NYAGV Explains How You Can Participate in the Gun Debate |


Over the last two decades, DCTV’s third floor tenant, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV), has established itself as a leader in the fight against gun violence. NYAGV uses legislative advocacy and education to encourage positive changes in both public opinion and policy. As you can imagine, given all the recent talk surrounding gun safety, they've been very busy over the last few months. We chatted with Leah Gunn Barrett, NYAGV’s Executive Director, to get her take on some of the more recent developments in the gun debate.

For those that don't know, could you summarize the gun safety legislation proposed in response to President Obama's call for action?

S.649, Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 – This bill would require background checks for every gun sale and get missing records of prohibited gun purchasers into the national gun background check database; would toughen enforcement against gun dealers who skirt the law by avoiding background checks and on those why buy guns for others knowing the guns will be used in a violent or gun trafficking crime; enhances school and campus safety by increasing school security grants and sets up national center for campus public safety.

In addition to this bill, Senator Feinstein has proposed banning semiautomatic assault weapons like the AR-15 used by Adam Lanza in the Newtown massacre. Senator Lautenberg has proposed a ban on high capacity ammunition magazines, which have been used in the mass shootings at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Oak Creek, Aurora and Newtown.

Since the debate on this issue changes daily, what are the latest developments you think the public should be aware of, if they aren't already?

The Senate voted today to bring the bill to the floor for debate which may go on for a week. If the bill makes it through the Democratic Senate, still not at all certain, then it will go to the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans.

How can the average person get involved in this issue?

There are several things you can do right now.

  1. Go to our website: www.nyagv.org and click on Take Action to call your senators asking them to support S.649.
  2. You can volunteer to join a phone banking evening, hold a house party to support our work or help out in the office. Call (212) 679-2345 to see how you can get involved in our work.
  3. You can become a member by going to www.nyagvedfund.org and clicking on DONATE. Membership starts at $35 per year. Without your support, our work would not be possible.