PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 21, 2012 — CeaseFirePA, a coalition of Pennsylvanians, mayors, police chiefs, faith leaders, and community organizations, declared that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has completely removed itself from the state and national conversations about gun violence and gun violence prevention. Shira Goodman, CeaseFirePA Executive Director, explained, “The NRA demonstrated today that it is completely out of step with the public, which has been calling for leadership and real action on the issue of how to keep our families safe from gun violence. The NRA’s solution – more guns in our schools – is an acknowledgment that it has nothing to contribute to a meaningful dialogue about how to reduce gun violence.”
Even as the NRA officials addressed a shocked nation this morning and called for immediately placing armed guards in all schools, the carnage from unchecked gun violence flared again in Pennsylvania. Four people were shot and killed in a shooting along a rural road in central Pennsylvania, and three Pennsylvania state troopers were injured responding to the incident. More facts will be forthcoming, but one thing we already know: introducing more guns leads to more gun violence, more injuries, and more deaths. It’s not the right path.
CeaseFirePA responded to the NRA’s “solution” by explaining that the question of armed guards in schools should be addressed in coordination by school administrators, local officials, police officers, security professionals, teachers and parents. “It is a complicated issue, and one that deserves careful attention by all of these constituencies. The NRA’s focus on this as the single solution is strong evidence that NRA leaders are trying to distract the public from a broad-based approach to reducing gun violence and keeping our communities safer.”
The NRA was right about one thing: today is a day for “decisive action.” But that action is for our leaders and policy makers to listen to the voices of Pennsylvanians and Americans who are calling for a serious examination of different policy approaches to address the pressing problem of gun violence. Observed Goodman, “We respect the victims and survivors with such action; the NRA today dishonored them by blaming parents for living in gun-free school districts and offering a solution that fails to address the serious problems of illegal guns and access to guns by people who should not have them.”