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Moran to Bring Local Gun Control Advocate to SOTU

by ARLnow.com — February 12, 2013 at 10:55 am 53 Comments

Cherrydale resident Omar SamahaRep. Jim Moran (D) will bring local gun control advocate Omar Samaha as his guest to tonight’s State of the Union address.

Samaha, an Arlington resident, has become an outspoken advocate for gun control since his youngest sister, Reema, was killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting. He currently serves as a spokesman for the group Fix Gun Checks.

In January, Moran re-introduced a bill, the ‘NRA Members’ Gun Safety Act, which would require background checks for every gun purchase, among other measures that advocates say are supported by most National Rifle Association members. In a statement, Moran lauded Samaha’s gun violence prevention advocacy.

“Omar and his family suffered a tragic loss at the hands of a mentally ill individual with access to firearms,” Moran said. “I am impressed with his dedication to making our country safer and pleased Omar will be joining me at the State of the Union.”

“Since Omar lost his sister in 2007, our nation has experienced over 20 mass shootings with five or more fatalities,” Moran continued. “Following the Newtown shooting, President Obama took decisive action and demonstrated determined leadership by putting forward a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence. Now, Congress must act on this proposal.”

President Obama’s State of the Union address will start tonight (Tuesday) at 9:00 p.m. More about Samaha’s background, after the jump.

From a press release:

Born in Fairfax, Virginia, Omar is a 2006 graduate of Virginia Tech. Omar’s youngest sister Reema also attended college there and was killed in the mass shooting on the VT campus. In late 2007, Omar co-founded Students for Gun-Free Schools, which opposes efforts to force colleges and universities to allow students and faculty to carry concealed handguns on their campuses. Omar also helped expose the “Gun Show Loophole” on ABC’s 20/20 by filming undercover at a Virginia gun show in April 2009. Following a national tour with Mayors Against Illegal Guns in 2011, Omar served as a Legislative Assistant and Grassroots Coordinator with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and continues to work with them today as a volunteer advocate.

In 2011, Omar traveled to 56 cities around the country with Mayors Against Illegal Guns representing the “Fix Gun Checks Tour,” which highlighted the 32 Americans who are murdered each day with guns. After meeting with survivors of gun violence, mayors, law enforcement officials, faith leaders and gun owners, the tour ended on Capitol Hill, where Omar and 60 other gun violence survivors called on Congress to fix our national background check system for gun purchases, and apply those checks to all gun sales.

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  • GunForHire

    Good god the democrats are pushing this made up problem hard. I would think there would be something else they could spend time on like….the bazillion dollar national debt…oh, that would take real time and effort – neither of which Jim Moran and company have in spades.

    • ARL

      Yeah, trying to stop violence and murders, what a waste of time.

      • Frak

        Spoken like a true hipster

        • ARL

          Frak, got something serious to say? Didn’t think so.

          • http://www.fraku.com Frak

            Go drink some Shiraz, enjoy free wi-fi and maybe some retro old school boardgames. Hipster.

      • R. Griffon

        Perhaps the national debt is a bad example as it’s an “apples to oranges” comparison, but there’s a valid point hidden in there somewhere. If reducing deaths is really the main goal, then there is a lot of wasted time and effort spent in all this debate. For example, people really love talking about banning so-called “assault rifles,” yet their responsible for less than 1% of gun-related homocides. If saving lives is our goal, then shouldn’t we spend more time worrying about who has access to the simple handguns that comprise 80% or more of those deaths?

        Or on a broader scale, if saving lives is truly the goal, then shouldn’t we worry about the four times greater number of people who die each year due to lack of insurance and adequate access to health care? Or even better yet, the FOUR HUNDRED TIMES GREATER number of people killed by smoking each year?

        I just don’t get the priorities.

        • R. Griffon

          Oops – 40 x for smoking, not 400. I no good at teh maths.

          • MaffMatics

            Accuracy of the statistical numberz is not all that important.

        • drax

          Sure, R. Griffon. And look at Moran’s bill – it doesn’t bother with assault rifles, it would deal with access to handguns, just like you said.

          And this “priorities” argument is a non-starter. You can have more than one priority, and pursue them at the same time. Just because one isn’t the most important doesn’t mean it should be completely ignored.

          • b0rk

            Yeah, I’m pro gun and support this list. It’s very reasonable and does not restrict anyone’s right to LAWFULLY own a gun.

            - Require background checks for every gun purchase (74% NRA member support);
            - Require background checks on gun shop employees (79% NRA member support);
            - Prohibit individuals on the terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms (71% NRA member support);
            - Require gun owners to report to police when their guns are lost or stolen (64% NRA member supports); and
            - Establish minimum standards for concealed carry permits (63-75% NRA member support for each standard)

    • CW

      So when a crazy pops you in the head, you’re going to be spending your eternity in the dirt worrying about the national debt? Think before you type.

    • David

      I guess you can put a price on lives after all, somewhere in the Bazillion dollar range. So the republican congressman Steve Stockman who is bringing Ted Nugent to the SOTU mean he doesn’t care about the debt either?

    • Hee-Haw

      debt doesn’t kill people, people with guns kill people.

      • novasteve

        I have a feeling 100x more people have killed themselves due to their debts than people have been killed by all rifles combined.

        • Hee-Haw

          unless you have actual facts, I can’t trust your “feeling”.

        • bman

          Nice one Novasteve!

          We need to stop all those jumping in front of metro subway car deaths first.

  • R. Griffon

    It seems like there is nearly universal support for doing background checks for 100% of gun purchases (including private sales, which is often mischaracterized as the “gun show loophole). So just do it already.

    But what I’m NOT really hearing real solutions for is what seems most relevant to this article – How exactly do we check for mental health? AFAIK current checks are for criminal history only, and wouldn’t trigger a red flag on a current background check unless you’d be institutionalized for being criminally insane. So in a system that screens for mental health, who exactly has access to your medical records? And what exactly triggers a buy/no-buy decision in terms of diagnosis or prior counseling? None of this discussion really means much until we start coming up with answers to some of those very fundamental questions.

    • b0rk

      You’re right — this is the most important piece of the puzzle, but also the hardest to implement. People will cry out about privacy violations but honestly, if they are not capable of owning a firearm they should not be able to get one.

  • SomeGuy

    I question the motives of an organization that promotes a means to get *on* a list of prohibited buyers, but no means by which to get off the list. Sounds like the No-Fly List debacle discussed on 60 Minutes a while back.

    As an example scenario, they say this of the Tucson shooter:

    According to media reports, the Tucson shooter had a drug arrest on his record and may have admitted to the U.S. Army that he was a habitual drug user – red flags that should have barred him from buying a gun.

    –http://www.fixgunchecks.org/background-checks

    So a single drug arrest and/or admission of drug use, and presumably this guy is forever barred from owning a gun? If I’m wrong in my interpretation, please direct me to the part of their web site that details the sensible auto-expiration and permanent expunging of a record from their proposed background check database.

  • JimPB

    R. Griffon raises important questions.

    A BIG part of gun violence is not getting attention. That is the gun violence associated with and spun off from drug wars. This is not unique for drugs. Prohibition brought gun violence around illegal alcohol. Time to tackle this “third rail” if we are serious about whacking gun violence, which we should, with deaths since 1960 exceeding those from all U.S. wars.

    The gun violence associated with prohibition resulted in the machine gun control act that allowed hundreds of thousands of machine guns to remain in the possession of individuals while virtually ending the use of these weapons for killing for killing and injuring civilians. Look to the requirements of the machine gun control act for curbing gun violence.

    • novasteve

      Legalizing drugs won’t end gang violence that the left ignores for a simple reason. Governments will have an undying urge to tax drugs, and will want to tax them heavily. That means the black market will remain. In fact things probably won’t change at all.

      • R. Griffon

        Totally disagree. How much gang violence is there related to the black market for cigarettes that are also heavy taxed? If you can’t point to any, then please explain why drugs would be any different. Anyone can grow a tobacco plant.

        • novasteve

          Because cigarettes have never been illegal, but drugs have been illegal for decades. Suddenly making ndrugs legal won’t end the black market over night especially when they will be taxed heavily. The mechanism for the black market and gangs will still exist the second after drugs are legalized. They never existed for cigarettes, but are growing now that states are taxing the hell out of them. Did you know it’s a felony to bring more than 2 packs of cigarettes into MD?

          • jackson

            “Virginia has the lowest cigarette tax, at just 30 cents. Maryland charges $2 a pack, New Jersey is $2.70 and New York has the highest rate, at $4.35 a pack.”

            Ironically, they could wipe out cigarette smuggling overnight by increasing the cigarette tax in Virginia to $2.00 or $3.00, and raise a heck of a lot of money for the state!

          • Max

            What about alcohol. It was illegal for more than a decade and its effects on gang violence were notorious. I don’t think I hear about it anymore.

          • drax

            All illegal drugs were once legal.

          • Hee-Haw

            Crack has never been legal.

          • drax

            Crack is just a form of cocaine, which was once legal.

          • Hee-Haw

            No, cocaine is the foundation for crack. Crack has never been legal.

          • drax

            Um, how can a drug be illegal before it’s even invented? Did they pass a law saying that “if anyone ever comes up with something called “crack,” it’s illegal”?

            The reason crack was illegal from the day it was created is because it’s cocaine.

  • Tumblebum

    This presumes that Jimbo passes up happy hour and remembers to show up.

  • novasteve

    Just a reminder, the shooter in Sandy Hook STOLE the guns. No gun checks would have prevented the crime from occurring. Reminder, more people are murdered with hammers per year than with ALL kinds of rifles including so called “assault rifles”. Moran is just pushing a feel good move that he knows won’t stop mass killings nor the daily urban violence that the left ignores.

    • Hee-Haw

      They were already in his house, so not really stealing…borrowing, yes.

      • novasteve

        Larceny is a specific intent to PERMANENTLY deprive someone of something. By killing her, he clearly showed he intended to permanently deprive her of the guns. Thus he stole them. He stole them. You know he stole them and thus these proposed rules would do nothing to prevent such a crime.

        • Hee-Haw

          wait, do you think he stole them ?

        • drax

          But he killed her with the gun he took, so he couldn’t show that intent until after the act of taking them.

          But you’re right, these laws wouldn’t have kept him from having access to these guns. They might have helped in other situations, but not this one. So maybe the law needs to go further.

    • drax

      Well, not quite stole – he took them from his mom. And that just points to a problem with the law, and proposed laws – having family members with mental issues with access to the guns, even if the owner has no mental issues.

      Moran is NOT proposing anything to do with assault rifles, steve.

      • novasteve

        Drax, he took them without permission, then killed the person who they belonged to. If that’s not stealing, I don’t know what is. So why did Moran wait until school kids got killed to make this proposal? People get shot every single day in urban areas in the US.

        • Hee-Haw

          you could also ask why did we wait till after the shoe bombing attempt to install full-body scanners at airports ?

        • Old Yeller

          Oh man, I just realized that I stole my wife’s car this morning.

          • jackson

            Unless she’s in the trunk, you should be okay.

        • Max

          so maybe laws should be made regarding the security of guns in homes that could have (not would have) prevented this. “Smart gun” technology, while flawed, would have prevented the guy from using the gun, no?

          • novasteve

            Perhaps if they banned cooking in homes there would be fewer home fires. Whatever happend to the privacy of people’s homes? You’re willing to throw all that away for a feel good moment? Whatever happend to the “keep your laws out of the bedroom”? If we also had smart car technology, cars couldn’t be stolen and used in crimes, couldn’t run down people, etc… How much do you want government to intrude into people’s homes and lives so you can get a feel good moment that won’t save a single life?

          • drax

            “Whatever happend to the “keep your laws out of the bedroom”?”

            Yes, steve, what ever happened to that?

        • drax

          Why does it matter when Moran proposed this? He’s proposed similar things before. Do you think he’s too late or something?

    • David

      So Representative Steve Stockman bringing gun nut Ted Nugent is not a feel good move for the gun nuts out there? Just imagine if there were no guns for the Sandy Hook shooter to steal. Might more 20 more young children on the playground.

    • SillyGoose

      The only thing that matters is the AR is a scary looking rifle, only the government should have access to guns, and private citizens have no need for anything more deadly than a frying pan.

      • novasteve

        Don’t worry, the nanny staters will only let us use Nerf fying pans in the near future.

    • Jackson

      That was odd enough to look up, and it’s deaths by “hammers, clubs, and other blunt instruments.” Saying it’s just hammers makes a better headline, but it’s playing with the facts a bit.

  • johnny b

    Maybe they’ll seat Omar and Ted together…

    Here’s a sad story from The Washington Post.com (via AP ). It seems some kind of feud resulted in a young British girl being murdered in Jamaica.
    Take note of the last two sentences I’ve copied below.
    “There were 1,087 homicides last year on the island of some 2.8 million people. It was the lowest number of killings in nine years in Jamaica, but authorities acknowledge that the island’s rate of violent crime is still unacceptably high.
    Most of Jamaica’s violence takes place in rough slums, with tourist resorts largely crime-free.”
    Jamaica has 39 firearm deaths per 100,000 people per year. The U.S. has 3 per 100,000.
    Maybe if the media added that same sentence about the majority of violence being in the rough slums here in America, we wouldn’t have such a bad reputation.

    BTW…according to U.N. figures, the U.S. ranks 28th in firearm deaths behind such hotbeds of violence as U.S. Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.
    Remember that when planning yer next vacation!

  • SmoothCriminal

    I am far more responsible with my handguns than any Arlington County yuppie or hipster.

    • jackson

      You’re not responsible with your yuppies and hipsters?

      • R. Griffon

        I heard he let one of his yuppies get drunk, break into a condo lobby, and pass out on the couch.

        Really man, shouldn’t you need some kind of license to own those things?

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