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Gun Control in the Wake of the Parkland High School Massacre

WHEREAS, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ("NAACP") has a long-standing record of supporting gun safety initiatives that would make it more difficult for people with questionable motives and impaired mental capacity to obtain firearms, ensure a permanent renewal of the assault weapons ban, and mandate the authorization for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to receive notifications of persons who are mentally ill or dangerous. Further, the NAACP opposes any attempt to increase the presence of armed guards inside schools; and 

WHEREAS, 33,594 people died by gun violence in 2014; subsequently there has been a spike in gun violence as the death toll alarmingly rose to over 38,000 deaths in 2016; and

WHEREAS, a study conducted in 1998 found that every time a gun in the home was used in self-defense or for a legally-justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings; and during the time period of 2007 through 2011, 235,700 self-protected behaviors involved a firearm; and

WHEREAS, a 2008 study found that a one percent increase in gun ownership correlates with a roughly 0.9 percent increase in the firearm homicide rate; and a 2013 study reports that across all 50 states, "during 1981 and 2010, states that had higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large number of deaths from firearm-related homicides." A 2015 study reported that "firearm assaults were 6.8 times more common in states with the most guns versus those with the least;" and

WHEREAS, in a 2008 study, individuals in possession of a gun were 4.46 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession; among gun assaults where the victim had at least some chance to resist, this adjusted the odds ratio and increased it to 5.45; and a 2015 study found that people who had access to firearms at home were nearly twice as likely to be murdered as people who did not; and

WHEREAS, recently, several horrific school shootings have occurred in the United States, including one on February 14, 2018 at the Parkland High School in Florida, have caused to even greater concerns for the safety of children, staff and faculty within the confines of school grounds; and

WHEREAS, there have been proposals to give firearms to teachers and other school staff with the expectation that these personnel, while caring for frightened children in an emergency, would risk their lives, and the children's lives, by engaging assailants who are firing multiple-round military-style weapons; and

WHEREAS, regardless of length of firearm and safety training, it is not safe for teachers to possess guns in the classroom; and

WHEREAS, teachers are trained as educators and are not qualified to act as licensed or trained sheriff deputies or police officers; and

WHEREAS, firearms in the classroom will frighten students and interfere with the learning environment.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms its 2008 Resolution, NAACP Continues to Support Laws to Prevent Gun Violence and Increase Gun Safety Nationwide, and its 2013 Resolution, NAACP Support Safe, Sane, and Sensible Laws to Prevent Gun Violence; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP adopts the following as its gun control legislative priorities and urges their adoption nationwide:

  • Raise the age to purchase a firearm to 21 years old;
  • Ban future purchases and possession of bump stocks and other automatic capacity conversion kits, accessories, and parts;
  • Ban future purchases and possession of military-style assault guns, and military high capacity ammunition clips exceeding 11 bullets;
  • Ban Straw purchases;
  • Conduct universal background checks to include the alerting and reporting of mental health issues that should disqualify an individual from gun possession;
  • Ban domestic terrorists or animal abusers, the seriously mentally ill, and those on the Transportation Security Administration terror watch lists from purchasing firearms;
  • Allocate increased resources to mental health programs for children enrolled in the educational system from K-12;
  • Restore funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study gun violence as a major public health crisis;
  • Allocate federal resources to incentivize and assist states in improving reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS);
  • Continue requiring background checks and permits for gun silencers;
  • Require microstamping or ballistic fingerprinting of all new firearms and ammunition sold in the U.S.;
  • Repeal all state "stand your ground" laws, restoring the use of deadly force as a last resort; and
  • Encourage local jurisdictions to utilize their "buyer power" to create incentives for firearm manufacturers to employ "counter-marketing" strategies to ensure that their retailers are using all available procedures to prevent illegal firearms diversion.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, thatthe NAACP opposes arming teachers, faculty and staff with firearms on school campus grounds; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP reaffirms its continued support for safe, sane, and sensible measures to end gun violence.

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