Ceasefire Oregon Executive Director to Discuss “Common Ground” at Central Oregon Coast NOW Meeting

Penny Okamoto, Executive Director of Ceasefire Oregon

Penny Okamoto, Executive Director of Ceasefire Oregon

Ceasefire Oregon and the Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation work to reduce gun violence.   Penny Okamoto, Ceasefire Oregon Executive Director, will be speaking at the Tuesday, January 27, 2015 meeting of the Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW).  The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 pm at the Central Lincoln PUD Meeting Room, 2129 North Coast Highway, Newport.  The public is invited to join us for a discussion about the current state of gun laws and gun-related deaths in Oregon, and to share ideas to reduce gun violence.

Penny Okamoto has been working to reduce gun violence since she joined the Million Mom March in 2000. She joined the Ceasefire Oregon Board of Directors in 2000 and has been the Executive Director since 2010. Penny’s work with Ceasefire Oregon includes policy decision and research.  Okamoto holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and has worked in the past as a research biologist.

Central Oregon Coast NOW is a member, along with Ceasefire Oregon, of the Oregon Alliance to Prevent Gun Violence.  While gun violence prevention groups are often urged to find common ground with the gun lobby, the truth is that these groups already have a great deal of common ground with the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, which many of our members are.  Among the areas where there is much agreement are background checks for all gun sales, safe storage and better mental health options.  These are some of the simple yet effective steps to reduce gun violence that will be discussed at the January 27 meeting.

Donations of feminine hygiene products will be collected at the meeting to donate to My Sisters Place domestic violence shelter.

6 thoughts on “Ceasefire Oregon Executive Director to Discuss “Common Ground” at Central Oregon Coast NOW Meeting

  1. A 2003 study published the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that “having a gun at home is a risk factor for adults to be shot fatally or commit suicide with a firearm.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Homicide+and+suicide+risks+associated+with+firearms+in+the+home%3A+A+national+case-control+study.

    A 2014 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine confirmed the finding that access to firearms is associated with risk for completed suicide and homicide victimization among household members. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24592495.

    Our guns are not keeping our families safer. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that U.S. children are 16 times more likely to be unintentionally shot to death than children in other high income countries. http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2014/06/more-us-children-killed-accidental-shootings-you-might-think.

    A 1998 study in the Journal of Trauma Institute found that every time a gun injures or kills in self-defense, it is used eleven times for completed and attempted suicides, seven times in criminal assaults and homicides, and four times in unintentional shoot deaths or injuries. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9715182

    There may be anecdotal evidence, but there is no research to support your proposition guns prevent gun violence in the homes and on the streets of America..

  2. Ceasefire Oregon and other gun violence prevention groups do support rights. We work for the right of people to not be shot, intentionally or unintentionally, by an unknown perpetrator, a beloved family member, or by oneself in the throes of a suicidal depression. We do not work to repeal the Second Amendment. “Gun rights advocates” isn’t correct either. Guns do not have “rights.” Gun owners do and we want to work with gun owners to reduce the number of people shot.

    Let’s cut to the chase. Our work isn’t about “guns are good” or “guns are bad.” Our work is about preventing criminals and other prohibited people from accessing guns. If you aren’t prohibited by law from owning a weapon, then you are free to purchase a weapon or use one to defend yourself. We differ as the the government’s role in enforcing the prohibition. In a civil society, the government has a role. If you can articulate a method for keeping criminals and other prohibited people from accessing guns other than universal background checks, please do. A belief that arming every man, woman, and child would achieve this has never been demonstrated. It is a pipe dream promoted by gun manufacturers and the gun lobby to exploit the fearful.

    America has greatly reduced the number of deaths from car crash by legislating improvements in car safety as well as creating public awareness and effective legislation that reduced drunk driving. We can and should do the same to reduce the number of our fellow Americans who are shot. It doesn’t matter than driving a car is not an explicit constitutional right. No legal right afforded by the Constitution (and created through the processes of government) exists without responsibilities (set out by the government). Bearing arms because one fears the government? Nonsense.

    Background checks, safe storage, and prohibiting 30 bullets in a firearm’s magazine will all go a long way to reducing gun violence and still remain well within the Second Amendment, including the Heller and McDonald decision.

    • MK1949,

      Your double standard is showing.

      Gun rights advocates” isn’t correct either. Guns do not have “rights.”
      Yet in this very post, you state — work to reduce gun violence and Gun violence prevention advocates and We prefer the terms “gun safety” — sure seems like you are focused on the gun and not the people using them, eh.

      Our work is about preventing criminals and other prohibited people from accessing guns.

      And I have presented information showing that your proposals aren’t working and won’t work unless many other restrictions are put in place. Several states already have those same laws in place. Chicago Illinois has more restrictive laws than Fort Worth Texas. Yet the firearm related homicide rate in Chicago is 10 per 100K while Fort Worth Texas is 6 per 100K – surely if the laws preventing criminals and prohibited persons would work Chicago would have a firearm related homicide rate much lower than Fort Worth. But it doesn’t.

      If you aren’t prohibited by law from owning a weapon, then you are free to purchase a weapon or use one to defend yourself.

      Let’s cut to the chase as you say. Ceasefire Oregon is trying to make it as difficult as possible for people to do this. Do you not support increased training that is very costly for the poor? Do you not support LEO approval of Concealed Carry Licenses that let agencies deny permits? Do you support Concealed Carry at all?

      Every one of your proposed ideas and laws will make it more time consuming, more expensive and more of a hassle for people to own and carry firearms for their safety.

      If you can articulate a method for keeping criminals and other prohibited people from accessing guns other than universal background checks, please do.

      Simple and done — if criminals and other prohibited people are unable to successfully obey the laws and moral strictures of society, keep them locked up. Criminals who have proven themselves unable to restrain violent behavior should be kept in jail. Clear out the non-violent offenders and those convicted of victimless crimes and keep the violent ones in Jail.
      The mentally ill is a tougher situation but the same applies. If the friends, family or society deems a person unable to restrain themselves from hurting themselves or others; they should be placed in an institution where they can get the care and help needed.

      A belief that arming every man, woman, and child would achieve this has never been demonstrated.

      Nice straw man argument. No one is saying that every ‘man, woman and child’ should be armed. No one except gun control advocates like you who are trying to make pro-rights advocates (there’s another term to be used) seem like extremists. Should adults be able to keep and bear arms with as few as restrictions as possible? Absolutely.
      Just like people like you have few restrictions on your right to free speech.

      Background checks, safe storage, and prohibiting 30 bullets in a firearm’s magazine will all go a long way to reducing gun violence

      Care to show any evidence of that? I would really interested in seeing that. Because not even the Center for Disease Control could find enough evidence to state that.

      First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws
      Summary
      During 2000–2002, the Task Force on Community Preventive Services (the Task Force), an independent nonfederal task force, conducted a systematic review of scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of firearms laws in preventing violence, including violent crimes, suicide, and unintentional injury. The following laws were evaluated: bans on specified firearms or ammunition, restrictions on firearm acquisition, waiting periods for firearm acquisition, firearm registration and licensing of firearm owners, “shall issue” concealed weapon carry laws, child access prevention laws, zero tolerance laws for firearms in schools, and combinations of firearms laws. The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes. (Note that insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness.) This report briefly describes how the reviews were conducted, summarizes the Task Force findings, and provides information regarding needs for future research.

      Before people propose restrictions on our rights, shouldn’t they have to prove those restrictions will actually do what they claim?

      Bob S.

  3. While gun violence prevention groups are often urged to find common ground with the gun lobby,

    How about starting to find common ground by not using insulting terms like “the gun lobby” to describe people who don’t support the agenda of ever more restrictive laws.
    We aren’t a monolithic block, we aren’t a paid group of people, we aren’t one organized group. Yet gun control advocates continue to paint us all with one wide brush.

    background checks for all gun sales

    how do you address the fact that most firearms used by criminals already evade the laws regarding sales and very little prosecution is taking place regarding those laws. The administrations own National Institute of Justice reports shows that most firearms are purchased on the ‘secondary’ market; people legible for legal purchases are illegally selling firearms to criminals.

    So how will requiring ‘all sales’ address that aspect; do you really expect criminals to stop paying friends and family to buy firearms for them?

    And why should I and others like me who already own firearms have to go through yet another check? Or why should I have to go through a check when I buy a firearm from someone i know from work or the range?

    safe storage

    Do you mean safe storage laws like Washington D.C. had?
    or do you mean if a firearm is stolen, the owner will be penalized and criminalized unless that owner can prove the firearm was stored in an ‘approved’ vault?

    better mental health options.

    This is an area where we can make great strides but we should proceed cautiously. So far most of the proposals call for anyone seeking help for just about any condition or situation to loose their right to keep and bear arms. that is unacceptable and will probably keep people from seeking help.

    Bob s.

    • Bob, thank you for your thoughtful response to the NOW BLOG. CEASEFIRE OREGON’s Reply follows and includes three questions for you. See CEASEFIRE’S REPLY to COMMENTS 1, 3, and 5.

      BOB’S COMMENT 1: How about starting to find common ground by not using insulting terms like “the gun lobby” to describe people who don’t support the agenda of even more restrictive laws? We aren’t a monolithic block, we aren’t a paid group of people, and we aren’t one organized group. Yet gun control advocates continue to paint us all with one wide brush.

      CEASEFIRE’S REPLY: Ceasefire Oregon uses the term “gun lobby” when we are addressing the organizations that actually lobby legislators about firearms-related issues. There is indeed a vast, well-financed, well-organized, and focused gun lobby. Nationally, the NRA, the NRA-ILA, and the Gun Owners of America lead it. In Oregon, the best known gun lobby is the Oregon Firearms Federation (OFF).

      We try to use the term “gun owners” when referring to those who own firearms or enjoy firearms, but are not lobbyists. We don’t always use the term “gun owners” because we know that the vast majority of gun owners actually agree with the goals of Ceasefire Oregon.

      Gun violence prevention advocates, such as the members of Ceasefire Oregon, are not a monolithic block, a paid group of people, or one organized group, either. Our unifying issue is “gun violence prevention” not gun control. We prefer the terms “gun safety” or “gun violence prevention” to describe our work.

      Bob, have you an alternative to the name “gun lobby”?

      BOB’S COMMENT 2: How do you address the fact that most firearms used by criminals already evade existing [background check] laws regarding sales and very little prosecution is taking place regarding those laws? The administration’s own National Institute of Justice reports shows that most firearms are purchased on the “secondary” market; people eligible for legal purchases are illegally selling firearms to criminals.

      CEASEFIRE’s REPLY: Tragically, some gun sellers will sell guns without performing a background check first. Criminals use the private sale loophole to bypass a background check. A background check law will hold a gun seller criminally liable if the seller does not perform a background check and the purchaser was actually prohibited from buying a gun. Few people are willing to put their liberty at risk just to sell a gun to a criminal.

      The state of Oregon recognized that prosecutions of those who violate Oregon’s limited background check law were inadequate. Effective June 16, 2014, the Oregon State Police now investigate persons prohibited from buying guns who attempt to do so:

      “Effective Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at 8:00am, the Oregon State Police (OSP) will be
      revising the procedures related to violations of state law involving persons
      attempting to purchase or transfer a firearm that are denied, due to a state or
      federal disqualifier. This revision will include enforcement action involving persons
      attempting an unlawful firearms transfer through a licensed firearm dealer,
      during a voluntary private party check, or at a gun show.”

      In addition, national law enforcement agencies and the families of those lost to gun violence are taking on the “Bad Apple Gun Dealers.” (Ninety percent of crime guns can be traced back to just 5% of gun dealers.) Here is further background information: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/23/AR2010102302996.html

      Please correct us if we are wrong, but by your “secondary market” reference, are you referring to straw purchases whereby one person buys weapons with the intent to sell the weapons to a prohibited person? If so, straw purchases are already illegal. This information is clearly laid out in ATF Form 4473 that is filled out when selling and purchasing a firearm.

      The United States could greatly reduce straw purchases and gun trafficking by limiting gun purchases to one gun per month. California, Maryland, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia already limit gun purchases to one gun in a 30-day period.
      http://smartgunlaws.org/multiple-purchases-sales-of-firearms-policy-summary/

      Of greatest significance to us is the fact that universal backgrounds checks have proven to deter felons, mentally ill, those caught in the passion of anger, and those caught in the despair of suicide.

      BOB’S COMMENT 3: So how will requiring background checks for “all sales” address [straw purchases]? Do you really expect criminals to stop paying friends and family to buy firearms for them? Why should I and others like me who already own firearms have to go through yet another check? Or why should I have to go through a check when I buy a firearm from someone I know from work or the range?

      CEASEFIRE’S REPLY: We have no expectations of criminals. We do, however, think that family and friends will not want to face criminal charges for supplying weapons to criminals. In addition, we think very few family and friends want to arm criminals.

      We believe the truth is that criminals buy guns and a responsible gun owner does not want a criminal to have a gun. Performing a background check as a seller also protects the seller from providing a criminal with a gun.

      A universal background check is a minor inconvenience of being a good citizen and caring for the overall safety of the country. Requiring only one background check per lifetime (or for a limited period of time) ignores the fact that people change over time. Maybe you did not know that your friend from work or the range was a felon or had been adjudicated mentally ill at the time of sale or vice versa? Having consistent regulations is a safeguard. We all know there some gun owners who should not have possession of guns.

      Two million prohibited people have been blocked from purchasing a gun since the Brady Law was enacted in 1993.

      Bob, how would you propose to stop prohibited persons from buying guns?

      BOB’S COMMENT 4: Do you mean safe storage laws like Washington D.C. had? Do you mean if a firearm is stolen, the owner will be penalized and criminalized unless that owner can prove the firearm was stored in an ‘approved’ vault?

      CEASEFIRE’S REPLY: We are sure you agree that responsible gun owners have control over their weapons. Weapons should always be stored safely or kept under control on the gun owner’s person.

      Smart gun technology can greatly reduce the risk of stolen guns being used in crimes as well as reduce the risk of suicide by gunshot.

      With great rights come great responsibilities. If you choose to bring a gun into your home and community, you must be responsible for it.

      BOB’S COMMENT 5: The area of mental health is an area where we can make great strides, but we should proceed cautiously. So far most of the proposals call for anyone seeking help for just about any condition or situation to loose their right to keep and bear arms. That is unacceptable and will probably keep people from seeking help.

      CEASEFIRE’S REPLY United States needs to do a much better job of taking care of our mentally ill citizens and those who seek mental health help. Part of that help is to prevent those who would injure themselves or others from accessing firearms. However, we are unaware of any proposal of the breadth you describe.

      Again, how would you propose to stop prohibited persons from buying guns?

      Central Coast Ceasefire Steering Committee

      • CCCSC,

        Bob, have you an alternative to the name “gun lobby”?

        How about “pro-rights groups”? Or how about ‘gun rights advocates”?

        See it is fairly easy to find terms that are more reflective of the actual focus. Too often ‘gun lobby’ is a derogatory term and I believe your group knows that and uses it deliberately in that manner to portray those who disagree with your ideas as monolithic and to make us seem less human. The tendency to ‘other’ to create a divide and make the opposition less human is well known.

        There is indeed a vast, well-financed, well-organized, and focused gun lobby. Nationally, the NRA, the NRA-ILA, and the Gun Owners of America lead it.

        Wow, you list the NRA twice. And get it wrong doing so. The NRA isn’t a lobbying branch and that is why it created the NRA-ILA. And the GOA and the NRA are often very different in their approaches and advocacy. Yet here you are trying to lump everyone together again.
        And let’s not forget the fact that even if we add the NRA, GOA and a few others together; it barely scratches the surface of the gun owning population of the country. I find it incredible that you say that most gun owners agree with you but ignore the fact they don’t vote that way.

        Criminals use the private sale loophole to bypass a background check.

        Another way to find common ground is not to us misleading terms. A ‘loophole’ is a way around the law. The fact that Congress, at State and Local levels, did not include a requirement for private sales to require a background check is not a loophole. Continuing to conflate that fact with an implication that one or both parties are guilty if evading the law is not helping people feel they can trust you. I don’t want my actions in following the law to be cast as evading the law. Yet that is exactly what you are doing time and time again. That is another tactic to ‘other’ the opposition (“These gun guys don’t care about laws, they use the ‘loophole’ to buy and sell guns”).

        . In addition, we think very few family and friends want to arm criminals.

        Then apparently you are not following the evidence shown.

        < For example, a 2000
        study by the ATF found the following distribution of sources
        Source Percentage
        Straw purchase 47%
        Stolen 26%
        Store 14%
        Residence 10%
        Common carrier 2%
        Unregulated private seller 20%
        Gun shows/flea markets 13%
        Retail diversion 8%
        http://static.infowars.com/2013/02/i/general/nij-gun-policy-memo.pdf

        Straw purchases already make up 47% — about half of all the firearms obtained by criminals are bought by friends and family and illegally transferred to them already. That National Institute of Justice Memo is from the Obama Administration by the way.

        These figures indicate informal transfers dominate the crime gun market. A perfect universal
        background check system can address the gun shows and might deter many unregulated private sellers.
        However, this does not address the largest sources (straw purchasers and theft), which would most
        likely become larger if background checks at gun shows and private sellers were addressed. The
        secondary market is the primary source of crime guns. Ludwig and Cook (2000) compared states that
        introduced Brady checks to those states that already had background checks and found no effect of the
        new background checks. They hypothesized that the background checks simply shifted to the secondary
        market those offenders who normally purchased in the primary market.</i?

        And requiring all sales to undergo a background check will not stop the straw purchases

        These figures indicate informal transfers dominate the crime gun market. A perfect universal
        background check system can address the gun shows and might deter many unregulated private sellers.
        However, this does not address the largest sources (straw purchasers and theft), which would most
        likely become larger if background checks at gun shows and private sellers were addressed. The
        secondary market is the primary source of crime guns. Ludwig and Cook (2000) compared states that
        introduced Brady checks to those states that already had background checks and found no effect of the
        new background checks
        . They hypothesized that the background checks simply shifted to the secondary
        market those offenders who normally purchased in the primary market.

        So in simple terms can you tell me how a law requiring background checks will stop people already bent on breaking the law from actually breaking the law?

        Two million prohibited people have been blocked from purchasing a gun since the Brady Law was enacted in 1993.

        Let’s go back to the point about not lying to people or shading things in a way to make it seem like things are working.

        First and foremost, that number is widely inflated and discredited.

        For gun purchases, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives dropped over 94 percent of “initial denials” after just the first preliminary review. The annual National Instant Criminal Background Check System report explains that these cases were dropped either because the additional information showed that the wrong people had been stopped or because the covered offenses were so many decades old that the government decided not to prosecute. At least a fifth of the remaining 6 percent were still false positives.

        So that 2 million number is the people who are denied instant approval; 94% of the are cleared upon further review. Often because share a name with a criminal; Think of how many Jane Jones or John Smiths out there get confused.

        Next, you said they have been ‘blocked from purchasing a gun” — which is absolutely unsupportable. Nothing stops them from going around the law and getting a friend or family member to buy the gun and then they buy it from them. This is the very nature of the ‘universal background check law’ that I’ve already shown won’t work. NO evidence has been presented that criminals are being blocked from obtaining any firearm they want.
        Let’s look at drugs; we have more laws for narcotics and other illicit drugs yet those drugs are more available, at a higher potency and lower price then every before. How are gun control laws going to work any differently?

        Again, how would you propose to stop prohibited persons from buying guns?

        That is the point that I’m making — we can not and will not be able to stop them from purchasing firearms and the attempted laws greatly impact the law abiding much more so then the criminals.

        We can pass laws that greatly improve the security of the country. We can let law enforcement stop and search us any time. We can let them come into our home and check for weapons and laws being broken. We can get governmental approval before we own anything that could be dangerous and we can prohibit an entire slate of ‘dangerous’ things like guns. Is giving up our liberty to worth it?

        And in the mean time; we have to recognize that more will be at a disadvantage when trying to stop criminals. Women who have generally less strength then men will be forced to fight their rapist or attacker without an effective means of defense. Home owners will face thugs breaking into their homes with baseball bats or nothing. Individuals will have to fight multiple attackers with bare hands. is that what your goal is?

        Bob S.

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