High profile shootings in the USA……
November 30,2021, Oxford High School, Oxford, Michigan: 4 students killed, 6 other students and a teacher wounded by 15 year old student…
October 25, 2021, Boise, Idaho shopping mall: 2 people killed, 4 injured…
October 21, 2021, Bonanza Ranch, Santa Fe, New Mexico: Male lead actor accidentally shoots and kills female cinematographer, wounds male director with antique revolver thought to be unloaded during filming of Western movie…
October 17, 2021, Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana: One person killed, 7 wounded (one critically) at homecoming event…
October 15, 2021, Mobile, Alabama high school football game: 4 people wounded, one critically…
October 6, 2021, Timberview High School, Arlington, Texas: Two people wounded, including 15 year old student critically injured and 25 year old teacher with less serious gunshot wound, by 18 year old student…
June 26, 2021, Winthrop, Massachusetts: 53 year old African American man and 60 year old African American woman killed by white supremacist…
Miami-Dade rap concert, May 30, 2021: 2 people killed, 20 wounded…
Light rail maintenance facility, San Jose, California, May 26, 2021: 9 people killed by disgruntled employee…
FedEx warehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 15, 2021: 8 people killed, 7 wounded…
Bryan, Texas, April 8, 2021: 1 person killed, 6 people wounded, including responding police officer, by disgruntled cabinet shop employee…
Rock Hill, South Carolina, April 7, 2021: Five people killed, including emergency physician, his wife, and two grandchildren, ages 5 and 9; 1 person seriously wounded…
Orange, California, March 31, 2021: Four people killed, including a 9 year old boy, one person critically wounded…
Boulder, Colorado supermarket, March 22, 2021: 10 people killed, including first responding police officer…
Atlanta-area spas, Georgia, March 16, 2021: 8 people killed, including 6 Asian-American women, 1 wounded…
Atlanta, Georgia, November 6, 2020: 3 people killed, including rapper, King Von; 3 others wounded…
Chicago, Illinois, July 21, 2020: 15 mourners wounded outside funeral home in drive by shooting…
Springfield, Missouri, March 16, 2020: 5 people killed in shooting spree beginning at gas station…
Molson Coors Brewery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 26, 2020: 5 people killed by coworker who then shot and killed himself…
Jersey City, New Jersey, December 10, 2019: 4 people, including a police officer, killed, 3 other people, including 2 officers and a civilian, wounded in suspected anti-semitic hate crime…
Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, December 6, 2019: 3 trainees killed, 8 other people, including 2 police officers injured…
December 4, 2019, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Hawaii: 2 civilians killed, 1 wounded by on duty sailor…
Fresno, California, November 17, 2019: 4 people killed, 6 wounded at backyard party…
Saugus High School, Santa Clarita, California, November 14, 2019: 2 students killed, 3 wounded by 16 year old student who shot himself immediately afterward and later died…
Long Beach, California, October 29, 2019: 3 people killed, 9 wounded…
Elkmont, Alabama, September 2, 2019: Father, step-mother, 6 year-old step-brother, 5 year old step-sister, and 6 month old step-brother shot and killed by 14 year-old boy…
Midland and Odessa Texas, August 31, 2019: 7 people killed, 24 wounded…
Dayton, Ohio, August 4, 2019: 9 people killed, 27 injured…
El Paso Texas, August 3, 2019: 22 people killed, at least 24 other injured…
Gilroy, California, July 28, 2019: 3 people killed, 13 injured…
Municipal Center, Virginia Beach, Virginia, May 31, 2019: 12 people killed, 4 wounded…
STEM Charter School, Highlands Ranch, Colorado, May 7, 2019: 1 student killed, 8 students wounded…
University of North Carolina, Charlotte, April 30, 2019: 2 students killed, 4 students wounded…
Baltimore, Maryland neighborhood cookout, April 29, 2019: 1 person killed, at least 7 people wounded…
April 27, 2019, Chabad Synagogue, Poway, California: 1 woman killed, 3 people, including 8 year old girl, wounded…
February 15, 2019, Henry Pratt Manufacturing Plant, Aurora, Illinois: 5 employees killed, 5 police officers wounded…
January 26, 2019, near Baton Rouge, Louisiana: 5 people killed, including gunman’s girlfriend, girlfriend’s father and brother, and gunman’s parents…
January 23, 2019, SunTrust Bank, Sebring, Florida: 5 women killed…
January 10, 2019, Davis, California: 22 year old female police officer ambushed and killed during her first month on the job while investigating minor traffic accident…
Chicago Mercy Hospital, November 20, 2018: Emergency physician, pharmacy resident, and police officer killed by physician’s ex-boyfriend…
Thousand Oaks, California, November 7, 2018: 12 people killed, 22 injured…
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 27, 2018: 11 people killed, 6 wounded at Jewish synagogue by anti-Semitic gunman…
Bakersfield, California, September 13, 2018: 5 people killed, including shooter’s ex-wife…
Cincinnati, Ohio, Fountain Square Office Building, September 6, 2018: 3 people killed, 2 wounded…
Jacksonville, Florida Video Football Gaming Tournament, August 26, 2018: 2 people killed, 9 wounded…
Capital Gazette newspaper, Annapolis, Maryland, June 28, 2018: 5 people killed, including editor, 3 journalists, and another staff member…
Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, Texas, May 18, 2018: 8 students and 2 teachers killed, 13 wounded…
Nashville, Tennessee, April 22, 2018: 4 people killed, 2 wounded…
Pathway Home for Veterans with PTSD, Yountville, California, March 9, 2018: 3 female staff killed by former client…
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, February 14, 2018: 14 students and 3 staff killed, 17 wounded by former student…
Marshall County High School, Benton, Kentucky, January 23, 2018: 2 students killed, 14 wounded by 15 year old male student…
Since 1968, more U.S. civilians have been killed by guns than all the U.S. soldiers killed by any means in all the wars in which the United States has ever been involved…
On an average day in 2017, 109 people were killed by guns in the United States, and at least 2-3 times this many people suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds…
In 2017, a total of 39,773 people were killed by guns in the United States, and at least 2-3 times this many people suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds…
Highlands Ranch, Colorado, December 31, 2017: 1 police officer killed, 4 other officers and 2 civilians wounded…
Tehama County, California, November 14, 2017: 5 people killed, 12 wounded, including 6 children…
Sutherland Springs, Texas, November 5, 2017: 26 people killed, 20 wounded…
Las Vegas, Nevada, October 1, 2017: 58 people killed, 422 wounded…
Freeman High School, Rockford, Washington, September 13, 2017: 1 student killed, 3 students wounded…
New York City Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, June 30, 2017: 1 person killed, 5 wounded…
Little Rock, Arkansas, June 30, 2017: 25 people wounded…
Alexandria, Virginia baseball field, June 14, 2017: 4 people wounded…
San Francisco UPS warehouse, June 14, 2017: 3 people killed, 2 wounded…
Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale Airport, Florida, January 6, 2017: 5 people killed, 6 wounded…
Since 1968, more U.S. civilians have been killed by guns than all the U.S. soldiers killed by any means in all the wars in which the United States has ever been involved….
On an average day in 2016, 106 people were killed by guns in the United States of America, and approximately, 232 suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds….
In 2016, a total of 38, 658 people were killed by guns in the United States of America….
Since 1968, more U.S. civilians have been killed by guns than all the U.S. soldiers killed in all the wars in which the United States has ever been involved…
Townville, South Carolina, September 28, 2016: 2 people killed, including shooter’s father and 6 year boy, 2 others wounded by 14 year old boy…
Burlington, Washington, September 28, 2016: 5 people killed at department store makeup counter…
Fort Myers, Florida, July 25, 2016, 2 people killed: 17 wounded…
Sniper Attacks, Dallas, Texas, July 7, 2016: 5 people killed, 7 wounded…
Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016: 49 people killed, 58 wounded…
Excel Industries, Hesston, Kansas, February 25, 2016, 3 people killed, 14 wounded…
Kalamazoo, Michigan, February 20, 2016, 6 killed, 2 people wounded…
On an average day in the United States in 2015, 99 people killed by guns, 232 wounded….
Since 1968, more U.S. civilians have been killed by guns than all the U.S. soldiers killed in all the wars in which the United States has ever been involved…
Inland Regional Center, San Bernardino, California, December 2, 2015, 14 people killed, 21 wounded…
Planned Parenthood, Colorado Springs, November 27, 2015, 3 people killed, 9 wounded…
Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, Oregon, October 1, 2015, 9 people killed, 9 wounded…
Marine Corps Recruitment Center, Chattanooga, Tennessee, July 16, 2015, 5 people killed, 2 wounded…
Emanuel AME Church, Charleston, South Carolina, June 17, 2015, 9 people killed, 1 wounded…
On an average day in the United States in 2014, 92 people killed by guns, 222 wounded…
Since 1968, more U.S. civilians have been killed by guns than all the U.S. soldiers killed in all the wars in which the United States has ever been involved…
Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Marysville, Washington, October 24, 2014, 5 people killed, 1 wounded…
University of California, Santa Barbara student mass murder, Isla Vista, California, May 23, 2014, 6 people killed, 13 wounded…
Fort Hood, Texas, April 3, 2014, 3 people killed, 12 wounded…
Rancheria Tribal Office and Community Center, Alturas, California, February 20, 2014, 4 people killed, 2 wounded…
On an average day in the United States in 2013, 92 people killed by guns, 231 wounded…
Since 1968, more U.S. civilians have been killed by guns than all the U.S. soldiers killed in all the wars in which the United States has ever been involved…
Washington Navy Yard, Washington D.C., September 16, 2013, 12 killed, 8 wounded…
Hialeah Apartment Building, Hialea, Florida, July 26, 2013, 7 killed…
Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, California, June 7, 2013, 6 killed, 3 wounded…
Pinewood Village Apartment, Federal Way, Washington, April 21, 2013, 5 killed…
On an average day in the United States, 92 killed, over 180 wounded…
In an average year in the United States, over 30,000 killed, over 60,000 wounded…
Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2012, 20 children and 7 adults killed, 2 wounded…
Accent Signage Systems, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 27, 2012, 7 killed, 1 wounded…
Sikh Temple, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, August 5, 2012, 7 killed, 3 wounded…
Century Movie Theater, Aurora, Colorado, July 20, 2012, 12 killed, 58 wounded…
Café Racer, Seattle, Washington, May 20, 2012, 6 killed, 1 wounded…
Oikos University, Oakland, California, April 2, 2012, 7 killed, 3 wounded…
"Pious condolences will no longer suffice…"
"Quarter measures and half measures will no longer suffice…"
"The time has now come that we must enact stringent gun control legislation…"
"…gun control legislation comparable to the legislation in force in virtually every civilized country in the world."

Senator Thomas Dodd, June 11, 1968

"Pious condolences will no longer suffice…"
"Quarter measures and half measures will no longer suffice…"
"The time has now come that we must enact stringent gun control legislation…"
"…gun control legislation comparable to the legislation in force in virtually every civilized country in the world."

Senator Thomas Dodd, June 11, 1968

 

What do high school students think about “one of the greatest pieces of fraud” that Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger ever saw in his lifetime?

A Message from the President of Americans Against Gun Violence

 

I’m posting this message to inform our supporters that our 2022 Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Essay Contest is now open and to ask for your assistance in bringing the contest to the attention of any high school students and educators with whom you may have contact.

I have mixed emotions every year when I post the essay contest announcement. I’m very pleased, on the one hand, that we’ve been able to host the contest every year since 2018 as a means of fostering and rewarding critical thinking among high school students concerning the measures needed to stop our country’s epidemic of gun violence – an epidemic that unlike Covid-19, disproportionately harms our children and our youth. I’m also grateful that due to the generosity of our supporters, we’ll be awarding at least $15,000 to the contest winners again this year, bringing the total awards that we’ve given students over the five year history of the contest to over $75,000.

I’m deeply troubled, on the other hand, by the fact that there’s a continued need to engage in discussions with high school students about our epidemic of gun violence. This is an epidemic that we members of older generations should have stopped long ago. And I’m particularly troubled that this year, the prompt for our essay contest concerns a fraud that was debunked long ago, but that was given new life by the U.S. Supreme Court as recently as 2008. This fraud now comprises one of the main obstacles to the adoption of stringent gun control laws in the United State comparable to the laws that have long been in effect in all the other high income democratic countries of the world – countries in which mass shootings, including shootings on school campuses, occur rarely, if ever, and in which the average rate of gun related murders of high school age youth is 82 times lower (that’s 82 times lower, not 82 per cent lower) than in our country.[1] This fraud is the claim that the Second Amendment was intended to confer an individual right to own guns – a fraud long promoted by the U.S. gun lobby[2] but codified into the U.S. Constitution for the first time in history in the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision.[3]

In Heller, a narrow 5-4 majority of Supreme Court justices reversed over two centuries of legal precedent, including four prior Supreme Court opinions,[4] in ruling that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to own a gun unrelated to service in a “well regulated militia.” In his autobiography, The Making of a Justice, the late Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote a dissenting opinion in Heller, described the decision as “unquestionably the most clearly incorrect decision that the Court announced during my [35 year] tenure on the bench.”[5] Stevens noted that prior to the Heller decision, the inextricable relationship between the “right of the people to and bear arms” in the second half of the Second Amendment and the need for a “well regulated militia” described in the first half of the Amendment had been “so well settled”[6] that the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger had stated, with regard to the gun lobby’s misrepresentation of the Second Amendment – a misrepresentation endorsed by the Heller majority:

“If I were writing the Bill of Rights now, there wouldn't be any such thing as the Second Amendment…. This has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud – I repeat the word ‘fraud’ – on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”[7]

This statement by Chief Justice Burger is the prompt for our 2022 Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Essay Contest.

I’ve written quite a bit in recent Americans Against Gun Violence president’s messages and press releases about the egregious flaws in the Heller decision, about our efforts to get Heller overturned, and about the fact that Americans Against Gun Violence is the only gun violence prevention organization in the entire country that openly advocates and is actively pursuing overturning Heller.[8] There’s also quite a bit of information about the Second Amendment and the Heller decision posted on the Facts and FAQ’s page of the Americans Against Gun Violence website. I won’t go into further detail on this subject in this message.

I would greatly appreciate it, though, if you would help bring our 2022 Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Contest to the attention of any high school students and high school educators with whom you have contact. An essay contest flyer and full details concerning the contest are posted on the High School Essay Contest page of the Americans Against Gun Violence website. I would also appreciate it if you would bring Chief Justice Burger’s statement concerning the fraudulent misrepresentation of the Second Amendment to the attention of friends, family members, colleagues, and especially, elected officials with whom you have contact whenever the subject of gun control and the Second Amendment comes up. In helping publicize our 2022 essay contest and in openly discussing the fraudulent misrepresentation of the Second Amendment, you will actually be helping to overturn the Heller decision and end our country’s shameful epidemic of gun violence. How so?

On August 21, 1858, in the first of his seven famous debates with Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln said:

“Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently, he who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed."[9]

By helping bring our 2022 Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Essay Contest to the attention of high school students and educators, and by openly discussing with your other contacts the fraudulent misrepresentation of the Second Amendment by the gun lobby, by the Heller majority, by most elected officials, and even by other gun violence prevention organizations, you’ll be helping to mold public sentiment; and in accordance with Lincoln’s “Public sentiment is everything” thesis, you’ll be helping to hasten the arrival of the day when the Heller decision is overturned and when we adopt stringent gun control laws in the United States comparable to the laws that have long been in effect in other high income democratic countries of the world – laws including a complete ban on civilian ownership of all automatic and semi-automatic long guns (including so-called “assault rifles”) comparable to the bans adopted by Britain following the Hungerford mass shooting in 1987[10] and by Australia following the Port Arthur mass shooting in 1996;[11] and a complete ban on civilian ownership of all handguns comparable to the ban that Britain adopted after the 1996 Dunblane Primary School mass shooting.[12]

There are a couple of other ways in which you can help contribute to the success and the impact of our annual National High School Essay Contest. One of these ways is by being an essay reader and helping choose the winners in our 2022 contest. The poignant winning essays from past years’ contests are posted on the High School Essay Contest page of the Americans Against Gun Violence website, and I’ve appended links to these essays below. Reading some of essays that are not chosen as contest winners, though, helps give a broader perspective on the effect of the epidemic of gun violence on our high school age youth, the degree to which some students are misinformed on the causes and remedies for this epidemic, and the degree to which some of them have been conditioned to believe that high rates of gun violence are an inevitable component of a democratic society. Please send an email to [email protected] if you’d be willing to help choose the winners in our 2022 contest by being an essay reader. We’ll be starting the process of reading and rating essays shortly after the April 16 deadline for students to enter our 2022 contest.

The other way that you can contribute to the impact and success of our annual National High School Essay Contest is by making a tax deductible contribution to the essay contest fund. As I noted above, due to the generosity of supporters like you, with this year’s awards, we will have given over $75,000 to contest winners over the five year history of the contest. It’s a fact of life that the more awards we give out, the more interest the contest generates. I also know that most of us make contributions to charitable organizations near the end of the tax year, not at the beginning. If you’re in a position to make another contribution at this time, though, we’d greatly appreciate it if you would make a donation to the Americans Against Gun Violence essay contest fund to help ensure that we’re able to offer the contest again next year with at least $15,000 in awards. The essay contest is run entirely with voluntary labor, and 100% of contributions to the essay contest fund go directly to student awards.

Thanks for your support of Americans Against Gun Violence and our annual National High School Essay Contest. And thanks for helping us overcome the obstacles to stopping our country’s shameful epidemic of gun violence, including the obstacle that the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger called “one of the greatest pieces of fraud” that he had ever seen in his lifetime - the false claim that the Second Amendment was intended to confer an individual right to own guns unrelated to service in a “well regulated militia.”

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Bill Durston, MD

President, Americans Against Gun Violence

Note: Dr. Durston is a board certified emergency physician and a former expert marksman in the U.S. Marine Corps, decorated for "courage under fire" during the Vietnam War.

Click on this link to download a copy of this message in PDF format.

 

 

 

Essay Contest Prompts Used in Past Years

(Click on the year to read the winning essays.)

 

2018: "The time has now come that we must adopt stringent gun control legislation comparable to the legislation in force in virtually every civilized country in the world." - The Late Senator Thomas Dodd of Connecticut, June of 1968

 

2019: "The Second Amendment guarantees no right to keep and bear a firearm that does not have 'some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.'" - Excerpt from the late Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun's majority opinion in the 1980 case of Lewis v. United States

 

2020: “Firearm regulations, to include bans of handguns and assault weapons, are the most effective way to reduce firearm related injuries.” – Position Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics, issued in April of 2000.

 

2021: “Describe the effect on American youth of the confluence of our country’s longstanding gun violence epidemic with the current Covid-19 pandemic and the threat of violent insurrection; and describe what role you believe the adoption of stringent gun control laws should play at this critical time in our nation’s history.”

 

 

 

[1] Ashish P. Thakrar et al., “Child Mortality In The US And 19 OECD Comparator Nations: A 50-Year Time-Trend Analysis,” Health Affairs 37, no. 1 (January 2018): 140–49, https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2017.0767.

[2] Michael Waldman, “How the NRA Rewrote the Second Amendment,” POLITICO Magazine, May 19, 2014, http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/nra-guns-second-amendment-106856.html.

[3] District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 US (Supreme Court 2008).

[4] United States v. Cruikshank, 92 US 542 (Supreme Court 1876); Presser v. Illinois, 116 US (Supreme Court 1886); U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939) (n.d.); Lewis v. United States, No. 55 (U.S. 1980).

[5] John Paul Stevens, The Making of a Justice: Reflections on My First 94 Years (New York: Little, Brown, 2019), 482.

[6] Stevens, 483.

[7] Warren Burger, PBS News Hour, December 16, 1991, c.

[8] See, for example, “Are you unknowingly contributing to the other big lie?” https://aagunv.org/are-you-unknowingly-contributing-to-the-other-big-lie/, December 5, 2021; “Americans Against Gun Violence calls on High Court to overturn rogue 2nd Amendment decision,” https://aagunv.org/americans-against-gun-violence-calls-on-high-court-to-overturn-rogue-2nd-amendment-decision/, September 22, 2021; Americans Against Gun Violence Denounces District Court Judge Roger Benitez’s Ruling in Miller v. Bonta that California’s Assault Weapons Ban Violates Second Amendment,” https://aagunv.org/americans-against-gun-violence-denounces-district-court-judge-roger-benitezs-ruling-in-miller-v-bonta-that-californias-assault-weapons-ban-violates-second-amendment/, June 9, 2021. Use the search icon on the Americans Against Gun Violence website to find other posts concerning the Second Amendment and the Heller decision.

[9] David Zarefsky, “‘Public Sentiment Is Everything’: Lincoln’s View of Political Persuasion,” Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 15, no. 2 (Summer 1994), http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.2629860.0015.204.

[10] Michael J. North, “Gun Control in Great Britain after the Dunblane Shootings,” in Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), 185–93.

[11] Rebecca Peters, “Rational Firearm Regulation: Evidence-Based Gun Laws in Australia,” in Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), 195–204; Joel Negin et al., “Australian Firearm Regulation at 25-Successes, Ongoing Challenges, and Lessons for the World,” New England Journal of Medicine 384, no. 17 (2021): 1581–83.

[12] North, “Gun Control in Great Britain after the Dunblane Shootings.”