Events for December 2022

Advocacy update June 14, 2022

Advocacy update June 14, 2022 150 150 Episcopalians in Connection
Episcopal Church resources on deradicalization

As the Jan 6 hearings continue, the Episcopal Church is publishing resources that congregations can use to help fellow Americans overcome their extremist ideology and reintegrate into their communities. This post introduces the series, grounding it in the White Supremacy and Deradicalization resolution passed by Executive Council following the violent attack on Congress in January 2021 and providing documentation of the rising problem of violent extremism.

Bipartisan gun safety bill possible in US Senate, even as gun rights grow in Ohio

In a weekend with rallies across the nation imploring elected officials to act to prevent gun violence, a bipartisan group of Senators –  including retiring Ohio Senator Rob Portman – announced agreement on a package of gun safety reforms with enough Republican votes to overcome the filibuster. If passed, it would be the first significant federal legislation to prevent gun violence in decades.

The next day, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed into law HB 99, which allows school districts to arm teachers and staff with only 24 hours of training, compared to over 700 hours required by previous law. School districts can decide whether or not to arm school staff under the new law. The Governor also spoke in support of proposals in Ohio’s new capital budget to harden schools, though many Ohio voters have been begging for legislation to limit access to semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, which were key to the carnage in Buffalo and Uvalde. Also on June 13, Ohio’s permitless conceal-carry bill went into effect, allowing Ohioans to carry a concealed handgun without training, a license, or a background check, all of which were previously required.

Read more for the details of the Senate framework and a more ambitious gun violence prevention bill passed last week by the House of Representatives with five Republican votes, as well as how to contact Ohio Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown with your views.

The US Senate is now the prime focus for debate on how to prevent gun violence.  You can contact Ohio Senator Rob Portman at https://www.portman.senate.gov/meet/contact and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown at https://www.brown.senate.gov/contact/email.  Please send your specific views on what proposals they should include in the Senate bill. Here is an overview of the provisions in the Senate bipartisan framework and the more far-reaching bill passed by the U.S. House last week.

The framework announced by 10 Republican and 10 Democratic Senators on June 12 includes enhanced background checks of the mental health and juvenile records of any prospective gun buyer under the age of 21. It would provide funding for states to implement red-flag laws to temporarily confiscate guns from people who pose a danger to themselves or others. It would toughen federal laws to stop gun trafficking and ensure that all commercial gun dealers are doing background checks. The plan also includes funding to enhance mental health resources and to strengthen schools’ safety and mental health services.

On June 8, after testimony including that of 11-year old Robb Elementary student Miah Cerrillo, who survived the attack by smearing herself with her best friend’s blood and pretending to be dead, the US House of Representatives passed a bill with far more measures to prevent gun violence like the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, both of which were carried out by 18-year-old men using semi-automatic weapons they bought legally. This bill, which won five Republican votes, would raise the age limit for buying semi-automatic weapons to 21, and prohibit the sale of magazines with a capacity of over 15 rounds. It would create incentives for safe gun storage, and set a fine and imprisonment of up to five years if a gun is not properly stored and is used by a minor to injure or kill themselves or another individual.

Advocacy briefings are compiled by Ariel Miller, a member of Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming, and a member of the diocesan Becoming Beloved Community Leadership Team. Connect with her at arielmillerwriter@gmail.com