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Whoa. San Francisco just upped the ante in the nation's debates over gun legislation in the U.S.

In a unanimous resolution, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has designated the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization. It also urges other local and state governments, as well as the federal government, to do the same.

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Culture

Unique Pop-Up Shop Shows First-Time Gun Buyers Their Weapon’s Awful Past

Trigger-happy New Yorkers get a dose of history when trying to buy a gun.

image via youtube screen capture

In New York City, where buying and carrying a legal handgun is notoriously difficult, a pop-up storefront reaching out to “First Time Gun Owners” in big, bold letters across its windows was sure to attract plenty of attention. Appearing for several days last week on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the simply named “Gun Shop” was, at first glance, just that: A store for purchasing firearms. Curious shoppers filed in, one after another, where they were met by a straightforward employee more than willing to direct customers to their perfect weapon. Some cited a need for protection. Others simply wanted to exercise their constitutional right to own a gun. As they all discovered, though, this shop wasn’t simply unique for where it was, but also for the weapons it carried.

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Articles

Let's All Say No to 'Stand Your Ground' in Schools

After the Sandy Hook school massacre, you'd think schools would say no to bringing Stand Your Ground laws to campus. Well, Indiana's trying.

America has always been of two minds about teachers. We evoke fond memories of teachers who impacted our lives as we joke about "summers off" and "bankers' hours." We force teachers to hold classes in closets and hallways as we blame them for poor student performance. Over time, the mocking and maligning erode our image of teachers as professionals. We lose sight that teachers deserve input in decisions that impact their working conditions and their lives. No issue crystallizes this more than the post-Newtown fixation on school gun laws.

Last week, Indiana state Rep. Kevin Mahan (R) asked state lawmakers to "consider creative solutions" to prevent a Sandy Hook-type massacre in the Hoosier State. His new tactic in school safety: extending Indiana's castle doctrine into public schools. Better known as "stand your ground," the law allows the use of deadly force when threatened.

"Let's look at the possibility of rather than this person going and retreating into a bathroom and allowing someone to barge down the hallways and start shooting, maybe it is possible we could add that to the castle doctrine to give them the ability to possibly take action to stop any kind of intrusion like that," Mahan said.

If this sounds too far-fetched to believe, an online poll by The Times of Northwest Indiana finds 63 percent of respondents want the stand-your-ground law to include schools. Teachers themselves overwhelmingly reject more guns in schools, and school boards and school administrators repeatedly oppose such measures that could make schools more dangerous, lead to accidental shootings, and put guns in the hands of people who are not adequately trained to shoot in emergency situations.

But what do they know? They're only the professionals to whom the nation entrusts its children daily. None of this has deterred state legislators.

Since the Connecticut school shooting, some 30 states have written bills allowing teachers and school staff to carry firearms, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. So far, their efforts have been met with varying success. In March, South Dakota became the first state to explicitly authorize school employees to carry guns. Similar laws were passed in Alabama, Arizona, and Kansas. Thirteen districts in Arkansas also allow armed school employees.

For the past 10 months, governors and a host of state legislators have pushed a radical guns-in-schools agenda. What we haven't accomplished since Sandy Hook is getting our elected leaders to pass and implement common-sense gun laws. Enacting universal background checks and banning assault weapons would make children exponentially saferin our schools, on our streets, and in their homes. By contrast, bringing stand-your-ground to the schoolhouse and playground is rooted in a fantasy that armed civilians can stop a mass murderer. It is much more likely innocent bystanders get killed. In a classroom, that means someone's child. December 14, 2012 left our nation with a horrified sense of vulnerability. As we wrestle with how something so incomprehensible could happen, we have seen reactions ranging from solidmore gun control and better access to mental health servicesto feeble.

Less than 24 hours after Newtown, a gunman opened fire inside St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. He wounded a Birmingham police officer and two employees before he was fatally shot by police. I try to envision a scenario where lawmakers would propose arming doctors and nurses—or expanding stand-your-ground into hospitalsto help prevent tragedies such as St. Vincent's. I try to picture physicians telling them, "That's ludicrous, we don't want this," and lawmakers plowing ahead, regardless of their professional wishes and needs.

And I can't, because it would never happen. With Indiana's stand-your-ground in schools proposal, politicians again failed to get the memo: teachers are grown-ups, not merely tall children.

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Articles

How Do We Protect Our Trayvon Martins?

We have to protect all the other Trayvon's out there better than we protected Trayvon Martin.


I woke up this morning with a deep pain in my heart when I discovered that George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin. We will find out in the next days and weeks just how much pain the jury's decision inflicts on America. All I can think of is how I would feel if my black granddaughter Avery, the light of my life, was a boy. A grandfather should never have to think such thoughts.

What makes the verdict all the more more painful is that the situation that led to Trayvon Martin's death is one that is very familiar to me. I have walked in George Zimmerman's shoes. I have been on block patrol in my Brooklyn neighborhood. I've escorted very tough kids off my block when they've come to cause trouble. I've run basketball leagues in tough neighborhoods where I've had to make peace with neighborhood drug dealers.

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Articles

Why Mobilizing Artists Around Gun Control Will Change the National Conversation

The Gun Show asks artists to make posters about gun control in order to raise national awareness around the issue.

It's been a couple of months since we launched The Gun Show and started asking artists to make posters about gun control in order to raise national awareness around the issue. We've been experimenting with large-scale creative collaborations for years, but unlike uniting behind a candidate for President, exploring the real meaning of conversation, or helping to advocate environmental action, inviting artists to make work about gun control comes with its own unique obstacles that we feel it is our job to remove. Because despite knowing so many artists who want to work on social impact projects, and so many organizations who desperately need to be more creative (and know it) they still exist in separate worlds. This leaves very little opportunity for organic collaboration.

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Articles

Slideshow: Violence Prevention Coalition Turns Guns to Art

An inside look at La Fonderie, where a group of youth volunteers and metalworkers are making art out of melted down gunmetal.

A crew of metalsmiths and youth volunteers are collaborating to melt down guns from Los Angeles's streets and turn them into art. (You can find out more about that project here.) Check out the slideshow above for a tour of La Fonderie, a metal shop in the heart of the city that's providing the resources to make the project happen.

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Slideshows