(Dec. 13, 2017) Catherine Read interviews David Miller, Senior Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fairfax Congregation (UUCF) to discuss his work on Gun Violence Prevention. When Rev. Miller took over 2 years ago, he “inherited” a congregation who had made a resolution that they wanted to fight for reasonable restrictions on guns to help curb the epidemic of gun violence. This was a natural fit for him, as his background included work with his congregation in California where he tried to bring people together to come up with reasonable solutions. His beliefs are rooted in the bible, where we are told “Thou Shalt Not Kill”.
After the shooting in Oregon at Umpqua Community College in October of 2015, Miller felt compelled to speak out. Geographically speaking, his congregation is the closest Unitarian Universalist Church to the NRA Headquarters, so he and his congregants started the monthly ritual of holding a vigil outside the NRA on the 14th of every month , the anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. Each month they are joined by community members and politicians, all who want to bring attention to this issue. Additionally, Rev. Miller and his congregants actively work to support elected officials and candidates who champion safe and sane gun laws.
In the second segment Catherine interviews Lori Hass, of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), and Julie Keller of the Northern Virginia chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Both of the women work day in and out advocate for stronger laws to keep citizens safe.
Haas indicates that her organization, CSGV advocates for reasonable changes to gun laws that will help protect Virginians. Universal background checks will help keep guns out of the wrong hands. Disarming domestic abusers will help keep women safe, as more than half of all women murdered in the United States are killed by an intimate partner with a gun and the chance of being murdered by an abusive partner increases five-fold when there is a gun in the home. CSGV also supports being able to separate those with mental illness from a weapon, through the process of adjudication. Additionally, CSGV seeks laws to secure firearms from young children. There will be bills passing through the General Assembly this year addressing each of these issues. Legislation can be followed online, and Haas encourages everyone to contact their Delegates and Senators to encourage them to support common sense gun legislation.
Julie Keller represents the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence and spoke of two important campaigns that they support to help keep citizens safe. First, she spoke about the “Ask” campaign. This is something as simple as asking another parent before you send a child to play at their house if they have a gun, and if so will it be locked up? She notes that parents routinely as about food allergies and swimming pools, but rarely ask about guns. This always gives the parent the option reversing the invitation and holding the play date at home, if they are not comfortable with the answer.
Keller also spoke about a recent lawsuit in Florida, where a bill was passed to telling pediatricians that they were not allowed to ask if there were guns in the house, and if so were they properly being stored. This was a bill supported by the NRA, and the doctor’s association successfully fought this bill in court. It does not require pediatricians to ask the question, but they are no longer prohibited from asking.
Lastly, she spoke about a bill moving through the General Assembly to allow citizens to purchase a Gun Violence Prevention License Plate. If you are interested in purchasing a license plate you can find an application on the DMV website.
Join activists on December 14th at 10am outside the NRA Headquarters to call for stricter gun laws to keep citizens safe.