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NAACP Supports Safe, Sane and Sensible Laws to Prevent Gun Violence

WHEREAS, current estimates are that there are 270 million guns held by civilians in the United States today. That means there are almost 90 firearms for every 100 men, women and children in the U.S. today; and

WHEREAS, people of color account for the majority of gun-violence victims. There are large racial disparities in homicide rates due to gun violence. The gun­ homicide rate for black males is 2.4 times as high as that of Latino males, and it is 15.3 times as high as the rate for non-Hispanic white males. Murder and non­ negligent manslaughter victims are most frequently black or Latino, with blacks comprising 67 percent of victims and Latinos comprising 28.1 percent. Blacks make up roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population, but in 2010-the last year for which data is available-they suffered 56 percent of all firearm homicides; and

WHEREAS, gun injuries disproportionately affect communities of color. Of the 34,347 children and teens who suffered gun injuries in the United States in 2008 and 2009, almost half were black, and more than one-fifth were Latino. Black teens alone are 25 times more likely to be injured by a gun than white teens; and

WHEREAS, the cost of gun violence is a significant burden on the health care system. Firearm-related injuries generally require hospitalization and significant emergency center resources. In 2005, U.S hospitals charged $108.4 million to care for about 10,000 victims of firearm injuries. This strains the health services available in disadvantaged areas and exacerbates the health disparities that already exist within communities of color; and

WHEREAS, an estimated 40 percent of U.S. gun sales-more than 6 million gun transfers-originate from private sellers, who are not required to perform background checks. It is this loophole that primarily enables the transfer of guns from dealers to city neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, on April 17, 2013, the United States Senate voted against a modest background check proposal therefore stalling meaningful gun violence prevention legislation for the time being; and

WHEREAS, it is outrageous and unacceptable that some senators decided to put the profit interests of the gun lobby and gun manufacturers, dealers and distributors ahead of the protection of the people and the lives of our children;

WHEREAS, since the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was passed in 1993 to mandate all licensed gun dealers perform universal background checks, the FBI has conducted more than 150 million background checks in connection with gun sales, blocking gun transfers in more than 1.7 million instances; and

WHEREAS, despite the success of National Instant Criminal Background Check System, ten states have failed to provide any mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and 18 others have submitted fewer than 100 records since the creation of the system in 1999; and

WHEREAS, since the expiration of the assault weapons ban in 2004, the number of shootings per year in which an assault weapon was used has doubled, and the number of victims per year has nearly tripled; and

WHEREAS, assault weapons are military-style weapons of war, made for offensive military battlefields. They are weapons of choice for criminal gangs, drug dealers, police murderers and mass killers and have no place in civilized society; and

WHEREAS, high capacity ammunition clips allow shooters to shoot as many as 100 bullets before stopping to reload. In the cases of numerous mass shootings, killers were stopped only when they were forced to pause to reload their weapons; and

WHEREAS, some proposals have called for police officers or armed security personnel, also known in some areas as "Resource Officers" to be placed in schools across the country or to arm teachers or administrators; and

WHEREAS, there exists a body of literature that argues that police in schools has the result of criminalizing student behavior such as class skipping and other acts of defiance and pipelining kids into the juvenile justice system, often referred to as the 'school to prison pipeline,' rather than in-school counseling and discipline; and

WHEREAS, rather than criminalizing children or adding more guns into the school environment, our nation should focus on providing resources so that more counselors and mental health professionals can be hired and placed in public schools to help assist, monitor and prevent violence before it happens, while securing schools to prevent gun violence from entering the school and enhancing security for students traveling to and from school.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP specifically calls for a permanent ban on the sale, transfer, importation, and manufacturing of military­ style assault weapons as well as large-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls for comprehensive, universal background checks of all gun purchasers, including those who buy their guns through private sales, gun shows or through the internet; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls on the federal government to withhold grants and funding to states and federal agencies until they submit information about disqualified individuals, including mentally ill and other dangerous people for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP reiterates its call for an increase in federal resources for more comprehensive security, including technology and community policing, in high-crime neighborhoods surrounding some schools; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we reiterate our request for support for more counselors and mental health professionals in all schools to help stop all types of violence; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NAACP opposes any policy recommendations that increase the presence of armed guards inside schools and/or criminalizes students for non-violent behaviors; and

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