June 22, 2016 – WASHINGTON, D.C. – NCNW expresses its sympathy for those who lives were savagely taken at the Pulse nightclub and we are heartbroken for the loved ones of the victims of the Orlando terror attack.
The National Council of Negro Women agrees with efforts to prevent terrorism suspects from acquiring guns or explosives. There is no reason to permit a person with sufficient ties to terrorism that they are included on a no-fly list to obtain a weapon.
NCNW also agrees that it is time to close the gun show/Internet loophole. Gun purchasers should undergo background checks no matter where the purchase is made. There is no rational distinction to be made between guns sold online, in a brick-and-mortar store or at a temporary gun show. If anything, it makes even more sense to conduct a background check when the sale is made at a gun show or on an internet site, where buyers and sellers are mostly anonymous.
We would go further. Permitting a gun purchaser to obtain a weapon if the background check cannot be completed in three days makes no sense, either. Dylan Roof might have been stopped from slaying nine Bible study students in Charleston had he been denied a gun as a result of the crimes that a completed background check would have revealed.
There is no reason to sell assault type military weapons to civilians not involved in law enforcement. There are more guns in America than people. The firearms business in the US is an $8 billion industry. Every two years, as many Americans die from gunshot wounds as died during the entire Vietnam War. Most of these deaths do not occur as a result of mass shootings. Most of them occur as random acts of violence in the nation’s cities and suburbs. Some of our most vibrant U.S. cities are besieged by nightly gun battles between rival criminal gangs.
Gun ownership is protected by the U.S. Constitution, but that right is not absolute. No right is absolute. The right to free speech is not absolute. Libel and slander are not protected. The right to practice religion does not give the worshipper permission to take a human life as sacrifice. The right to freely assemble does not include the right to associate with felons if one has been convicted of a felony. The right to vote does not include the right to skip voter registration. All rights carry responsibilities.
A majority of Americans support efforts to stop terrorists from obtaining weapons. Most Republicans and NRA members support expanding background checks. If most Americans agree that dangerous people should not have dangerous weapons, then who disagrees? Where is the real opposition to responsible gun ownership? If the NRA is not representing its members’ views, then whose views are they espousing?
According to Mother Jones magazine, 10 companies they investigated in 2013 “produce more than 8 million firearms per year for buyers in the United States, accounting for more than two-thirds of the total market.” The report goes on to say, “Many of these companies’ top executives …are members of the Golden Ring of Freedom, an exclusive club for $1 million-plus donors to the National Rifle Association.”
According to the Mother Jones report, “In the year following the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the three largest gun makers—Sturm Ruger, Remington Outdoor, and Smith & Wesson — netted more than $390 million in profits on record sales. Shares in publicly traded Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson jumped more than 70 percent that year…The hedge fund that owns Remington Outdoor—maker of the assault rifle used in Newtown—saw the annual return on its investment grow tenfold.”
We commend those senators who held the floor of the U.S. Senate for nearly 15 hours last week. We urge the entire body to vote favorably on the measures that have been proposed. We commend those members of the House of Representatives who insist, “no bill, no break.”
The National Council of Negro Women urges the Senate and the House of Representatives to heed the anguish of the American people. Make it more difficult for dangerous people to own dangerous weapons. Disarm terror, domestic and foreign.
The National Council of Negro Women is a 3,000,000-member coalition of women’s groups that was organized 80 years ago by Mary McLeod Bethune, who was an advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on matters of race. In its early decades NCNW fought for peace and against race discrimination. Today, NCNW works to lead, advocate and empower women of African descent and their families.