Vigil For Gun Violence Victims

Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence held a Vigil on December 12 at City Market to read the names of homicide victims killed by firearms in Marion County in the past twelve months. This was our contribution to the National Vigil for Victims of Gun Violence this weekend coordinated by the Newtown Action Coalition for the second anniversary of the Newtown shootings.
We read the 96 names available of the 139 firearm shootings reported. Stephen Dunlop, MD gave a short address on the public health implications of this epidemic particularly affecting young black men emphasizing the need to get guns off the street while we work to lower the number of young men at high risk to be drawn into criminal activity by creating better job opportunities and education. Photos from the event are of Rev. Bruce Russell-Jayne reading the opening prayer and Rev. Roger Heimer reading names

Prayer for Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence Public Rally for the 2nd Anniversary of the Newtown School Shooting

Prayer for Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence Public Rally for the 2nd Anniversary of the Newtown School Shooting

~ Rev. Bruce R. Russell-Jayne

As the date of second anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting nears we remember the children, teachers, and families of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Will you please join me in a prayer for the victims of gun violence in Newtown and in Indianapolis?

“O God of Love, We come here today praying for a safe home, an Indianapolis where our families are nourished and protected by churches and schools and governments. We want to be proud of our city; we want it to be a healthy and a life-giving community. We strive to build a more wholesome future for our children and grandchildren. We look to the God who loves children to guide us toward this vision. But, for now, we find it hard to believe in such a splendid vision.

What we see instead is too many people’s lives taken away by guns. We come here today with a strong memory of the horrendous tragedy of Newtown. In spite of all the good things that have happened there in the past two years, that community continues to grieve. And the nightmare continues. There have been nearly a hundred more school shootings since Newtown. Here in Indianapolis hundreds of families mourn loved ones killed by guns in the last two years. Every time another shooting takes place, those who have lost a child to gun violence are overwhelmed by great feelings of sadness or anger. We grieve with these families. Guns on our streets makes us fear for our safety. We are impatient with our leaders who haven’t taken effective action to stop this plague of gun violence. We must cry out an essential truth – guns are killing our children.

We wonder if people are worshipping a God who loves Guns instead of a God who loves Children.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We come here today with great determination to make our children safer.  We pray for the guns to be removed from our streets.

If that were to happen, we believe there would be fewer tragic stories of lives taken by guns. If that were so, there would be respite for those who suffer the pain of losing a child, and the fear in the people could subside. We would see inner-city children begin to believe their lives would not be ended too soon, and they could have hope for what lies ahead. In order to realize this vision, we pray for a renewal of respect for the lives and security of each and every citizen of Indianapolis, remembering others love the sweetness of life as fully as we do. We pray for a future where each of us practice unwavering concern for all of our children and our children have a sense of peace. We pray for courage to stop gun violence – now.”


NRA leader’s rhetoric causes concern


The 143rd annual NRA Convention was held in Indianapolis in April 2014. (Photo: Star File )

National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre is a pawn of the gun lobby, which provides financial support to the NRA. The objective of the gun lobby is to maximize the sale of firearms in America by fighting any legislation that could hurt sales. The following is an excerpt from his speech to the NRA convention in Indianapolis in April: “We do not trust government because government has proven unworthy of our trust. We trust ourselves and we trust that we know in our hearts to be right. We trust our freedom. In this uncertain world, surrounded by lies and corruption everywhere you look, there is no greater freedom than the right to survive and protect our families with all the rifles, shotguns and handguns we want.”

On May 23, reported the following quote by LaPierre. “Americans are buying guns because of reckless government actions and because the entire fabric of society is in jeopardy.” He goes on to say “it is why more and more Americans are buying firearms and ammunition. Not to cause trouble but because America is already in trouble. We know that sooner or later reckless government actions have consequences that when government corrupts the truth and breaks faith with the American people, the entire fabric of society, everything we believe in and count on, is then in jeopardy.”

His rhetoric is disturbing, especially in light of those in Congress and the Indiana legislature who take his campaign contributions and do his bidding.

One would think that our elected representatives in government would want to put as much distance as possible between themselves and LaPierre.

Edmund Smith

Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence

Gun makers profit from tragedy

(From left) Rick Boldin and Amelia Hagedorn, aunt and uncle of shooting victim Elizabeth Marie Hagedorn, mourn the loss of their niece as Organizing For Action and Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence held a remembrance event for victims of gun violence at City Market on Friday, December 13, 2013. Saturday is the one year anniversary of the shootings in Newtown Connecticut. Local names were also read of all firearm homicide victims in Indianapolis since the Newtown shootings.(Photo: Star 2013 File Photo )

IndyStar 6:12 p.m. EDT April 21, 2014

The Sandy Hook school tragedy was a big boost to gun sales for companies like Sturm, Ruger & Co., the largest publicly traded gun maker in the United States and the only full line manufacturer of American-made firearms including assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols.

The gun industry profits from the fear generated by gun violence. The goal of the industry is to maximize profits by arming everyone in America. They give millions to the NRA to fight sensible legislation that polls show the vast majority of Americans support.

Sen. Dan Coats understands this and yet voted against universal background checks, which most people in Indiana supported. His vote was a vote to allow continued easy access to guns by criminals and the mentally ill. Was that vote due to fear of the NRA , or the $19,800 he received from the gun lobby or was it both?

The sad fact is that it is all about money.

Edmund Smith


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PBS commentator Mark Shields says more killed by guns since ’68 than in all U.S. wars


By Louis Jacobson on Friday, January 18th, 2013 at 11:27 a.m.

Commentator Mark Shields said more Americans have been killed by gunfire since 1968 than in all the wars in the nation’s history. Is that correct?

Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., supporters and opponents of gun control have thrown out statistics to support their point of view.

Here’s one that caught our eye, offered by liberal commentator Mark Shields on the Dec. 21, 2012, edition of the PBS NewsHour.

Shields told host Judy Woodruff, “You know, Judy, the reality is — and it’s a terrible reality — since Robert Kennedy died in the Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968, more Americans have died from gunfire than died in … all the wars of this country’s history, from the Revolutionary through the Civil War, World War I, World War II, in those 43 years. … I mean, guns are a problem. And I think they still have to be confronted.”

Is the death toll that high? Let’s examine each half of his comparison.

Deaths from warfare

We found a comprehensive study of war-related deaths published by the Congressional Research Service on Feb. 26, 2010, and we supplemented that with data for deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan using the website Where possible, we’ve used the broadest definition of “death” — that is, all war-related deaths, not just those that occurred in combat.

Here’s a summary of deaths by major conflict:


Revolutionary War


War of 1812


Mexican War


Civil War (Union and Confederate, estimated)


Spanish-American War


World War I


World War II


Korean War


Vietnam War


Persian Gulf War


Afghanistan War


Iraq War




Gunfire deaths

The number of deaths from gunfire is a bit more complicated to total. Two Internet-accessible data sets from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allow us to pin down the number of deaths from 1981 to 1998 and from 1999 to 2010. We’ve added FBI figures for 2011, and we offer a number for 1968 to 1980 using a conservative estimate of data we found in a graph in this 1994 paper published by the CDC.

Here is a summary. The figures below refer to total deaths caused by firearms:

1968 to 1980 377,000
1981 to 1998 620,525
1999 to 2010 364,483
2011 32,163
Total 1,384,171


Gun Control Wins in Washington State

image1Supporters cheer as results come in at an election night party for Initiative 594, a measure seeking universal background checks on gun sales and transfers, on Nov. 4, 2014, in Seattle. Elaine Thompson/AP

Gun control wins in Washington State

By Michele Richinick

Gun control definitively won in Tuesday’s elections — in Washington, at least.

In the only state where a gun issue was directly on a ballot this week, Washington residents

passed Initiative 594, the measure that will require criminal background checks on all firearms sales

and transfers in the state, including at gun shows and on the Internet. The proposal, more commonly

referred to as “I-594,” gained 60% of voter support, according to the NBC News Election Unit.

A rival campaign, Initiative 591, would have blocked the implementation of background checks, if

passed. But more than half — 55% — of the state’s residents rejected the competing measure,

which was backed by the gun lobby.


This year marked the first major election cycle since 26 people, including 20 first-graders, were shot

to death in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012. The outcome on Tuesday made Washington

the seventh state to require background checks on all gun sales, and the fifth (after Colorado,

Connecticut, Delaware, and New York) to do so since the shooting inside Sandy Hook Elementary


Federal law requires licensed firearms dealers to perform background checks on prospective

purchasers and to maintain records of the sales. But unlicensed private sellers — online and at gun

shows, for example — are not required to observe the same policies. And about 40% of firearms

sold in the country are transferred by such private sellers, according to the U.S. Department of


Tuesday marked the first time since 2000 that Americans cast ballots directly on background checks.

In the previous vote, citizens in Colorado and Oregon overwhelmingly passed laws to extend the

safety protocol.

“When it comes to guns, the only Washington that mattered this election was Washington State,”

said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “The [National Rifle Association] might

be able to intimidate Washington, D.C., and state legislators, but they don’t intimidate American


Previous Years

In Wake of Newtown Anniversary Hoosiers Call for Change

Dozens Rally Downtown Against Gun Violence on Eve of Sandy Hook Shootings

Hoosiers Remember Sandy Hook Victims

Petition Following Newtown Tragedy

Letter to the Editor, 4/14/2011: Mayor shows ignorance about role of weak gun regulation

Letter to the Editor 1/16/2011: Can’t we even talk about more restrictions on guns?

Letter to the Editor, 7/2/2010: Don’t feel so safe having guns at home

Letter to the Editor, 1/18/2010: Sensible gun regulation for Indiana still far away

Letter to the Attorney General

Video Link: Do Ten Bullets Matter? HR 308

Video Link: Congresswoman McCarthy Discusses HR 308