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Issues & Victories

Public Safety



EBC Wins Commitments from 75th Precinct Commanding Officer

On April 27th, Academy for Young Writers hosted an action with over 100 leaders and Deputy Inspector John Chell, Commanding Officer of the 75th precinct.

EBC’s leadership team did an incredible job of pushing DI Chell for commitments. As a result, he agreed to:

  • Assign two crossing guards outside of Young Writers
  • Remove two "cars for sale" outside of Nehemiah homes
  • Investigate and install a camera outside of a drug site near St. Peter Lutheran
  • Arrange one-to-one meetings with 15 rookie officers whenever we are ready
  • Meet with Young Writers student council to address complaints about truancy officers, and sexual harassment at a nearby bodega

And on April 28th DI Chell delivered! When students and staff arrived at Academy for Young Writers that morning there were already two crossing guards there.



CONECT Victorious in Fight to Revoke Liquor License of Local Pizza Bar

One year following the tragic murder of a CONECT leader’s son, CONECT wins rare ruling that revokes the liquor license of Slyce Pizza Bar in Hamden, CT. In April 2016, patrons leaving the bar mistook the son of long-time CONECT Strategy Team leader, Odell Cooper, for someone they had been in a fight with earlier at the bar. The patrons followed Odell’s son for half a mile until he came to a red light, where they shot and killed him. Stirred by anger and grief, CONECT took action against the bar owner by requesting the Liquor Commission revoke the bar’s liquor license. A string of violence has emanated from Slyce Pizza Bar, with 5 other shootings, assaults, sexual assaults and more.



BUILD: Federal Judge Approves Consent Decree, Keeps Baltimore Police Accountable

A federal judge approved the Consent Decree fought for by BUILD leaders. BUILD was the first organization sought by the Department of Justice to interview for their investigation of the Baltimore Police Department. BUILD continued to meet all over the city and worked with the Mayor to approve the resulting Consent Decree before the current US President took office. 

 

When the Consent Decree moved to the federal court for consideration, BUILD co-chairs sent a letter to the judge emphasizing that it was crucial to approve the Consent Decree without delay. Organizer Gwen Brown and other BUILD leaders testified at the public hearing and will continue to work with DOJ thru process of choosing a monitor and making sure the immigrant population is included in consent decree. 



METRO IAF MOVES PRESIDENT OBAMA ON GUN SAFETY



DNSIB January 15: End Campaign Against "Smart Guns"

Click HERE for a pdf

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  Thursday, January 15

CONTACT: Matt McDermott matt.mcd9@gmail.com

 

FAITH AND CITIZEN LEADERS ASK GUN INDUSTRY TRADE GROUP

TO HELP END CAMPAIGN AGAINST “SMART GUNS”

 

LET THE MARKET DECIDE”

ON EVE OF SHOT SHOW, CLERGY VISIT NSSF HEADQUARTERS IN NEWTOWN, CT, SEEKING HELP IN ENDING BOYCOTT AND GETTING SAFER GUNS TO MARKET

 

NEWTOWN, CT -- Leaders of the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign – a national gun safety effort led by interfaith religious leaders – visited the headquarters of the main gun industry trade group this morning, asking the group to help end the campaign of intimidation aimed at keeping personalized guns, or “smart guns,” off the market.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, headquartered in Newtown, hosts the industry’s major trade show – the SHOT Show – next week in Las Vegas.

“The SHOT Show is the gun industry’s Christmas, Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan all rolled into one,” said Reverend Anthony Bennett, a Bridgeport Baptist pastor. “Thousands of gun enthusiasts will be gathered. There’s no better time and place to get the word out that the bullying has got to stop – that the market for ‘smart guns’ should be allowed to work.”

Personalized guns are guns in which built-in user-authentication technology prevents firing by unauthorized shooters. After many years of research and development, much of it subsidized by U.S. taxpayers, these guns are poised to enter the market. One such product, the Armatix iP1 was offered for sale briefly in 2014 by two gun dealers – one in California, one in Maryland – before a backlash from gun-rights activists forced the dealers to withdraw the product. The dealers reportedly received threats of boycotts as well as threats of violence from anonymous callers.

“We have never heard the NSSF utter a word of condemnation or even mild opposition to these efforts to shut down competition in their industry,” said Rabbi James Prosnit, a Reform rabbi in Fairfield, CT. “After the dealer in California was forced to withdraw the Armatix gun, the NSSF statement in the media was: ‘The market reacted.’ Threatening a gun dealer who wants to sell a safer gun isn’t a market reaction. It’s an anti-market reaction.”

Opponents of smart guns cite government mandates as their main concern. The state of New Jersey passed a unique law in 2002 forbidding the sale of non-personalized handguns beginning three years after the first personalized guns become available in the U.S. No other state has followed suit. Last month, however, New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General ruled that the Armatix iP1 is not a personalized gun under the meaning of the state’s mandate law, and that the sale of the iP1 would therefore have no consequences in regards to the law.

“New Jersey’s decision should remove any concern the NSSF has about the sale of this gun,” said Fr. David Blanchfield, a Catholic pastor from Norwalk, CT.

Do Not Stand Idly By (or DNSIB) has asked NSSF to:

·       Inform all SHOT Show visitors of the fact that sales of the Armatix iP1 will NOT trigger New Jersey’s mandate law, and encourage an end to efforts to harass dealers who decide to sell the gun. NSSF’s initial response: “We can assure you that our industry is well aware of the recent ruling.”

·       Encourage gun dealers across the U.S. to offer the iP1, and similar products, as options for consumers. NSSF has often said it is not opposed to personalized guns, just to government mandates. DNSIB is asking NSSF to act accordingly.

·       Meet with DNSIB to discuss alternative legislation to the New Jersey mandate. DNSIB believes that the state’s mandate is counterproductive, and has urged lawmakers to replace it with a set of policies to remove market barriers to personalized gun technology. DNSIB has twice asked NSSF to meet and discuss this apparent common ground. NSSF has declined to meet, citing a number of objections to personalized guns, and complaining about the name of the DNSIB campaign. (NSSF appears to be offended that the campaign has not recognized its many contributions to gun safety.)

Prior to visiting NSSF’s headquarters this morning, Rev. Bennett provided the following statement to media gathered at Edmund Town Hall on Main Street in Newtown:

Personalized gun technologies have the potential to do for guns what air bags and seat belts have done for cars. That is, they can save thousands of lives. They can save the lives of children who pick up their parents’ guns. They can save the lives of police officers whose guns are grabbed by criminals. They can reduce the number of people killed in accidental shootings. They can make a stolen gun into a useless gun.

But first we have to get these technologies to market. Let the market decide which of these technologies work best, and are best suited to different segments of gun buyers.

If the gun manufacturers don’t like Armatix or the other upstart smart-gun companies, let them produce a better, safer gun. Don’t block the competition – join the competition!

NSSF has no problem when gun companies compete with one another to bring greater and greater killing power to market. How about a competition based on greater and greater safety? How about a ‘race to the top’ in the gun industry?

Rev. Bennett is the pastor of Mount Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the co-chairperson of CONECT (Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut), and a leader in the national Do Not Stand Idly By campaign.

www.donotstandidlyby.org


How the NSSF Can Help Create a

Free and Open Market for “Smart Guns”

January 15, 2015

1.     Help end the consumer boycott

·       Notify SHOT Show visitors that the New Jersey Attorney General has ruled that sale of the Armatix iP1 will NOT trigger the state’s “smart gun” mandate

·       Encourage gun dealers across America to offer this and similar products as an option for consumers

2.     Push policies that remove market barriers

·       Support Do Not Stand Idly By approach to replace the New Jersey mandate law with policies to get personalized guns to market

·       Help us promote this approach in other states and at the federal level as an alternative to mandates

3.     Encourage manufacturers to respond to public-sector gun buyers

·       Ask member manufacturers to answer basic questions about personalized gun capabilities included in the Request for Information they received from 69 jurisdictions across the U.S.

·       Encourage a “race to the top” on gun safety among manufacturers


DO NOT STAND IDLY BY ASKS NSSF TO DISTRIBUTE THIS MEMO – OR SOMETHING LIKE IT – AT THE 2015 SHOT SHOW

 

NOTICE

TO: SHOT Show visitors and exhibitors

FROM: Steve Sanetti, President

Lawrence Keane, Sr. VP and General Counsel

 

RE: LET THE MARKET DECIDE THE VALUE OF PERSONALIZED GUN TECHNOLOGIES

 

DATE: January 20, 2015

The consistent position of the National Shooting Sports Foundation has been that personalized gun technologies should be offered as a consumer choice in the American gun marketplace, but not mandated by government.

Over the last year, as the first manufacturer has sought to bring a product in this category to market, there have been successful efforts to deter dealers from offering this product to consumers. There has been a concern among some gun enthusiasts that the sale of this gun, the Armatix iP1, would activate the New Jersey law passed in 2002 forbidding the sale of non-personalized handguns in the state three years after the sale of the first personalized gun in the United States. We shared this concern. We did not, however, support or condone the actions of a few who sought to use intimidation and threats to restrain commerce in this area.

Last month the Acting Attorney General of the State of New Jersey made the determination that the iP1 does NOT constitute a “personalized gun” for purposes of the New Jersey “smart gun” mandate law, and that the sale of this gun would NOT activate the three-year “clock” under the state law.

We therefore encourage you to support the right of licensed firearms dealers to offer the iP1 for sale. We believe that this product, and others like it, should be allowed to succeed or fail in the market, based on the merits of the product.



GCC Takes Action on Gun Violence and Overcharging

On May 29, 2014, GCC gathered 1,000 people at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church to  to call for shutting down the felon factory in Cuyahoga County and stopping the flow of illegal guns into our communities.

Together, GCC announced that we would no longer accept drug abuse criminalization and gun violence. "Until now we have given our silent consent for a culture that sends our youths, our families, our neighbors to prison for non-violent, low-level drug abuse – and they are labeled as felons on their life resume” said Rabbi Josh Caruso, GCC Co-Chair. “Until now we have given silent consent to the proliferation of guns in our society. Until now we have given silent consent as guns are illegally trafficked from the suburbs to the city – and back again.” 

Bishop Douglas Miles of the Industrial Areas Foundation Board of Directors, who traveled from Baltimore for the Action, called on GCC "to continue to move away from the shore and into deep waters" where there is more risk but even greater reward.

At the action, County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty agreed to meet with GCC within 45 days. GCC will press Prosecutor McGinty to report specifically what he will do to end the practice of pursuing felony charges for persons arrested for low-level, non-violent drug abuse by sending these cases back to the appropriate city prosecutors, who can charge these offenses as misdemeanors. 



Metro IAF Trip to Lobby European Gunmakers a Success

In early December, a team of Metro IAF delegates-- Rev. David Brawley of EBC, Bishop Douglas Miles of BUILD, Rev. Patrick O'Connor of EQUAL (Queens), and Joe Morris and Rabbi Joel Mosbacher of NJ Together -- travelled to Europe, seeking to engage gun manufacturers and other potential allies in efforts to reduce gun violence in the U.S.  Their focus was on three manufacturers who supply the bulk of the police guns in the U.S. and many of the military guns:  Glock in Austria, SIG Sauer in Germany, and Beretta in Italy.

With the help of DICO in Germany, and allies in Italy, they met with key leaders in government, industry, religious life, unions and media.  They found a shared interest in meeting the demand for safer guns and better distribution practices -- demand they are working to create among mayors, police chiefs, etc. at home.  

Here is a roundup of press and blog coverage of the trip and related developments at home.  Google Translate gives you a rough sense of what the German and Italian articles say.

 

U.S.

NY, NJ clergymen to lobby European gun makers to toughen rules for U.S. sales - NY Daily News

Religious Leaders Head To Europe To Lobby Gun Execs For Changes « CBS New York

Preventing Gun Violence a Year After Newtown | Rabbi Joshua Stanton

Newtown: A Year Later - Around Town - Rye, NY Patch

AP News: AP: NJ city to quiz gun vendors on safety issues

Jersey City mayor to other cities: Use police purchasing power to curb gun violence : page 1 - NorthJersey.com

Dec. 14, 2013 – Remembering Nelson Mandela

My Heart is in the West | Fresh Updates from RAC

NJJN: Clergy seek new allies in slowing gun toll

 

Germany

Gunmakers could make 'tremendous difference' | World | DW.DE | 13.12.2013

Winnenden: Kein amerikanisches Problem - Rems-Murr-Kreis - Stuttgarter Zeitung

Die Spur führt nach Deutschland - Wirtschaft - Süddeutsche.de

Gewalt an Schulen - Amerikaner zu Besuch in Winnenden

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwTKqt2-jai_TWhTOTduVVF0M3lmTmszNzE2MEZoSGRhMlJF/edit?usp=sharing

 

Italy

http://vaticanresources.s3.amazonaws.com/pdf%2Fquotidiano285.pdf (see bottom of page 6)

Le stragi degli Usa e gli affari di Beretta |Comune-info

Strage Newtown: la Beretta mette in sala d’attesa i delegati USA della Metro IAF / Si vis pacem... / Blog / Home - Unimondo

La Beretta si rifiuta di ricevere una delegazione interreligiosa dagli Stati Uniti

La Beretta rifiuta di ricevere una delegazione interreligiosa dagli Stati Uniti / Notizie / Home - Unimondo

Opal: Beretta non riceve delegazione interreligiosa amerciana | QuiBrescia

Un anno fa la strage di Newtown. Negli Usa le armi uccidono 30 mila persone - Redattore Sociale

Gardone Val Trompia:La Beretta rifiuta di ricevere una delegazione interreligiosa dagli Stati Uniti

Radio Onda d'Urto » BRESCIA: DELEGAZIONE DAGLI STATI UNITI PER CHIEDERE CONTO ALLA BERETTA DELLA SUA ATTIVITA’ DI PRODUZIONE DI MORTE

Il silenzio delle fabbriche d'armi |Comune-info

Miles: "Beretta agisca per salvare vite anche negli Usa" | QuiBrescia

The Seismograph

 

Austria

US-Geistliche kämpfen in Europa gegen die Waffenlobby - Waffen - derStandard.at › Panorama

Weihnachtswunsch - Kolumne - Familie - krone.at

 

 

 



GCC supports historic Criminal Justice reform bill in Ohio

Greater Cleveland Congregations, alongside allies from across the state of Ohio, championed an innovative criminal justice reform bill that will reduce or eliminate many barriers to employment for ex-offenders returning to their home communities.  Governor John Kasich went to Greater Cleveland Congregations for a public bill signing ceremony and celebratory event in Cleveland on July 14, 2012.



Greater Cleveland Congregations gets commitments to reform the Cuyahoga County criminal justice system.

On Feb. 20, nearly 1000 people from 40 congregations across Cuyahoga County assembled to elicit commitments from all five candidates for County Prosector, including:

  1. Eliminating the practice of encouraging juviniles to waive their right to counsel.
  2. Reforming the County's data system to track and abolish the practice of overcharging.
  3. Reducing racial disparities in prosecution.
  4. Increasing diversion and treatment programs for you.



BUILD organizes to keep Baltimore neighborhoods safe.

In response to the tragic murder of 12-year old Sean Johnson, BUILD acted quickly to call on Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to allocate a permanent police foot patrol to keep the neighborhood safe. BUILD is working with Major Melvin Russell, Eastern District Police Commander, and the Mayor to improve public safety and provide opportunities for neighborhood youth.




South London Citizens launches City Safe initiative to reduce neighborhood violence.

  South London Citizens' pioneering work on safety has been widely recognised and is increasingly emulated by statutory bodies (City Hall, Metropolitan Police, Liverpool MET, local authority safety partnerships). The first retail City Safe zone, Lewisham Shopping Centre, scooped recent business awards due to its success at tackling crime, increasing positive youth role‐models, raising investment and building stronger business partnerships. This led to the endorsement of City Safe by Westfield who plan to adopt the scheme in their next retail development. Research shows that theft and violent incidents have fallen since City Safe has been implemented in Lewisham, where citizens, businesses and security staff are working together.


In the News


Common Ground Holds First Bi-Lingual Delegates' Assembly

Thursday, May 4, 2017
Common Ground

Common Ground held a landmark action on April 26, conducting its first bilingual Delegates’ Assembly at the largest Latino parish in Milwaukee, St. Adalbert’s, located on the south side. 44 organizations and 750 leaders of all ages and backgrounds were represented, each dedicated to making Milwaukee a better place for everyone to live.

Common Ground’s presence has grown on the south side over the past year, thanks to dedicated leaders from our South Side caucus. These leaders made major contributions to Common Ground by increasing the number of south side member organizations and by organizing the 40/40 Group. The 40/40 Group is dedicated to training young community leaders on how to make change in their community using Common Ground’s social justice methods. Common Ground needs young community leaders like these for the vitality, savvy and dedication they bring now, and to ensure that Common Ground continues to gain power in the future.


Do You Want to Know if Your College Allows Guns on Campus?

Saturday, March 4, 2017
DNSIB Petition

While states across the country pass new “campus carry” laws, students and their families deserve access to information on colleges’ policies related to firearms. Therefore:

 

THE U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION should compile data on campus gun policies; and

COLLEGE PRESIDENTS & COLLEGE RATINGS SERVICES should make this information easily available to current and prospective students.

 

To read the full petition and sign,

go here:  http://bit.ly/2llmO0k


Sen. Schumer Joins Do Not Stand Idly By

Monday, October 26, 2015
Metro IAF

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                CONTACT: Angelo Roefaro

October 23, 2015                                            202-380-5990

SCHUMER STANDS WITH MORE THAN 100 NYC METRO-IAF LEADERS TO PUSH LARGE GUN-PURCHASING FEDERAL AGENCIES, LIKE DOD AND DOJ, TO PRESSURE GUN MAKERS TO MAKE SAFER GUNS AND TO CEASE DISTRIBUTING VIA DEALERS WHO FAIL TO COMPLETE BACKGROUND CHECKS; U.S. GOVERNMENT--LARGEST GUN BUYER--MUST USE GUN CONTRACTS TO PROD GUN MAKERS TO STEM TIDE OF GUN VIOLENCE BY IMPROVING GUN SAFETY AND DISTRIBUTION PRACTICES

Schumer & Metro IAF—Nation’s Largest & Longest-Standing Network Of Local Faith & Community-Based Organizations—Say Federal Government and Other Top Gun Purchasers Can Do More To Stem Gun Violence; Fed Government’s Purchasing Power Must be Leveraged to Change Gun Makers’ Deadly Ways

U.S. Government Makes Up 25% of Gun Market; With DOD/Army Currently Considering Massive $580M Purchase of Small Arms, Now Is The Time To Rewrite Requirements For Federal Contracts

Schumer: By Raising The Standards On Which Gun Manufactures Can Do Business With The Federal Government, We Can Make America Safer 

 

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, alongside leaders of the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro IAF), LICAN and their “Do Not Sit Idly By” gun safety campaign, pushed a plan using the federal government’s leverage as a top purchaser of guns and ammunition to get gun makers to make improvements to their gun distribution and production practices, which contribute greatly to high rates of gun violence in communities across America.

“The massive purchasing power of federal agencies, like the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice, can and should be used to hold gun makers accountable for a lack of gun safety and irresponsible gun distribution – and to change those practice for the better,” said Senator Schumer.

Schumer explained that the U.S. government, including the military and law enforcement agencies, makes up 25 percent of the gun market and, as the nation’s number one buyer of guns from major manufacturers, has leverage to change gun makers’ production and distribution practices in ways that can improve safety in American communities. In fact, Schumer and the Metro IAF pointed out, the Department of Defense is soliciting proposals from gun manufacturers for a $580 million contract to replace the current aging handgun models used by service members. Schumer explained that the federal government should use its significant leverage to garner vital information from gun makers and to prod them to improve gun safety features and their distribution practices.                                                                          

“While I respect individual rights on this matter, gun violence in America is far too high and we must take sensible steps to reduce gun violence in all our communities. As the number one buyer of guns, the U.S. government should use its significant leverage to hold gun makers accountable for gun safety and gun distribution,” said Senator Schumer. “Our plan is a smart way to use the federal government’s market power to force gun makers to change and to improve the safety in neighborhoods. Our plan will push the gun makers to make smarter guns – innovations that make it harder for these weapons to be used in crimes – and we will push the gun makers not to distribute through dealers who are supplying guns to people who have not passed a background check. I pledge to work with my friends at Metro IAF and everyone across New York to do all I can to help address the scourge of gun violence in sensible ways.”

Specifically, Schumer is calling on the U.S. Army to amend its currently-open $580 million contract for small arms to include provisions that require bidders to supply information about what they are doing to produce so-called ‘smart guns,’ which are harder for criminals to access and use, and what they are doing to bring those guns to market. Further, Schumer is urging the Army to select a gun contractor that agrees to only sell on the civilian market to gun stores that require completed background checks. Senator Schumer will call on federal agencies to follow the example of the bi-partisan group of police chiefs, sheriffs, mayors, county executives, and governors, organized by Metro IAF, by taking two sets of concrete actions:  1) Require bidders on federal gun contracts to provide substantive answers to government queries about their distribution practices and safety technologies, and begin measuring their performance in these areas.  2) Expand research and development on “smart guns” and other safety technologies and explore the law enforcement and military applications of these technologies.

Further, to jump start better research and development of ‘smart gun’ technology and innovation, Schumer is pushing to triple funding to $6 million for Department of Justice to fund Gun Safety Technology grants. Currently, the National Institute of Justice conducts research on smart guns technology, however, Schumer said that even more needs to be done. This year, the National Institute of Justice received $2 million in DOJ grant funding and Schumer is asking that its federal DOJ funding be tripled. Schumer said that increased funding will help further develop technology that exclusively allows only an authorized user to fire a gun and deactivates when used by unauthorized users. Overall, Schumer explained that his plan will help get crime guns off our streets and help reduce gun violence.

“When it comes to sensible gun policy, the federal government has real market power, but it also has the power of example and it can show many other entities how to positively impact the behavior of the gun makers in ways that reduces violence -- without reducing anyone’s rights,” continued Schumer.

 Schumer was joined by Rabbi Larry Sebert, Reverend Getty Cruz, Rabbi Stef Kolin, Reverend David K. Brawley, Reverend Gawain de Leeuw, Rabbi Angela Buchdahl and leaders from Manhattan Today, South Bronx Churches, East Brooklyn Congregations, Westchester United, LI CAN and EQUAL.

“As the murder of Officer Randolph Holder in East Harlem shows, even New York City is awash in illegal guns,” said Reverend Getulio Cruz, pastor of Monte Sion Christian Church and a leader in Metro IAF.  “It’s time for the leading gun manufacturers to sever ties with the nation’s most irresponsible gun dealers.  And it’s time for the federal agencies that buy guns from those manufacturers to use their clout in the marketplace to demand that they do.” 

“Senator Chuck Schumer has been a leader on guns throughout his career,” said Rabbi Larry Sebert, Senior Rabbi at Town and Village Synagogue.  “As well as anyone in America, he knows the limits of what Congress can and will do.  He knows, like all of us do, that gun sanity can’t wait for Congress.  And he knows that the largest gun buyer in America certainly has a powerful voice in the firearms marketplace.”

A copy of Schumer’s letter is below:

Dear Secretary McHugh,

I understand that the U.S. Army recently released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new Modular Handgun System procurement competition requiring that proposals from interested contractors be submitted by January 28, 2016. I am writing today to urge the Army to amend the current RFP to include a deliverable requiring prospective contractors to include gun safety measures and distribution practices in their proposals. 

The Army regularly purchases hundreds of thousands of guns to arm our forces. In fact, the federal government is the largest purchaser of guns in the country – purchasing more than twenty five percent of the guns and ammunition sold in the United States. The manufacturers who sell guns to the military are the same ones who sell guns to civilian men and women across the country through local dealers and sporting goods stores. Unfortunately, because of a loophole in the background check system, not all guns are sold with a completed background check. During the last five years, more than 15,000 guns were sold to prohibited purchasers with incomplete background checks. This dangerous loophole means that people such as the Charleston killer are able to legally purchase a gun despite past prohibitive behavior. 

We know that even a fully functioning background check system cannot prevent all gun violence. We regularly see horrific accidents that could be prevented by smart gun technology, such as an 11 year old boy killing an 8 year old girl in Jefferson County, Tennessee earlier this month, hence the need for better innovations that make weapons workable only for the actual owner.  

As a standard part of the Army’s procurement process, I understand you require firearm manufactures to submit proposals with specific deliverables.  With this in mind, I urge the U.S. Army to include a deliverable in the current and future RFPs that would require gun manufacturers to agree to solely sell their guns in stores that require completed background checks prior to sale.  In addition, I also respectfully request that the amended RFP require all participating bidders to lay out a plan for the development and sale of smart or childproof guns and accessories.  The U.S. Army should do all it can to ensure that companies participating in small arms acquisition procurements are held accountable for their involvement in the civilian market, and are properly incentivized to promote smart gun technology and protections. Ideally, the RFP would require bidders on federal gun contracts to provide substantive answers to government queries about their distribution practices and safety technologies, and begin measuring their performance in these areas, and it would expand research and development on “smart guns” and other safety technologies and explore the law enforcement and military applications of these technologies.

There is no question that gun violence in America must be immediately addressed. Requiring manufacturers who participate in the procurement process to develop stronger gun safety measures will not improve public safety in the short term by closing background check loopholes, but lead to development of better protective technology for children and families.  

Thank you for your attention to this issue and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator


Greater Cleveland Congregations Leads Momentum for Police Reform

Friday, March 6, 2015
Cleveland Plain Dealer

                                     

Momentum Appears to be Building toward Meaningful Police Reform in Cleveland

For all the anger and mistrust swirling around the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and the release of a critical U.S. Department of Justice report on the use of excessive force by Cleveland police, voices are being raised in clear expectation that meaningful change can be achieved.

These voices come from within the community and from City Hall, where Mayor Frank Jackson has become increasingly forthright about his determination to negotiate a meaningful and -- from his perspective -- fair consent decree with the Justice Department.

The public's input is equally important, and it is heartening to see the Greater Cleveland Congregations, a collection of faith communities, join the dialogue over police reform. They've made a number of recommendations they would like included in a consent decree.

"We see a chance to seize an opportunity, an opportunity to shape changes within the Cleveland police department," Louise McKinney of the Greater Cleveland Congregations said last month during a gathering at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, where her organization handed over its proposals to Jackson and U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach.

Many of the GCC's suggestions make sense, including a greater push toward bias-freepolicing, more diversity on the police force, improved hiring practices and a commitment from both the Justice Department and the city to help pay for the much-needed reforms.

http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/03/momentum_appears_to_be_buildin.html


Actions to Deliver RFIs to Gun Manufacturers Across Country

Monday, November 10, 2014
Associated Press
Metro leaders visit seven gun manufacturers and investors in New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Georgia to deliver RFIs to some of America’s largest gunmakers, including Colt Manufacturing and Sturm Ruger in Connecticut and Glock’s U.S. headquarters in Georgia. Press roundup below:
 
New York / New Jersey
CBS New York:
 
Bergen Record:
 
News12 Westchester:
 
Talk of the Sound
 
Connecticut
New Haven Register:
 
Fox CT:
 
NBC Connecticut:
 
Eyewitness News 3 (WFSB):
 
NewsTimes / Connecticut Post:
 
Hartford Courant:
 
National
AP Teaser (example below, published on 20-30 sites across country)

German Deutsche Welle Interviews Rabbi Joel Mosbacher on Metro-IAF's Gun Violence Reduction Campaign

Monday, December 16, 2013
Deutsche Welle

One year after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, US gun violence continues unabated. European manufacturers compound the problem.

The father of Joel Mosbacher, a rabbi from New Jersey, was shot dead in a petty robbery in 1999. The anger stayed with his son, but he decided to use it wisely and got involved in the citizens' organizing network Metro IAF.

This year, he and other clergy from New Jersey started the "Do Not Stand Idly By" initiative to reduce gun violence. A key demand is to get gunmakers to accept responsibility, and act accordingly.

The top manufacturers fueling US gun culture are all European. Mosbacher and other local clergy have therefore decided to raise awareness and confront the manufacturers in Europe. DW talked to Rabbi Mosbacher about his visit.


Metro IAF Delegation Lobbies Gun Manufacturers Abroad

Friday, December 13, 2013
New York Daily News

Clergy members from Metro IAF affiliates left Sunday, December 9th to lobby European gun manufacturers as part of the “Do Not Stand Idly By” gun violence reduction campaign. The clergy are seeking meetings with Austria’s Glock, Germany’s SIG Sauer and Italy’s Berretta, which dominate gun sales to police departments and government agencies in the U.S.

Their goals are to:

  1. Meet with executives at the major gun manufacturers Glock, SIG Sauer, and Baretta, as well as officials, policymakers, and local leaders.
  2. Learn more about European efforts to develop the relatively "safe gun" and firearms tracing technologies.
  3. Discuss the importance of conditions placed on firearms export licenses from Europe to the U.S.

Metro IAF has gotten a lot of press over this trip, including internationally. Read all about it here:

New York Daily News:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/12/08/religious-leaders-head-to-europe-to-lobby-gun-execs-for-changes/

Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joshua-stanton/preventing-gun-violence-a_b_4409066.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

Redattore Sociale: (Italian- Click HERE for translation)

http://www.redattoresociale.it/Notiziario/Articolo/451055/Un-anno-fa-la-strage-di-Newtown-Negli-Usa-le-armi-uccidono-30-mila-persone

Suddeutsche: (German- Click HERE for translation)

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/waffen-in-amerika-blutspur-nach-europa-1.1841620

 


Preventing Gun Violence a Year After Newtown

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
The Huffington Post

The days after the Newtown massacre, I, like so many religious and civic leaders, had the difficult task of meeting with scared parents and frightened students about the school shooting. There was nothing I could say that could possibly console them or alleviate all of their fears. My role was primarily one of listening and helping people find words to describe what they were feeling.

In many streams of Jewish thought, as in many other traditions, reflection is thought to be the basis for action. Careful, thoughtful, concerted action in response to what we learn through the reflective process. To the dismay of many, we as a country have not taken decisive action to prevent gun violence.

Gun violence has continued. I and many others feel far too passive as we watch the news and see story after story about it.


NY, NJ clergymen to lobby European gun makers to toughen rules for U.S. sales

Sunday, December 8, 2013
NY Daily News

In a novel approach, the religious leaders fly across the Atlantic on Sunday to push European gun manufacturers, who have a roughly 25% share of the U.S. market, to apply some of the more stringent standards they already follow in their own countries to the weapons they sell in the U.S.

RELATED: THANKSGIVING PRIME TIME TO TALK ABOUT GUNS: GROUP

They want the European gunmakers, for example, to refuse to allow their weapons to be sold through unlicensed gun dealers. They also want the manufacturers to renounce political meddling in the U.S. through contributions to lobbying groups like the National Rifle Association.

Their mission is the work of the Metro Industrial Arts Foundation, better known as Metro IAF, the highly effective grass-roots organizing group that is legendary in New York for building thousands of units of affordable housing.


Opinion: On stop-and-frisk, both sides are wrong

Friday, May 3, 2013
New York Daily News

 

New York City’s unprecedented crime reduction has been remarkable for its scale and persistence. But our city has the bad habit of either taking its successes for granted or losing sight of why and how progress was made. Both supporters and critics of recent police practices — stop-and-frisk in particular — have repeated these mistakes. Supporters incorrectly hold the tactic responsible for building a safer city; critics would have us sacrifice the effective response of the NYPD at the altar of reform.


At Dorchester church, faith leaders, political candidates call for peace, unity in wake of marathon bombings

Monday, April 22, 2013
The Boston Globe

 

Area spiritual leaders from several religions and local political candidates gathered at Saint Mark Parish in Dorchester on Sunday evening to show support and unity after a sequence of brutal violence over the past week.

More than 500 people – a blend of Christians, Jews and Muslims – packed the basement of the century-old Catholic church to pray, reflect, sing and rally together.

Led by the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, the event also drew candidates running for the US Senate seat vacated by John Kerry and others eyeing the First Suffolk District State Senate seat vacated by John A. Hart Jr.

Planning for the event began several weeks ago. Organizers said they originally intended to ask the candidates to explain their positions on key issues, including gun violence, youth programming, immigration and health care.

But after two deadly bombings on Marathon Monday followed by a manhunt Thursday and Friday that left one police officer dead and another wounded, the forum’s agenda changed.

 

His Father’s Murder Drives a Rabbi’s Pursuit of Gun Control

Friday, April 19, 2013
New York Times

In the months after his father’s murder in early 1999, those months stretching formlessly between the mourning ritual of shiva and the impending trial of a suspect, Rabbi Joel Mosbacher received many messages of solace. There was one type, however, that tested every atom of clerical forbearance he possessed“People said in this trying-to-be-helpful way, ‘This will make you a better rabbi,’ ” Rabbi Mosbacher, 43, recalled. “And nothing made me angrier. I didn’t want to be a better rabbi. I wanted my dad back.” ...While the rabbi had done a bit of tentative speaking on gun control as early as 2000, his commitment accelerated after 2006, when he first learned about the Industrial Areas Foundation. As a legacy of the renowned community organizer Saul Alinsky, the foundation largely mobilizes religious congregations. Its style, far from being earnest, is proudly combative.


Gun control without waiting for Congress

Thursday, April 18, 2013
New York Daily News

Fifty-five days after Newtown, daily reports of bipartisan support for measures to curb gun trafficking vie with photos of caskets holding the bodies of more young victims of violence.

Meantime, it is becoming clear that the progress of new legislation in Congress will be limited by politicians’ fears that aggressive action will cost contributions and votes in pro-gun districts.

Another response, proposed for many years by mayors and our own citizens organizations, does not depend on lawmakers. The purchasing power of the largest buyers of weapons — police departments, the U.S. military and the Homeland Security Department — can and should be used immediately to create a code of responsible conduct for gun manufacturers and gun dealers.


Mayoral hopefuls' plans for public safety should scare New Yorkers witless

Monday, March 25, 2013
New York Daily News

Seven candidates appeared at the third of the mayoral forums sponsored by the Daily News and the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation citizens group. The topic was public safety. All were advised to come prepared to explain how he or she would hold the line on crime or drive it still lower — the central duty of any mayor. All were given the opportunity to present their three most important strategies. Not one of them was convincing or spoke with a semblance of coherence or authority. Since 1990, the city has enjoyed a steady downward trend in felonies. Under Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the NYPD has reduced crime to record levels, an achievement that strengthened the foundation of the city’s resurgence. Allow fear to return, and all will be lost, including lives.


Governor signs Collateral Sanction Reform Bill

Saturday, July 14, 2012
Fox News Cleveland

Governor John Kasich met with Greater Cleveland Congregations members Monday to discuss collateral sanctions reforms. "You don't want to look the other way when you have a human being that has a chance to realize their God given potential," Kasich said. With that realization, Kasich ceremonially signed into law the Collateral Sanction Reform Bill. It removes job barriers for nearly 2 million Ohioans with criminal records.

 

 
 

Moving forward on criminal justice reform: Rev. Jawanza Colvin, Rabbi Joshua Caruso and The Very Rev. Tracey Lind

Saturday, June 30, 2012
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Earlier this year, nearly 1,000 people from the 40 diverse religious and community groups that constitute Greater Cleveland Congregations gathered at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood to speak with one voice: Our state needs criminal justice reform. Senate Bill 337, which revises Ohio's archaic system of collateral sanctions for ex-offenders re-integrating into our communities, is a tremendous step in the right direction, and we celebrate Gov. John Kasich signing this bill into law.


For New York Police, There’s No End to the Stops

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The New York Times

New York City’s public advocate, Bill de Blasioput forward a modest proposal last week. He wants the Police Department to include the number of street stop-and-frisks, which is in a state of geometric expansion, in its weekly review of precinct crime statistics.  A few hours later, a cannonade sounded at City Hall.  “When Bill de Blasio last served in the city’s executive branch, there were 2,000 murders a year,” Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said. “Mr. de Blasio may be nostalgic for the days when the A.C.L.U. set crime policy in this city, but most New Yorkers don’t want rampant crime to return.”


Why stop and frisk? Here’s a better way

Friday, May 11, 2012
New York Daily News

By  / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Mayor Bloomberg recently invited a group of clergy for a discussion of the Police Department’s stop, question and frisk procedures and their impact in the African-American and Hispanic communities. We attended and appreciated the opportunity to hear the mayor’s views and to share our own.


Five county prosecutor candidates pledge reform

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Cleveland Jewish News

Five Democratic candidates for Cuyahoga County prosecutor promised criminal justice reforms to a standing-room only crowd nearly 1,000 at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple at a February 20 forum organized by Greater Cleveland Congregations. No Republican entered the race, so the March 6 Democratic primary will determine the next prosecutor.