On December 14, 2012, a troubled young man from Newtown, Connecticut, used an XM-15 rifle to kill 20 children and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary. Bushmaster ended its “Man Card” campaign soon after the Sandy Hook massacre, but other gun manufacturers had taken notice of the company’s sales success.Price Match, from BPme RewardsSit back and save, with Price Match. We match gas prices up to 2 miles away, you can save at the pump.SPONSORED BY BPME REWARDSLearn more

Smith & Wesson was a more mainstream, traditional brand that chose to take a chance on marketing weapons nearly identical to those carried by soldiers and cops, which could legally be sold to the general public with minor modifications. Hence the name of its M&P15, essentially the same rifle it supplied to its military and police customers. With behind-the-scenes urging by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the main industry trade association, Smith & Wesson added Sport to its branding of the rifle—relying on the social acceptability of hunting and target practice to launder the lethality of the gun.A picture of a Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport II, including the gun's specifications and features(Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc.)

For Smith & Wesson’s move into the AR-15 market to pay off, the industry as a whole would need to shift from an older, more conservative reliance on hunting and self-defense to an approach dominated by the new tactical culture.

Graeme Wood: Think gun laws are hard to change? Try gun culture.

Few of this new breed of firearms company are more illustrative of the dramatic transformation that has taken place in the U.S. gun market than Daniel Defense. Like scores of entrepreneurs who saw this opportunity in the early 2000s, Marty Daniel started a gun company that soon turned to AR-15 sales. And he set a new industry standard by leaning into a civilian market for guns touted as the military real deal. One of the company’s early ads, in 2012, lured young men with the promise of being on par with Special Forces soldiers.

By 2016, Daniel Defense marketing was working so well that it won a coveted spot on the cover of Popular Mechanicsmagazine. The company’s press releaseproclaimed that the placement of its rifle in the “Tough Guys” issue was a “major accomplishment” because it would help Daniel Defense reach a “more mainstream audience.”A 2016 cover of Popular Mechanics magazine that features a Daniel Defense rifle(Hearst Magazines)

Like many other firearms companies, Daniel Defense also sought placement of its products in movies and video games. This Facebook post from 2019 alerts followers to the appearance of one of its DDM4 V7 rifles in the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game. The DDM4 V7 was used by the 18-year-old gamer turned shooter in Uvalde, Texas.

The gun industry could have shunned this type of promotional activity. Instead, it chose to penalize those who did. When Ed Stack, the then-longtime CEO of the major retail chain Dick’s Sporting Goods, stopped selling AR-15s after the Parkland school murders, the NSSF moved swiftlyto expel Dick’s from its membership. By contrast, in 2021 the foundation honored Marty Daniel with a seat on its industry board of governors.By adopting such aggressive marketing, companies like Daniel Defense dragged older, more established companies into using similar strategies. With the norm-breaking of the boldest setting the trend and demonstrably creating new consumers, the rest had to follow.

By 2016, publicly traded gun-industry stalwarts such as Ruger and Smith & Wesson were deeply dependent on the emerging tactical market; by 2020, Smith & Wesson’s M&P15 had become America’s best-selling rifle. Not surprisingly, the company’s stock price soared—even as its customer base grew to include the young killers in the mass shootings at Parkland, Florida; Aurora, Colorado; and Highland Park, Illinois.

For an insider like me, the part that industry marketing was playing in creating these customers was unmistakable. The danger signs were evident in places like the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, the industry’s marquee annual event. Usually held in Las Vegas, the SHOT Show is one of the world’s largest trade conventions. I attended more than 25 of them and witnessed their transformation—from an event that once prohibited the display of militaristic tactical gear to one where that became the default.An ad from Spike's Tactical that shows armed men and reads, "Not today antifa" (Spike’s Tactical)

At the show in 2018, I noticed a huge ad for Spike’s Tactical, an up-and-coming AR-15 maker from Florida. Although this event was more than two years away from the protests and violence that erupted in American cities in the summer of 2020, the ad encapsulated an explicit appeal to those drawn toward armed confrontation with left-wing agitators. Antifa had a limited national profile before 2017, when its members were among counterprotesters at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, but Spike’s quickly identified it as the enemy of loyal gun-owning Americans. The ad elicited some criticism, but the industry was silent.

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In June 2020, when towns across America saw Black Lives Matter rallies and armed counterprotests, my own 12-year-old son was assaulted by an armed man dressed like a character from the Spike’s ad. I had to jump in to protect my son, who was doing nothing more than chanting “I can’t breathe” with a group of his friends, when one of those gun-toting goons started screaming uncontrollably and jabbing at his chest. More than 100 armed men like him were at that rally.

In that instant, my fears for what the industry was doing became very personal. I did not myself sell AR-15s or participate in the incendiary marketing, but I could no longer ignore the fact that my business was profiting from promoting images of such men, with their backward-facing ball caps and loaded AR-15 rifles. This type of vigilante or self-styled militiaman was preparing to deploy across the country, in our hometown, or other hometowns like Kenosha, Wisconsin.A photo of Kyle Rittenhouse carrying a Smith & Wesson M&P 15(Adam Rogan / The Journal Times / AP)

Kyle Rittenhouse, a boy who also looked as though he had been plucked from that Spike’s ad, killed two people, and wounded a third, during unrest in Kenosha. Most Americans were horrified at this spectacle, but to the gun industry, he was a hero, someone who took “owning the libs” to a deadly and lucrative new level.  

Hours after Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges, Big Daddy Unlimited, a major firearms retailer based in Gainesville, Florida, sent out a social-media post that appeared to endorse the view that Rittenhouse was not a cautionary tale but a masculine ideal of armed citizenry—as the Fox News host Tucker Carlson put it, “exactly the kind of person you’d want more of in your country.”Price Match, from BPme RewardsSit back and save, with Price Match. We match gas prices up to 2 miles away, you can save at the pump.SPONSORED BY BPME REWARDSLearn more

As I discovered, Big Daddy Unlimited’s post contained another, yet more sinister meaning. I would have missed it if I had not recalled seeing someone wearing a make zimbabwe rhodesia again ball cap at the 2018 SHOT Show. A friend then reminded me of the Facebook profile image of the mass murderer of nine Black parishioners in a South Carolina church, in which he is seen wearing a jacket decorated with a Rhodesian flag—iconography much celebrated by U.S. white supremacists. Variations of this image from a famous Rhodesian-army recruiting poster crop up across all the main social-media platforms.

A Rhodesian-army recruiting poster that reads: "Be a man among men"

The similarity between the Rhodesian-army poster and the Florida retailer’s Rittenhouse social post is too obvious to miss. (Big Daddy Unlimited’s CEO told The New York Times that the meme had been created by a former employee who was unaware of its historical significance and that it was meant only “to recognize justice for Kyle Rittenhouse.”) The retailer aims to be “the premier online destination” for more than 300,000 firearm products and advertises itself to subscribers as a Second Amendment defender: “Join our Revolution today!”

The lionization of Kyle Rittenhouse tapped into something powerful already under way: Fear of rioters and the power to kill them was proving a winning formula for creating new customers. Wilson Combat, an Arkansas gunmaker, was one company poised to take advantage of public anxiety about civil strife, advertising on its website an AR-15 model marketed as the Urban Super Sniper. “There are times when extreme accuracy and rapid follow-up shots are the most important criteria when selecting a rifle,” the site proclaims.A promotional photo of Wilson Combat's "Urban Super Sniper"(

Even the mainstream publication Firearms News had taken up the theme in last year’s edition of its magazineBe Ready!A cover of Be Ready! magazine that depicts a father wielding a rifle as two men are about to attack his family(

The old responsible industry prohibitions were gone. Everywhere I looked, I saw advertisements that played on the new fear-based tactical culture. In the final months of my gun-industry career, I snapped photos to document the change, such as is evident in this banner from the tactical-gear maker Viktos, above a main entrance to the 2020 SHOT Show. Its combination of fire from a modern AR-15 and a Revolutionary War soldier is a historical mash-up we saw repeated with spooky exactitude at the January 6 Capitol riot a year later, when insurrectionists acted on a “1776 Returns”plan and waved come and take it AR-15 flags.An ad by Viktos displayed at the 2020 SHOT Show, which depicts a Revolutionary War soldier firing a modern-day rifle(Courtesy of the author)

Gun sales have soared to historic highs over the past three years. Those sales have only confirmed the industry’s strategy for achieving growth, and so the marketing effort has become only more addicted to conspiracy-theory-fueled political partisanship. One new company, Live Q or Die, began trading on the QAnon cult by selling Q-branded AR-15s (the letter is stamped on the lower receiver of this model advertised on the company’s website).An illustration of a "Q"-branded AR-15 made by Live Q or Die(

Another company, Palmetto State Armory, has used imagery clearly designed to appeal to the Boogaloo Bois, which the FBI has identified as a far-right, domestic terrorist threat, with products such as this AK-47-style pistol decorated in a “Big Igloo Aloha” pattern that closely resembles the group’s signature aloha shirts.An image of a floral-themed AK-47-style pistol sold by Palmetto State Armory(Palmetto State Armory)

Palmetto State Armory—which is both a major retailer, enjoying the support of big brands like Smith & Wesson, and a manufacturer in its own right, producing tens of thousands of firearms each year—also sells AR-15 parts that carry the anti-Biden slogan “Let’s go, Brandon.”

Palmetto State Armory is far from alone in pitching to violent extremists. Much of that now happens through social-media posts like this one from a leading tactical-gear company that shows a masked gunman wearing a Boogaloo-like shirt and smoking a cigar, which has become a motif of the Proud Boys—includinginside the Capitol on January 6.

By 2021, I had quit the gun industry. I now work on the outside to alert the American public to the dangers I see in this marketing. To me, it undeniably created a culture of extremism that encouraged a new type of “tactical” mass shooter. America is seeing the deadly results of the violence incubated by these dark advertising fantasies.

As for the once-anomalous practice in the industry of using sex to sell products to young men, this is now ubiquitous among the hundreds of companies that sell tactical gear such as helmets, bulletproof vests, and “Contractor AF” (as fuck) pants.

One could be forgiven for wondering how the gun industry could possibly make things worse, now that so many troubled adolescent males have had their “Man Cards” issued, but I’ve learned that it can. After Kyle Rittenhouse, a new industry mascot is coming into view: the tactical toddler set to become the new gun-marketing trend.

A few months ago, the 2022 SHOT Show in Vegas welcomed a pioneer in the field: Wee1 Tactical is a company that uses cartoons to market JR-15s (Junior AR-15s) to kids. Customers flocked to its booth, and the company was named on some “best of” show lists.An information sheet for Wee1 Tactical's "JR-15" rifle(Wee1 Tactical)

On May 16, Daniel Defense posted a photo of a toddler cradling one of its AR-15s, captioned with a Bible verse beginning “Train up a child in the way he should go.” Just over a week later, schoolchildren in Uvalde were mutilated and murdered by shots fired from a Daniel Defense rifle. Since the shooting at Robb Elementary, this image has been vociferously criticized, but not by the firearms industry or the NSSF, which still counts Marty Daniel among its trusted leaders. To the rest of the industry, including those small companies hungry to make their mark, this complicit silence confers approval for this next step in firearms marketing.A Twitter post by Daniel Defense featuring a Bible verse and an image of a toddler holding a rifle(Twitter @DanielDefense)

Through bitter experience, we know what today’s typical mass shooter looks like and where he’s taking his cultural cues from. Now the industry is giving us a glimpse of its next customer: the American child soldier.Ryan Busse is the author of Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry That Radicalized America, and serves as a senior policy adviser to the gun-safety advocacy group Giffords.

Video recording of the GVP Interfaith Vigil
Video Recording of the GVP Meeting with Maggie Trevor
Wesley Gross, 30, of Virginia Beach at the Richmond rally. (Julia Rendleman/The Washington Post)
Wesley Gross, 30, of Virginia Beach at the Richmond rally. (Julia Rendleman/The Washington Post)
Jan. 20, 2020 at 3:14 p.m. CST

RICHMOND — Y’all, it smelled like fear out here in Virginia.

Scores of men — plus a handful of women — dressed up in battle rattle and draped themselves with assault weapons, long guns and handguns on Monday. They strapped hunting knives to their thighs and wore body armor and body cameras on their chests, shoulders and helmets.

To a rally. A peaceful rally. On city streets in a quiet state capital on a holiday weekend.

That’s a uniform of fear, right there.

Fear of having to pass a background check if they want to buy a gun from a private individual?

Fear of not being able to buy more than one handgun every month?

Gun rights activists descend on Virginia capital
Thousands of gun rights supporters traveled to Richmond on Jan. 20 for a rally to oppose gun-control proposals. (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)

Fear of not being able to carry an AR-15 across your chest to a county fair that doesn’t want your weapon aboard the Tilt-a-Whirl?

Fear of getting help taking a gun away from your suicidal son?

Because those are all the restrictions on guns that the Virginia House of Delegates passed last week.

Members of the Ohio Patriots, a militia group. From left: Derek Steward, Hank Steward and Corey Seals in Richmond on Jan. 20. (Julia Rendleman/The Washington Post)


Members of the Ohio Patriots, a militia group. From left: Derek Steward, Hank Steward and Corey Seals in Richmond on Jan. 20. (Julia Rendleman/The Washington Post)

The outsized turnout, vigor and rancor in Richmond on Monday — thousands of demonstrators filled the Capitol grounds and surrounding streets — is a reaction based on fear, not fact.

And the fear is all about a loss of power.

“It happened like that,” a man dressed in full camo with a handgun strapped to his hip told his friend, snapping his finger. “We were good for years, then the left took over and they’re going to take our guns away. Virginia is the home of the NRA. They want to run them out, too.”

Be honest, people. Most law-abiding, regular old Virginians could still have a weapon — many weapons, even — under the common-sense legislation that the new Democratic majority in Richmond is passing.

The annual rally supporting unregulated gun ownership in Virginia was huge this year, whipped up by a tweet from President Trump warning: “Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away..”

Besides thousands of people who went through security to adhere to the emergency order banning weapons on Capitol grounds, thousands more who decided they couldn’t be without their weapons encircled the Capitol.

Huge assault weapons strapped across chests and backs knocked against each other in the port-a-potty lines. Some walked in a masked phalanx, bookended by German shepherds.

One group pushed through crowds in a conga line of camo and Carhartt, holding on to each other as they muscled through a crush of people. “Racist, white supremacists coming through,” one line leader bellowed, laughing, like everyone should know he really isn’t racist.

The fears that the demonstration would turn into another Charlottesville were also unfounded. Last week, the FBI arrested three men suspected of being members of a neo-Nazi hate group who stockpiled weapons and allegedly discussed sparking a race war at the Richmond rally.

Counterprotesters were urged by their leaders to avoid the rally. The Moms (who) Demand Action — the group that worked hard to help flip the state’s legislature from red to blue — didn’t show up with their shirts and signs. The families of people killed in massacres avoided the scene. The rowdies who like to clash with everyone Netflixed and chilled.

That helped keep the peace.

But it also meant there were no counterprotesters there to explain that requiring safety checks that still make owning a gun easier than driving a car are not a wholesale assault on the Second Amendment.

Billy Byrd, 55, said he doesn’t really mind the background check. He’s a retired police officer who lives in Williamsburg. But he said he wants to have weapons to protect his family.

“I called the cops the other day and it took them 30 minutes to get there,” Byrd said. “In 30 minutes my whole family could’ve been killed.”

Did he call police because someone was trying to kill his whole family?

“No, someone was there taking pictures of the inside of my son’s car,” he said. “The VIN number.”

Tim (who feared giving me his last name) is a 47-year-old IT guy from North Carolina who owns “more [weapons] than I’m comfortable telling you.” He also didn’t really have a problem with the idea of background checks. But it’s the principle of any kind of legislation or regulation he opposes. And fears.

“Criminals will have guns,” he said.

All of the men I talked to were also solidly opposed to “red-flag laws,” which allow a concerned family member or the police to ask for the temporary removal of weapons from someone who may be dangerous to themselves or others.

“I can just tell the cops that a guy I hate is dangerous, and they’ll go take all his guns. It can happen to me,” one guy told me.

Nope. That may be what he fears. But the red-flag law requires a state court to be petitioned and a judge to weigh in on whether taking the gun is appropriate.

Let me spell it out: The people who lobby for red-flag laws are usually those who lost a loved one to suicide.

Thirty percent of gun deaths in Virginia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are homicides.

A much larger percentage — 67 percent of all gun deaths in the state — are suicides.

The suicide-by-gun rate — about two a day in Virginia — takes primarily rural, white males over the age of 45, according to numbers compiled by America’s Health Rankings. And veterans are 1.5 times as likely to take their lives in Virginia.

That almost perfectly describes the demographic at the gun rally in Richmond.

Think about it, guys. The biggest thing you have to fear, when it comes to guns, is yourselves, actually.

It would be pretty brave to talk about that.

_ ____________
Camp Sheilah is …
 September 6-8, 2019 in Frankfort, Illinois
Fun!! Enjoy rock climbing, basketball, a zip line, crafts, a camp BBQ, s’mores around a campfire and much, much more!
Each Jr. Explorer is matched with an Explorer (an adult who shares similar interests)
Small group discussions are led by a Licensed Therapist (we call them Journey Leaders)
All meals provided
Stay all weekend – from 4:30 p.m. Friday until 3 p.m. Sunday
Location: Camp Manitoqua at 8428 W Sauk Trail in Frankfort, IL
Completely free
You can learn more about Camp Sheilah and the Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation here:
The camp ends with a Moving Forward Ceremony. 
A volunteer photographer will participate during the weekend including during the one-day, parent/guardian program.  All parents/guardians of campers are invited to participate.
Julie says Camp Sheilah can serve as many kids as they have volunteers.  So they are asking for volunteers from the ILGVP Coalition. The ideal situation would be to have more volunteers than campers. Then, they would not have to turn anyone away.
There are three types of volunteers:
Explorer Volunteers – These are mentors who are matched up with campers.  To be an Explorer, you must be at least 21 years of age and attend the volunteer training on Saturday, July 27 (See flyer below for more info.)
Journey helpers are volunteers who are not matched up with kids but provide background support. To be a Journey Helper, you must be in high school and attend the volunteer training on Saturday, July 27 (See flyer below for more info.)
Scout helpers are volunteers who are not matched up with kids but provide background support. To be a Journey Helper, you must be in high school and attend the volunteer training on Saturday, July 27 (See flyer below for more info.
More details on the volunteer training:
It’s a 6-hour training – Therapist will be there – and volunteers will have an opportunity to meet and talk with the Doyle family – The training will include a taste for what a healing circle is – This training is for EVERYONE – all types of volunteers.  You are not committing at all by coming to the training – we want everyone to feel good about what they are doing – so if you come to the training, you don’t have to follow through for the camp.
Also – PLEASE refer kids who are survivors of homicide to the camp – help make them aware of this opportunity
For more information about how to volunteer – and to refer kids who are survivors of homicide to help make them aware of this opportunity – or to support in some other way this year’s Camp Sheilah, please contact Julie at: –  ‭(734) 626-3873‬
For more information about the Firearm Restraining Order, here is the website:


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Free online course from Johns Hopkins now available! Johns Hopkins’s MOOC – Reduing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change. Open to everyone!

How to Enroll:

Go to

Create a user profile. Search for “Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for “Change” or “Hopkins” or “gun violence.” Once you have found the course on Coursera, follow the prompts to enroll. There is no cap on enrollment or designated sighup period. The course will be accessible on Coursera indefinitely. You can audit the course for free. Auditing gives you access to lectures, readings and ungraded assessments. You are not required to complete any of the assignments.


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Northwest Suburbs Organizing for Action,

Your hard-earned dollars should not support the unregulated gun industry. It’s just that simple.

That’s why we’re proud to announce that we’re joining a growing coalition of gun violence survivors, teachers, students, medical professionals, and ordinary Americans to push the 15 largest commercial banks to publicly announce that they will stop doing business with the firearm manufacturers until that industry can be fundamentally reformed.

Go to to find out how your bank measures up and take action.

The truth is, firearm manufacturers are flooding our communities with militarized high-capacity handguns, assault rifles, pistols, and rifles, increasing the lethality of armed encounters and empowering mass killers. Six-shot revolvers have been replaced by high-capacity “pocket rocket” semiautomatic pistols. Fifty caliber sniper rifles are sold at every gun shop. The result is lives lost, families destroyed, and communities traumatized.

“Is Your Bank Loaded?” brings together key stakeholders including Newtown Action Alliance, Guns Down America, Survivors Empowered, Color of Change, This Is Our Lane, American Federation of Teachers and Violence Policy Center to push America’s largest banks to stop supporting these reckless business practices. We reviewed public financial and legal filings to determine how much business the nation’s 15 largest banks have conducted with gun manufacturers, the NRA, and the top recipients of NRA contributions in Congress. Based on this information, we have graded the banks on a 100-point scale.

The truth is, you as a bank customer have enormous leverage to ask your bank to live up to its own corporate values and stop investing in guns. Find out where your bank stands. Go to and take action.


Q: What about firearm manufacturers that provide firearms to our military or police?

A: This campaign is a response to the growing trend of firearm manufacturers deliberately producing products of increased lethality in order to sell new guns to an already saturated civilian gun market. Firearm manufacturers that do business with the military or the policy enter into discrete government contracts that are unrelated to its civilian business. A firearm manufacturer that cannot distinguish its military products from its civilian business lines is one that is producing deadly military-grade weapons in the hands of civilians and must immediately be subject to an investigation.

Q: Why would banks just stop doing business with a legal American industry?

A: Banks turn away risky clients all the time and many have stopped doing business with pawn shops, payday lenders, and other questionable companies. This campaign argues that the dangerous and reckless behavior of the firearm industry — and its almost complete lack of federal oversight — requires financial institutions to live up to the expectations of their customers, shareholders, and the communities they serve and do everything in their power to keep militarized weapons off our streets.

Q: How can individuals or institutions take part in this campaign?

A: Any American with a bank account — regardless of whether they live in a blue state or red state, a state represented by a gun control advocate or not — can participate in a large effort designed to weaken the gun industry. Some actions include:

    • Film a digital video asking the CEO of your bank to break ties with the gun industry. (GDA will provide sample language and tips)
    • Start a sign-on letter with your neighbors and community leaders urging banks to establish a new paradigm in corporate leadership and help protect the communities and customers they serve from gun violence. (GDA will provide sample language)
    • Social media amplification of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram of campaign assets (GDA will provide and help customize assets)
    • Social media campaigns urging your networks to contact their bank and ask that institution to stop doing business with the gun industry. (GDA will provide sample language and bank contact information)
    • On-the-ground actions in front of bank branches or headquarters (GDA can help coordinate and generate earned press)
  • Organizing any institution you are a part of — schools, colleges, cities, counties — to pressure their banks to stop doing business with the gun industry. Institutions that bank with highly-rated banks could also be asked to put out a public statement stating that they are proud to bank with a bank that shares its values and is dedicated to building a future with fewer guns. (GDA can

Thank you for your help!

Po Murray
Newtown Action Alliance

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After the NRA deleted their archive of lawmaker ratings, a top gun safety group steps in to help

Gettyimages 951565250

Last week the Washington Post discovered that the National Rifle Association had, without explanation, quietly erased their online database tracking lawmaker “grades” on gun issues. The organization had long assigned letter grades to elected officials based on their compliance with each NRA demand; those that voted against new gun legislation or voted for new attempts to weaken gun safety laws got “A” grades, and lawmakers who did not bend to their demands got lower grades.

There was no announcement from the NRA; the ratings were simply gone. Was it an error? Was it intended? The only comment that could be pried from the domestic terrorism lobbying group was an anonymous staffer who opined “I think our enemies were using that.”

But there’s good news, NRA! One of the nation’s leading gun safety groups has helpfully reconstructed the list and made it available to the public! Aren’t you happy?

The grades, which thanks to the group Everytown for Gun Safety are now available for download here, stretch back to 2009. You can use it to find out that House Speaker Paul Ryan has gotten an A or A+ rating from the NRA every time they have graded him, making him a loyal foot soldier in the effort to protect mass shooters from unfair gun restrictions. Marco Rubio got a shameful, shameful B+ during his 2010 Senate bid, but thanks to some good and proper toadying was able to pop up to an A+ rating by the time 2016 rolled around. Rick Scott earned the same cherished A+ rating during his own last campaign—and it’s probably only a coincidence that some of the most horrific mass murders in America have happened under his watch, in his state.

Aren’t you just thrilled, National Rifle Association? These grades will no longer be lost to history. Everyone will be able to once again look up whether their lawmaker has been a sniveling coward catering to the domestic terrorism lobby or a voice, at long sodding last, for basic sanity. And you won’t even have to pay for it! That’s probably important, seeing how you’ve been so hard up for cash of late that you’ve had to ask your Russian friends to help you with your usual campaign efforts.


The country’s largest doctor group just took its most aggressive stance on gun control yet

The AMA overwhelmingly voted to get behind a slew of gun control measures this week.

The American Medical Association (AMA), the US’s largest physician group, officially endorsed a variety of gun control measures on Tuesday.

According to Lindsey Tanner at the Associated Press, the AMA, which represents nearly a quarter of the US’s physicians, backed several new gun laws at its annual policy meeting. Here are some examples, from the AP:

  • A minimum age requirement of 21 to own or buy guns and ammo
  • Licensing and safety course requirements for gun owners
  • Registration requirements for all firearms
  • Closing loopholes that allow people with a legal history of domestic abuse to buy or own guns
  • Measures that allow courts, upon a relative’s request, to remove guns from homes in which a person is imminently violent or suicidal
  • Better training of doctors on screening suicide risk

Support for the policy platform was overwhelming — with a vote of 446 to 99 that included backing from some doctors who own guns, according to the AP.

In the past, the AMA has backed other gun control approaches. As the AP reported, “it has supported past efforts to ban assault weapons; declared gun violence a public health crisis; backed background checks, waiting periods and better funding for mental health services; and pressed for more research on gun violence prevention.”

But the latest vote signals a more aggressive approach by the AMA as gun violence gets more attention due to high-profile mass shootings, such as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February.

There’s good reason for that extra attention: The US still far outpaces its developed peers when it comes to gun violence. And the research suggests that the nation’s lax gun laws are a major reason for the higher rates of gun deaths.

America’s unique gun violence problem

The US has nearly six times the gun homicide rate of Canada, more than seven times that of Sweden, and nearly 16 times that of Germany, according to United Nations data compiled by the Guardian. (These gun deaths are a big reason America has a much higher overall homicide rate, which includes non-gun deaths, than other developed nations.)

Javier Zarracina/Vox

Mass shootings actually make up a small fraction of America’s gun deaths, constituting less than 2 percent of such deaths in 2016. But America does see a lot of these horrific events: According to CNN, “The US makes up less than 5% of the world’s population, but holds 31% of global mass shooters.”

So why is the US such an outlier? Researchers widely believe it’s due to America’s tremendous abundance of and access to guns. According to estimates, in 2007 the number of civilian-owned firearms in the US was 88.8 guns per 100 people, meaning there was almost one privately owned gun per American and more than one per American adult. The world’s second-ranked country was Yemen, a quasi-failed state torn by civil war, where there were 54.8 guns per 100 people.

The research, compiled by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Research Center, is clear: After controlling for variables such as socioeconomic factors and other crime, places with more guns have more gun deaths. Researchers have found this to be true not just with homicides but also with suicides (which in recent years accounted for around 60 percent of US gun deaths), domestic violence, and even violence against police.

As a breakthrough analysis by UC Berkeley’s Franklin Zimring and Gordon Hawkins in the 1990s found, it’s not even that the US has more crime than other developed countries. This chart, based on data from Jeffrey Swanson at Duke University, shows that the US is not an outlier when it comes to overall crime:

Instead, the US appears to have more lethal violence — and that’s driven in large part by the prevalence of guns.

”A series of specific comparisons of the death rates from property crime and assault in New York City and London show how enormous differences in death risk can be explained even while general patterns are similar,” Zimring and Hawkins wrote. “A preference for crimes of personal force and the willingness and ability to use guns in robbery make similar levels of property crime 54 times as deadly in New York City as in London.”

This is in many ways intuitive: People of every country get into arguments and fights with friends, family, and peers. But in the US, it’s much more likely that someone will get angry at an argument and be able to pull out a gun and kill someone.

Stronger gun laws could help combat this. A 2016 review of 130 studies in 10 countries, published in Epidemiologic Reviews, found that new legal restrictions on owning and purchasing guns tended to be followed by a drop in gun violence — a strong indicator that restricting access to guns can save lives. A review of the US evidence by RAND also linked some gun control measures, including background checks, to reduced injuries and deaths.

But the US maintains some of the weakest gun laws in the developed world. Until America confronts that issue, it will continue seeing more shootings than the rest of the developed world.

For more on America’s gun problem, read Vox’s explainer.


Pennsylvania eighth graders issued bulletproof backpack plates as graduation gift

Pennsylvania eighth graders issued bulletproof backpack plates as graduation gift

Fox 29

The entire graduating class at a Pennsylvania middle school was gifted bulletproof backpack plates as they prepare to head to high school next year.

Students at St. Cornelius in Chadds Ford, Pa., were outfitted with the “ballistic shields” thanks to a donation from a local company, according to Fox 29. The report notes that Unequal Technologies developed the ultra-thin shield and designed a 10-by-12-inch plate that can slip into a backpack.

The bulletproof backpack plates were also handed out to 25 faculty members at the school.

“I never thought I’d need this,” one student told Fox 29.

But parents and guardians of students told the news outlet that while a bulletproof backpack may be extreme, it’s necessary.

“You hear about these school shootings almost weekly, and I can’t believe that’s where we are in our nation today, but that’s the fact,” said one great-grandparent.

Unequal president Rob Vito argued handguns and shotguns are “useless” against a product like the one the company gifted the students.

The gift comes as recent deadly school shootings in places like Parkland, Fla. and Santa Fe, Texas, draw further attention to school safety.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) recently unveiled a new proposal that calls, in part, for the funding of firearms training programs for school officials.


The state of gun violence in the US, explained in 18 charts – VOX


The 4 Most Overpowered Weapons In ‘Fortnite: Battle Royale’ Right Now – Forbes


‘Good Morning America’: Should Parents Worry About ‘Fortnite?’ The show did a segment today about the time children spend playing the game


Guns banned from NRA event during Mike Pence address



First, thank you for all you have done, up against incredible odds, to do the right thing in serving as an advocate for the safety of our families and communities by fighting to make the Gun Dealer Licensing Act (SB 1657) the law in Illinois.

Over the last year we launched an aggressive grassroots and digital campaign to reach tens of thousands of residents across Illinois to engage them around this common-sense legislation that would place basic safety measures in place at gun dealer shops throughout the state, and keep thousands of illegal guns out of our communities. Thanks to the hard work of this coalition, people across Illinois joined forces to support passage of this bill. Republicans, democrats, conservatives, independents and even gun owners agreed this bill is the right thing to do. And the legislature listened to them, passing it out of both the House and the Senate.

Instead of signing this legislation into law, Governor Rauner sided with the gun lobby over the safety of families, children and law enforcement officers by vetoing this bill.

Even though we’re not able to meet the override deadline set forth in state law to reverse the governor’s veto, we’re not done yet.

We are joining Senator Harmon, the lead sponsor of SB 1657, who is re-introducing the substance of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act as an amendment to an existing bill, SB 337. We will join him to immediately start the work needed to gather support for this bill.

We will call on you again to join us in putting the safety of our families and communities before that of the gun lobby in the coming days and weeks ahead. It’s our one job to keep our children safe and we remain united in the commitment.

Thank you,

Colleen Daley                          Kathleen Sances

Executive Director                President &CEO

ICHV                                          GPAC


Mei-Ling HO-Shing from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School addresses the Illinois Education Association Representative Assembly 4-20-2018


I want a gun policy to defend myself — from suicide – VOX


Dick’s Sporting Goods will destroy assault-style rifles pulled from shelves

When Dick’s Sporting Goods said it would no longer sell modern sporting rifles at its Field & Stream stores following the Valentine’s Day shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school, one question was what would happen to the unsold firearms in its inventory.

Typically a retailer may return unsold merchandise to the manufacturer. But in this case, Dick’s Sporting Goods has decided to destroy them.

“We are in the process of destroying all firearms and accessories that are no longer for sale as a result of our February 28th policy change,” a spokeswoman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We are destroying the firearms in accordance with federal guidelines and regulations.”

The so-called assault-style rifles will be destroyed at the company’s distribution centers and the parts sent to a salvage company to be recycled, the Findlay-based retailer added. The company did not say how much merchandise would be included.

Stephanie Ritenbaugh

The new gun sales policy at Dick’s Sporting Goods had backing from the Sisters of Mercy

In addition to the decision on pulling assault-style rifles from its 35 specialty Field & Stream locations, the sporting goods chain said in February that it  also would no longer sell high capacity magazines or sell firearms to anyone under 21 years old following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Dick’s is facing two lawsuits over the new age limit on firearm purchases.

This is not the first time that the sporting goods retailer has changed its gun sale policies.

Following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the retailer had pulled modern sporting rifles from its namesake stores nationwide. When it later opened its specialty Field & Stream stores, it introduced the modern sporting rifles to its product line there.

The company did not comment on what it did with the firearms it pulled from its Dick’s stores in 2012.

Stephanie Ritenbaugh:; 412-263-4910; Twitter: @StephanieRit

Town Hall 1

The April 7, IL06 Town Hall for Our Lives in Glen Ellyn was an incredible achievement by the students from three area high schools who organized it. The students invited Rep. Peter Roskam, who declined along with every Republican member of congress nationwide. Democratic candidate, Sean Casten, answered scores of questions on gun violence prevention from students and other attendees.

You can watch the entire Town Hall here. Also, take a look at WGN’s coverage, or the MySuburbanLife article. The event was a lead story on the nightly news across the Chicago TV networks.



Judge: Assault weapons ban doesn’t violate 2nd Amendment – AP


Illinois town votes to ban assault rifles, fine violators up to $1,000 per day – CBS News


SEVEN STEPS. 27,000 LIVES. The Boston Globe


Local March For Our Lives Rallies Are Saturday “The voices for the March for Our Lives are those of the generation that grew up with mass shootings.” Libertyville Patch


Deerfield Moves Forward With Assault Weapons Ban: An assault weapons ban could take effect before the end of May in Deerfield, as trustees unanimously approved a staff recommendation Monday


Fellow Illinoisan,


The clear question we have in America today is whether we’ve reached a tipping point when it comes to gun violence. It’s only been 15 days since the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, but look at what’s happened since. Of course, there’s been outrage, sadness and mourning for the families that lost wonderful students, teachers and administrators. But, beyond that, we’ve seen students and young people across the country changing the debate about gun violence. They are making clear how absurd it is for lawmakers to do nothing when Americans are getting shot every day in their homes, neighborhoods, at church, at a nightclub, at a concert, and at school. They are fed up with politicians in Washington who ignore the overwhelming majority of Americans who want common sense gun reforms and instead listen to a paranoid, bullying gun sales lobby. Enough is enough.


This week, I welcomed students from Stoneman Douglas High School  into my office to discuss what steps we’d like to see Congress take that can help prevent gun violence tragedies. While there is no single reform that could stop every shooting, we know there are big gaps in our gun laws that make it easy for criminals, abusers, troubled children, and mentally unstable people to get guns—even military-style assault weapons with bump stocks. We need to start closing these gaps, and that requires the Republicans who control Congress to finally stand up to the NRA and do something about it. Students and businesses are showing leadership in working to reduce gun violence, it’s now up to Republicans in Congress to do the same.




We did it! Thanks to you, we put the by safety of children and families first by standing firm against the gun lobby in Springfield and achieving a historic victory to help stop illegal firearms from flowing into communities across Illinois.

In passing the landmark Gun Dealer Licensing Act this afternoon with strong bipartisan support, the Illinois House sends to the governor’s desk a bill that will literally save the lives of children, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters across Illinois.

SB 1657 also marks passage of the first major state legislation aimed at reducing gun violence in the U.S. since the tragic mass shooting in Parkland, FL earlier this month; and it would not have been possible without broad, bipartisan support among legislators, a winning alliance of more than 130 organizations in the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, and like-minded residents across Illinois who flooded their State Representatives and State Senators with thousands of emails, social media posts and phone calls urging them to do #OurOneJob and put the safety and well-being of children ahead of the gun lobby.

Your efforts helped build momentum that carried us through the final hours before today’s historic vote. Yesterday morning, the NRA witness slips far outnumbered those of our supporters in House committee. But our supporters and allies rallied, and by midday, we had bested the NRA by 800 or more slips in support across five bills, a show of strength and a reminder of the power we have when we work together for a just and common cause.

We have achieved a great victory together, but our work is not yet complete. Governor Rauner must sign this bill into law and we won’t rest until that is done. But today, hold your head high and rest assured that your leadership made our communities free and safe and gun violence.

Colleen Daley, Representative Kathy Willis, Kathleen Sances


Colleen Daley                          Kathleen Sances

Executive Director                President &CEO

ICHV                                          GPAC


Prompted by public outcry, Arlington Heights urges state to pass more gun control measures – Chicago Tribune – Arlington Heights Post


Arlington Heights Board Sent Letter Calling for Stronger Gun Control – VAH


How To Talk With Kids About Terrible Things – NPR Ed


‘We, As a Country, Need to Do More to End These Senseless Shootings’ Says NEA President – NEA Today


Oregon legislature passes bill strengthening state’s gun laws – The Hill


States form gun safety coalition to share background check data – MSNBC


Supreme Court leaves in place California’s 10-day wait for gun buyers, rejects 2nd Amendment challenge – LA Times


‘Our Teachers Did Not Sign Up To Carry Guns’: Illinois Union Head – Patch


Evangelical Leaders Say ‘Pro-Life Ethic’ Means Fighting For Gun Reform – HuffPost


Everytown took out this 2-page ad in the NYT today listing off members of Congress, their phone numbers and how much NRA money they’ve taken


Arlington Heights residents call for tighter gun control – Daily Herald


Dems say GOP focus on mental health is redirection from gun control – The Hill


House Passes Bill To Allow ‘Concealed Carry’ Across State Lines – NPR


OFA Toolkit – Writing a Letter to the Editor


Deaths From Gun Violence: How The U.S. Compares With The Rest Of The World – NPR


Thoughts and Prayers and NRA Funding – NYT Opinion


Teen speaks clearly on gun control: ‘We’re children … get something done’


This teenager isn’t afraid to speak out

David Hogg is not mincing words. The 17-year-old senior survived Wednesday’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people, and he wants action. “We’re children,” he said. “You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together. Come over your politics and get something done.” Here’s what we know about the shooting. The suspect, former student Nikolas Cruz, 19. bought his gun legally and appeared in court Thursday. Authorities have not yet publicly identified the victims, but friends, family and coaches are sharing their memories. And this is on a lot of minds: Why the National Rifle Association has so much clout in Washington.


Sandy Hook mom slams Trump for hosting NRA head on anniversary of shooting


GOP-led House passes bill making it easier for gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines – Chicago Tribune


Reflections on Newtown, Five Years Later


Exclusive: Feds issue 4,000 orders to seize guns from people who failed background checks – USA Today


Bipartisan deal on gun control unveiled – NBC News


Brady Center Responds To Shooting in California


Giffords gun group sues Trump administration


Senator Martin Heinrich and Senator Jeff Flake introduces a bill to permanently close the domestic violence loophole


Most Americans support stricter gun laws. Here’s why nothing happens. These two charts help make sense of America’s gun politics. – Vox


Massachusetts Becomes 1st State To Ban Bump Stocks After Las Vegas Massacre


GUN TRACE REPORT 2017 – City of Chicago


Lake County GOP gun raffle draws about 100 protesters


Gun Control Measures Proposed in Illinois


Editorial: How Congress can pursue a reasonable gun debate – Chicago Tribune


Gun violence in America, explained in 17 maps and charts In the developed world, these levels of gun violence are a uniquely American problem. Here’s why. – Vox


Struggling Gun Industry Looks To Congress To Make Silencers The Next Big Thing – HuffPost


House votes to strike rule banning guns for some deemed mentally impaired


New Missouri concealed weapons law to take effect – KSHB Kansas City


Woman Carjacked at Gunpoint in Arlington Heights – Patch


New Illinois law says people with a restraining order can’t own guns


IL Gov. Rauner Signs Plan Limiting Mentally Ill From Owning Guns – ABC7Chicago


There’s Something Disturbing About The Way Cops Act Just After They’ve Shot Somebody – Huffington Post


#DisarmHate  Congressional Media Clips – July 1, 2

#DISARMHATE Congressional Clips


Fellow Illinoisans,

Yesterday, U.S. Representatives Robin Kelly, Jan Schakowsky, Danny Davis, Mike Quigley, Bill Foster, and Steny Hoyer joined with local leaders and advocates at a rally in Chicago to call for immediate action on gun violence. I wrote a letter of support for their efforts and to let the people of Chicago and Illinois know I will continue pushing for common sense gun reform.

You can read my letter on Medium HERE .

To the people of Chicago,

I want to thank everyone who gathered in Federal Plaza in Chicago today to deliver a simple message: enough.

We’ve had enough of the shootings that happen every day in the neighborhoods of Chicago and across America. We’ve had enough funerals…enough families who now face an empty seat at the dinner table…enough parents who have to walk every day past an empty bedroom because their son or daughter was taken from them by gun violence. Enough shootings of men, women and children while they are sitting on their porches, walking on sidewalks, and standing in parks.

We’ve had enough with loopholes in our gun laws that allow dangerous people to get their hands on guns. We’ve had enough with the gun traffickers and straw purchasers who buy guns out of state and sell them out of the trunks of their cars in Chicago. We’ve had enough with the gun shows where you can buy from private sellers with no FBI background check. And we’ve had enough with lawmakers who are too scared of the gun lobby to stand up and fix our laws to keep our kids and our communities safe.

As Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis said, “Sometimes by sitting down, by sitting in, you’re standing up.” Last week, Congressman Lewis along with several members of the Illinois Congressional delegation led a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives to demand action from Republicans in Congress. All they wanted was a vote on common-sense legislation to close loopholes in our gun laws. These reforms are supported by 90 percent of the American people, and they would help save lives here in Chicago. But the gun lobby does not want to close these loopholes because it might hurt their gun sales. So the Republicans in the House shut down the C-Span cameras and closed the chamber rather than call a vote. They were hoping to silence the voices of those calling for reform.

But we will not be silent. We will continue to work tirelessly in Chicago, in Washington, D.C., and in every community across the country to address the epidemic of gun violence.

When Americans are being shot and killed in their homes and neighborhoods, lawmakers have a responsibility to act. So many of the shootings that kill and injure people in Chicago are preventable. Our laws must be fixed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. We have to keep speaking out for common sense reforms. If we do, we can beat the gun lobby and save lives.

As John Lewis said, “we’re going to continue to push, to pull, to stand up, and if necessary, to sit down. So don’t give up, don’t give in. Keep the faith, and keep your eyes on the prize.” We will. Because we’ve had enough.

If you are an Illinoisan visiting D.C. call my office (202-224-2152) and ask for more information on how to attend an Illinois Constituent Coffee


Dick Durbin
United States Senator


President Obama on the Tragic Shooting in Orlando JUNE 12, 2016 AT 12:23 PM ET – Video and Text



Court: No right to carry concealed weapons in public


A Weekend in Chicago: Where Gunfire Is a Terrifying Norm – New York Times


Obama to Gun Owners – I’m not looking to disarm you – PBS Newshour Video 


#WearOrange Party for Peace – NBC5Chicago News Broadcast Link


NWSOFA GVP Partners with GVP Groups and Meets with Gabby Giffords


Today, ICHV proudly stood with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and our gun violence prevention partners from across Illinois to officially launch the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition to urge state leaders to support a new proposal what will be introduced next week, the Gun Dealer Licensing Act.
The measure would give state authorities and law enforcement the tools to encourage better business practices among federally licensed gun dealers and hold corrupt dealers accountable to slow the flow of illegal gun trafficking in Illinois and help keep guns out of the wrong hands.
Negligent gun dealers within Illinois fuel the illegal gun trade. From 2009 to 2013, 40 percent of the guns used in crimes in Chicago came from gun dealers within Illinois. But thanks to loopholes in federal law and a lack of federal resources for enforcement, Illinois doesn’t have the tools and authority it needs to combat illegal or negligent business practices that threaten Illinois families.
“Stopping gun violence takes courage – the courage to do what’s right, and the courage of new ideas. I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line,” said Congresswoman Giffords in a speech at this morning’s announcement. “Now is the time to come together – to be responsible! Democrats, Republicans – everyone.”
The Gun Dealer Licensing Act which will be sponsored by State Senator Don Harmon, and State Representative Kathleen Willis, will strengthen Illinois’ laws and help slow the flow of illegal guns through a number of small changes to the state’s laws, including:
·      Law enforcement inspections
·      Background checks on all employees
·      Video surveillance and improved security
·      Training and education for gun dealer employees
“Illinois is in the grips of a gun violence crisis that claims a life every eight hours. As a state and as a nation, we must do better – and we can start by making it harder for dangerous people to get guns. That means supporting a responsible proposal like this one to give our state authorities the tools they need to combat illegal gun trafficking and ensure fewer criminals get a gun,” said Colleen Daley, Executive Director. “This kind of commonsense step won’t prevent every gun tragedy in our state, but it will help save lives – and we think that’s something worth fighting for. I hope our leaders in Springfield from both sides of the aisle can come together to support this badly-needed change to our laws.”
Between 2002 – 2014, 14,273 people were killed with guns in Illinois, nearly three times the number of all U.S. combat troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.  A person is killed with a gun in Illinois every eight hours.  In 2014, 1,179 people were killed by guns in Illinois.
Groups represented in the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition include:
ABJ Community Services
All Saints Episcopal—Chicago
Americans for Responsible Solutions
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
Catholic Charities
Center for American Progress
Chicago Board of Rabbis
Chicago Survivors
Chicagoland Brady Chapter
City Church of Chicago
Community of Congregations
Community Renewal Society
Countryside Unitarian Church
Emanuel Congregation
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Faith Community of St. Sabina
Greater Institutional AME Church
Gun Responsibility Advocates
Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC)
Howard Area Community Center
Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Illinois Conference of Churches
Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV)
Increase the Peace Englewood
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (JAC PAC)
League of Women Voters of Illinois
National Gun Victims Action Council
Northwest Suburbs Organizing for America
Open Communities
Organizing Catholics for Justice
Organizing for America Chicago North Chapter
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Parents for Peace and Justice
Peace & Justice Committee Episcopal Diocese of Chicago
Peaceful Communities
People for a Safer Society
Presbyterian Church USA
Progressive Community Church
Purpose Over Pain
Quinn Chapel AME Church
Saint Joseph Anglican—Springfield
Saving Chicago’s Youth
Seabury Western Theological Seminary
St. Felicitas Catholic Church
St. Francis Xavier Parish
St. Joseph Anglican
Strengthening Chicago’s Youth
The Peace & Justice Committee of St. Edmunds
United Church of Christ
United Church of Rogers Park
United Methodist Church
For more information about the Gun Violence Prevention Coalition or to add your organization to the list please contact Mark Walsh




Illinois bills would limit mentally ill from owning guns – ABC7 Chicago


Gun Sales in Illinois Soaring – Chicago Sun-Times


Recent Illinois Gun Sales Breaking Monthly Records – ABC Chicago News


Gun Maker Seeks Dismissal Lawsuit over Newtown Shooting – ABC News


What mom of boy who shot himself wants you to know – USA Today


Concealed Carry Permit Applications Drop Across Illinois – AP via Daily Herald



President Obama Shares His Personal Thoughts Three Years After Sandy Hook via Facebook


Three years ago today, a gunman murdered twenty innocent schoolchildren and six of the educators who cared for them at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

This photo was taken two days later, when I went to Newtown and visited with the families of the victims. It was a town that could be any town in America. They were grieving moms and dads, brothers and sisters, spouses missing the center of their lives at Christmastime – good and decent people who could have been any of our loved ones.

Three years on, how do we tell them that their Congress hasn’t done anything to prevent what happened to them from happening to other families?

Soon after the shootings, I took a series of executive actions within my power to reduce gun violence and keep more of our kids safe. Their governor in Connecticut, Dan Malloy, worked with his legislature to pass some commonsense gun safety reforms – reforms that didn’t infringe upon anyone’s right to bear arms, but actually might have prevented another massacre in the meantime. And two United States senators – a Democrat from West Virginia and a Republican from Pennsylvania, both gun owners, both strong defenders of our Second Amendment rights, both with “A grades” from the NRA – worked together to write a commonsense compromise bill that would have required virtually everyone who buys a gun to get a background check. That’s it. Dangerous people would no longer get to play by a different set of rules than responsible gun owners who bought their guns the right way. Pretty commonsense stuff.

But the gun lobby and its allies mobilized to paint that compromise reform as an assault on our freedom. And even though background checks were supported by some 90% of the American people and a majority of NRA households, the Senate surrendered, voting to block those background checks – even with the families of Newtown in attendance.

Since then, tens of thousands of our fellow Americans have been mowed down by gun violence. Tens of thousands. More kids have lost siblings. More parents have lost children. More husbands and wives have had to bury the love of their life. Sometimes, it’s hard to put specific numbers on this epidemic and its causes – because Congress has actually prevented the CDC, our leading public health agency, from conducting serious research into gun violence. Did you know that? Some years ago, they actually voted to make it harder for public health experts to conduct research into gun violence – but even after San Bernardino, they’ve refused to make it harder for terrorist suspects to buy semi-automatic weapons.

Every time this happens, we’re told that commonsense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, so we shouldn’t do anything. We’re not fools – we know that we can’t heal every troubled mind, or stop every act of violence.

But what if we tried to stop even one? What if Congress did something – anything – to save one American, or a classroom of Americans, or a stadium’s worth of Americans from losing their lives to gun violence in the years to come?

I refuse to give up on this. Because I still believe that we can do better. I still believe that we can get this right. We may not have a Congress that’s willing to work with us on this right now. So the rest of us will have to do what we can. I recently tasked my team at the White House to take another look at any other actions I can take to help reduce gun violence. And if you care about this, then please help me – whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or neither. We especially need the help of responsible gun owners who grieve with us every time this happens, and feel like your views aren’t being properly represented. I know there are a lot of you. I’ve heard from you. I’ve read your letters and emails.

Let me be absolutely clear – like I’ve said many times before, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. Period. No matter how many times people try to paint me as holding a different position. I also believe that most gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, law-breaking few from inflicting harm on a massive scale. I believe there is a rational, bipartisan majority in America who agrees that we all have the right to worship freely and safely; the right to assemble peaceably; the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – and who doesn’t want to see those rights taken from us, as they were taken from worshipers in Charleston and Oak Creek; moviegoers in Aurora and Lafayette; students in Blacksburg and Roseburg, Columbine and Newtown, and kids on street corners in Chicago too often to tolerate.

Change, as always, is going to take all of us – from the grassroots up. The gun lobby is loud and organized in its defense of effortlessly available guns for anyone. The rest of us are going to have to be just as passionate and organized in our defense of our kids.

America, this will change – but only when we stand up, together, and demand it.



One Injured After Shots Fired Between Moving Cars in Rolling Meadows Police suspect the shooting was gang-related – Patch, 12-13-15


Gun TV, a channel that lets people order firearms from home, is launching in the US

From Business on Flipboard

As insomniacs and impulse shoppers around the world can attest, home television shopping networks can make people covet never-before-contemplated…

Read it on Flipboard

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Fellow Illinoisans,


Every day, 297 people are shot by guns in America and 89 die from their injuries. By one count, there have been at least 352 mass shootings in America so far this year – more than one per day. America’s schools have seen more than 50 shootings this year.

These numbers are horrifying.

This cannot simply be accepted as normal.

There have been over 350 mass shootings so far this year.

Yesterday, I met with representatives from Americans for Responsible Solutions to discuss legislation I’ve cosponsored to crack down on gun trafficking. Founded by former Representative Gabby Giffords and her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, Americans for Responsible Solutions works to prevent gun violence and encourage responsible gun ownership.

Watch me speak at a meeting with Americans for Responsible Solutions here.

Click here to watch my remarks from my meeting with Americans for Responsible Solutions .

To combat the scourge of gun violence in our communities, I’ve joined several of my colleagues in introducing common sense legislation to prevent gun violence and save lives.

Denying Firearms and Explosives to Suspected Terrorists

Last week, I joined some of my colleagues in urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan to quickly schedule votes on legislation that would close an egregious loophole and prevent individuals on the Federal Terrorist Watchlist from being able to purchase firearms and explosives. Suspected terrorists who we consider too dangerous to board airplanes should not be able to walk into any gun store in the United States and purchase a firearm or an explosive for the purpose of carrying out a terrorist act.

Tracing Crime Guns

To help crack down on gun violence and gun trafficking, earlier this year I introduced the Crime Gun Tracing Act , legislation that encourages law enforcement agencies to take full advantage of crime gun tracing resources offered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Increasing the use of crime gun tracing can help generate leads in criminal investigations and reveal how guns are trafficked into criminals’ hands.

According to the ATF, although it costs police departments nothing to use federal crime gun tracing resources, many police departments across the country aren’t taking full advantage of this basic tool in fighting gun violence. I am working to ensure that every law enforcement agency that has not already signed up to use ATF’s tracing resources will do so.

Stemming the Flow of Illegal Guns

A recent New York Times article found over 50,000 guns fall into the hands of criminals across state lines each year, with many more likely crossing state lines undetected. Despite being one of the key drivers of gun violence in Illinois, currently there is no federal law specifically prohibiting gun trafficking. To crack down on the daily flow of illegal guns, I joined Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Mark Kirk in introducing a bill that would make gun trafficking a federal crime and provide tools to law enforcement to get illegal guns off the streets.



Read more about gun reform here.
Enough is enough. It’s time to summon the political will and act on gun violence.



Dick Durbin
United States Senator


Anti-Gun Group Wants Mariano’s to Ban Firearms in Stores – Patch

Supreme Court weighing whether to take up Highland Park assault weapon ban – Chicago Tribune

Lions Gun Shop Ordinance – Chicago Tribune

Public health joining with new partners to fight gun violence: More than 33,000 US deaths in 2014 – The Nation’s Health

Gun Violence Prevention Fact Sheets – American Public Health Association

Major Assault Weapons Case May Be Heading to the Supreme Court – Huffington Post

People Are Getting Shot by Toddlers on a Weekly Basis This Year – Washington Post

Justices mull appeal of Chicago suburb’s assault weapons ban – AP

I’m a Responsible Gun Owner, So I Destroyed My Gun – Washington Post

Elwood Man Sentenced to 4 years for Selling Guns Illegally – CBS Local Chicago

About that Pro-Gun Meme Your Friends Have Been Sharing – Daily Koz

ATF Firearms Listing – Licensees – 2015

Obama’s Challenge Comparing Gun Deaths vs. Terror Deaths

Oregon Educator Open Letter to Lawmakers – Our Right to Live Without Fear

Watch President Obama’s Statement on Shooting in Oregon – White House

Quietly, Congress Extends Ban on CDC Research on Gun Violence

McHenry Residents Voice Concern Over Gun Shop Plan – ABC7Chicago News

Youth Gun Violence Fact Sheet

NWSOFA GVP Team Partner Event with People For A Safer Society

As you may know, last week the Village of Niles approved the extension for the special use permit allowing the gun shop and firing range planned for 6143 Howard Street in Niles to proceed with plans to begin construction. We are not giving up and we appreciate your support. Here is some news coverage:

This week there are two opportunities for you to support our efforts to stop the gun shop and shooting range from opening. We will be seeking support on this issue at the following meetings:

Skokie Village Board meeting – Monday, August 3 at 8:00 pm at the Skokie Village Hall located at 5127 Oakton in Skokie.

District 219 Board meeting – Tuesday, August 4 at 6:45 pm at the District Office located at 7700 Gross Point Road in Skokie.

Denyse Stoneback will speak during public comments about the location of the gun shop at both meetings, seeking support from the Village of Skokie and District 219. We don’t want a lot of people making comments, as that may have a negative effect on board members. But your presence in support will speak volumes. If you have a green ribbon, or something green, please wear it as a sign of support.

Thank you for working to make a safer society!


Articles on Gun Violence Prevention – Suggested by Members of the NWSOFA GVP Team

Essential Facts About Guns and Mass Shootings in America – Washington Post


The Grin of a Fool- Gun Control and the NRA By- Rosemary and Walter Brasch The Bradford Era


“After Charleston Voters Must Demand New Gun Laws,” Scot Lehigh: Boston Globe.

A recent Op-Ed column from the Boston Globe addressing politics surrounding gun violence prevention, the NRA, and Congressional failure to take action to reduce gun violence in America.


“What Does Gun Violence Really Cost?” Mark Follman, Julia Lurie, Jaeah Lee, and James West: Mother Jones.

Interesting report published in Mother Jones earlier this year covering an extensive investigation of the true costs of gun violence in America.


“Tracing the Guns: The Impact of Illegal Guns on Violence in Chicago,”

City of Chicago – Office of the Mayor and Chicago Police Department.

Data based research report investigating the impact of illegal guns on violent crime in Chicago and on the scope of the City’s illegal gun market. This report includes eye-opening information on the small percentage of gun dealers that sell most of the guns used in criminal activities. The report is interesting but somewhat lengthy. If you want to go to the heart of the issue, start about halfway down Page 6 with Section II B.


“Children and Guns: The Hidden Toll,” Michael Luo and Mike McIntire: New York Times

An in-depth report on accidental firearm deaths of American children, covering both how such shootings occur and ways in which they might be prevented.




What can you do to help prevent gun violence?

GVP List for You to Take Steps to be a Part of the Solution


Community Group Sues 3 Chicago Suburbs Over Gun Sales


Informational Articles on Guns in Chicago and Illinois

Tracing Guns – Office of the Mayor, Chicago

Conceal Carry in Illinois


NWSOFA Gun Violence Prevention Team Joins Coalition Partners at Chuck’s Gun Shop Rally

ABC-7 News Broadcast: Protesters Take Aim at Bad Apple Gun Dealers at Chuck’s Gun Shop in Riverdale

CBS-Chicago News Broadcast – Pro and Anti-Gun Advocates Rally Outside Riverdale Gun Shop

Brady Campaign – Chuck’s Gun Shop Fact Sheet


#WearingOrange Day



Everytown for Gun Safety



A group of Chicago teens asked us all to dream bigger. This Tuesday, America answered by turning orange for the first ever National Gun Violence Awareness Day — and it was incredible.
#WearingOrange trended worldwide on Twitter, reaching over 215 million people.


Orange Moon Landing
This photo we made up. But the rest of these, you made possible!



More than 150 organizations and cultural influencers stood up to support the movement for a safer America.


Cultural Influencers Went Orange
Clockwise from top: Russell Simmons, Julianne Moore, Padma Lakshmi, The New York Mets, Jason Bateman, and Katie Couric.



Cities and elected officials across the country went orange to honor all who have been affected by gun violence.


Cities across the country went orange
Clockwise from top: Members of Congress; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; the Rhode Island State House; the Mobile, Alabama skyline; the Chicago Theatre; and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Cities across the country went orange

On June 2, you helped show that Americans nationwide are ready to do what it takes to end gun violence in our country. But #WearingOrange isn’t just about one day of awareness. It’s about doing everything we can to save lives today, tomorrow and every day.

THANK YOU for making Wear Orange the incredible success it was. We’re going to go even bigger next year. Make sure to mark your calendar for June 2, 2016!

Jason Rzepka
Director of Cultural Engagement
Everytown for Gun Safety

P.S. If you didn’t grab a Wear Orange tee or pin before they sold out, I encourage you to get them now and wear them proudly every day. Your purchase helps fuel our movement to end gun violence.

Get your Wear Orange tee or pin

Gun Violence Prevention – We Are the Majority

Gun Violence Prevention – We Are the Majority by: Matt Flamm

Historical Notes:

2014 Objectives

  1. Recruit Republican co-sponsors in the House to build support for Thompson King bipartisan bill. This bill seeks to strengthen background checks on gun purchases and is identical to the Senate bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa).
  2. Work with Coalition Partners who share a similar vision. These partners include the Illinois Coalition Against Handgun Violence, Mom’s Demand Action, Citizen Action IL, Rainbow Push and the Urban League.
  3. Maintain a steady legislative focus on two specific House Republican Representatives from Illinois. Contact Rep. Rodney Davis (District 13) and tell him to: “Do the right thing…the time to act is now” and also contact Rep. Aaron Schock (District 18th) and tell him: “This is an opportunity to be a leader on issue of GVP in your party.”
  4. Participate in the April 14th National Day of Action Event. The exact nature and details of this event will be announced soon by our Illinois OFA leadership team.

Previous Events

06/21/2014 – 06/22/2014 –
Moms Demand Action is suggesting that no one shop at Target on the weekend and instead shop at one of the stores they list at their website that do not favor open carry of weapons. They would like everyone to take a picture of themselves with a sign saying #OffTarget and send it to them at:

02/11/2014 – Illinois Concealed Carry Law: What You Need to Know to Build Safer Communities for All Families and Businesses
Seating capacity at the Palatine Police Station Community Meeting room is limited. All seats will be held for those who have registered in advance at MyBO:
Thank you!

02/20/2014 – If you are interested in joining us and honoring all victims of gun violence through your individual actions to help make our communities safer, then come to our monthly Gun Violence Prevention Issues Group Planning Meeting at the Coffee Planet, 1450 Golf Rd., Rolling Meadows, 60008. We hold a short (30 – 45 minutes) Planning Meeting on the 3rd Thursday of every month and afterwards many of us stay to help out with the weekly NWSOFA Phone Banking. Our February meeting will be held on Thursday, February 20th at 6:30 pm. Thank you so much and we hope to see you at the Coffee Planet!