How they Dealt with Gun Violence Down Under


In my mind the real issue is whether the shear number of weapons (guns) is a significant factor in increasing gun-related deaths.

If the number of guns per capita is NOT the problem, as Republicans and the NRA would have you believe, then why not have everyone bear an arm? Heck, we might as well make it mandatory for everyone to bear arms.   Not just teachers, but also nurses and doctors, and bank clerks, and shop owners, and cashiers at the local food market, etc. The insanity of this approach is apparent (to most of us)! The omnipresence of guns leads to accidents and suicides. People are not infallible. They make mistakes.

So what is the data that overall numbers of guns results in higher rates of gun-related deaths? It is difficult to tease this out because there are many factors that contribute to gun-related deaths. Obviously, a country like Yemen, presently in a civil war, will have a higher rate of gun-related deaths. So researchers have limited their analysis to “advanced countries” according to the human development index. The following chart lists homocides by firearm per million people:


Chart I from:

The US is obviously a pretty violent country. Notice Australia on the far left of the graph.

Now how does this correlate with the number of guns? This chart, from researcher Josh Tewksbury, shows the correlation between the number of guns and gun deaths among wealthier nations:

guns_countryChart II From:

It is pretty clear that the higher the number of guns/100 people, the higher the gun related deaths. Notice Australia, down in the left lower quadrant.  Of course there are confounding factors which these researchers carefully considered (war, poverty, slums, and social upheaval all contribute to gun-related deaths).

It is easy to imagine that fewer cars would lead to fewer car-accident related deaths. Why would that not apply to guns?

If we agree that the data suggest that increased numbers of guns per 100 people, are correlated with increased gun related deaths, ask yourselves what would prove causality. Well, there is an existing social experiment. A country that changed its laws and decreased its arsenal of guns! And the results were stunning.

The story is well described in Fortune. In 1996, a 28-year-old man drove to a popular tourist spot in Port Arthur, Tasmania, and opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon. Before the day was through, he had shot dead 35 people and wounded 18 others. With the weapons he carried—the AR-15 and a second, self-loading military-style rifle—aim was almost immaterial. He could fire multiple shots in seconds with little recoil. Pointing the gun at a crowd of tourists, it was hard not to hit somebody.

Within weeks of that tragedy, elected officials in each of Australia’s six states and two mainland territories—pressed forward by police chiefs across the continent and by the then-newly elected prime minister—banned semi-automatic and other military-style weapons across the country. The federal government of Australia prohibited their import, and lawmakers introduced a generous nationwide gun buyback program.

Australia is a land of roughneck pioneers and outback settlers. Australia had never embraced much government regulation. This was the home of Crocodile Dundee. But there had been too many deadly shooting sprees and Australians were clearly sick of them.

In 2014, the latest year for which final statistics are available, Australia’s murder rate fell to less than 1 killing per 100,000 people (see Table I).

Remarkably, gun suicides in Australia dropped by some 70 percent, according to one analysis. What stopped many of those would-be suicides was the lack of access to a gun.

It is clear in my mind: more guns means more gun-related deaths.

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We Need Gun Safety Legislation.


“The Troubles” in Northern Ireland

Op-Ed by Kate Browning

Imagine our schools patrolled by armored vehicles and soldiers with semi-automatic weapons because of the fear of violence.

This is not something I need to imagine. It is a memory.

I grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, during a period of armed struggle known as “The Troubles.” I still carry the memory of soldiers and tanks in front of my school, St. Genevieve’s. I fled the violence of Northern Ireland, fell in love with and married an American soldier, and resolved to raise my children in the peace and safety of the United States of America.

So, when I now hear some say that the only remedy to the massacres that have become all too common in America’s schools is to turn them into armed camps, I am horrified. Let me tell you from first-hand experience, seeing a tank or an armed soldier in front of your school does not make you feel safer. That is the past I fled, and I will do everything in my power to make sure it is not our future.

I am inspired by the voices of the students at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School decrying the failure of our so-called leaders to protect them. One of the reasons I am running for Congress against Lee Zeldin is that he is complicit in that failure. Because of people like Congressman Lee Zeldin and Speaker Paul Ryan, we cannot make any progress on reasonable measures that will protect our children.

As the wife of a decorated veteran and New York City Police Officer and the mother of two active duty soldiers, I support the 2nd Amendment. And yes, I know how to shoot a gun too. But I also support common-sense laws to protect Americans.

For instance, I support the Department of Homeland Security’s “no fly” list, which says that certain people are such a threat that they shouldn’t be allowed to board a commercial aircraft. I imagine you do too. Yet, the House of Representatives will not pass legislation to prevent those same people from buying a gun.

Think about that for a minute. There are people we deem so dangerous that we will not allow them to step foot on an aircraft, yet those same people can legally purchase military-style assault weapons and unleash terror in any school in America. That is just the tip of the iceberg of Congress’ failure to enact common-sense laws to protect us.

Lee Zeldin is proud of his “A” rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA). An “A”?

That’s absurd. It is impossible to represent the interests of Suffolk County and be in 100% agreement with the NRA. How do you earn an “A” from the NRA? Among other things:

  • Lee Zeldin co-sponsored the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which infringes on New York’s laws by allowing residents from other states to carry concealed weapons in our communities.
  • Lee Zeldin opposes any ban on semi-automatic weapons, like the ones used in Sandy Hook and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.
  • Lee Zeldin voted to make it easier for people with mental illness to purchase weapons, including military-style assault rifles.

We can do better. Let’s tackle the factors that lead to school shootings head on. We need to ban assault weapons from getting into the hands of civilians. If someone wants to have an assault weapon, then they can enlist in the military or law enforcement. People suffering from mental illness need help, not weapons. Let’s say that if you can’t board an airplane, you can’t buy a gun. Let’s have a federal background check system that does proper background checks. We must reject the false choice that we must either surrender our 2nd Amendment rights or turn our schools into armed camps and our teachers into snipers.

Let’s protect our kids with actions, not words. The answer to gun violence in schools is not to put more guns in schools, it is not to make our schools into fortresses. I am still the same hopeful immigrant who believes in the promise of America, and I know that we can do better for our children.

— Kate Browning, Candidate for Congress, NY-01

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Zeldin Pushes Lies

Published as a Letter to Editor, The East Hampton Star, Feb. 22

Needs to End

East Hampton

February 18, 2018

To the Editor,

The scope of the Russian crimes, as put forth in the indictments of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies, is astounding — from the infiltration of state voting systems to social media trolling to email hacking and dumping. Without the special counsel, it is highly unlikely the extent of these attacks would have ever come to light.

These indictments, and the previous ones (Manafort, Gates) completely undermine Trump’s endless proclamations that Mueller’s investigation is “nothing but a witch hunt.” And yet after the indictments were announced, Lee Zeldin tweeted, “We have heard @realDonaldTrump repeat over and over again that he did not collude with the Russians. After Rosenstein’s statement today, the extraordinarily dishonest narrative otherwise needs to end.”

While the question of collusion has yet to be resolved, the only extraordinarily dishonest narrative that needs to end is the one proffered by Trump and his enablers — that the investigation is fake news, a Democratic hoax, a product of F.B.I. bias.

In November, vote Zeldin out of office. We need a representative who defends our country, not one who defends the interests of a loathsome con man.


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A Mom Speaks Out: Wake up America, we are at War!

Speaking at Tuesday’s Feb 20 Rally on gun violence and international security: Mara Gerstein

Thank you for being here. I’m Mara. I’m a mom, a lifelong New Yorker, and a constituent of Lee Zeldin. And I’m here to tell my representative, and everyone who will listen, that as of this week, I am a single issue voter.

I only vote for people who will take basic steps to protect me and my family from preventable threats – both foreign and domestic. I am here to tell Rep Zeldin that if he cannot fight for the most basic measures to keep our children safe from gun violence. If he cannot fight for our country to defend itself from information and cyber warfare, then he is worse than useless to any of us.

Trump and Rep Zeldin and so many men like them run on “law and order”, borders, “security”, building up our military, “keeping us safe”. And here we are: 100 of us dying daily from gun violence, another day, another school shooting. Another 15, 20, 50 young lives lost. There is not a parent in this country who wasn’t afraid to send their children to school this week. There wasn’t a kid over the age of 5 in America who didn’t sit in their
classrooms this week afraid that maybe they were next. What is this? Why do we have to live like this? When the majority of Americans are desperate for sensible gun safety laws, why is Lee Zeldin actively working hard to make gun laws more lax?

At what point does this failure to address gun violence become a dereliction of his basic duty to protect us? At what point? A long time ago!

We have a couple of brilliant people who will talk more about our so-called “moderate” congressman’s voting record on gun safety so we can all understand why the NRA loves Zeldin so much.  But I want to talk about one specific bill, voted on and passed by the House of Representatives in December. H.R. 38/ Senate Bill 446, the so called “concealed carry reciprocity” bill. It means that states with the weakest requirements for allowing people to carry concealed, loaded guns in their communities will set the national standard. So whereas now states are free to decide what gun laws will keep their communities safe, and can then enter into agreements with other states to honor out of state gun laws. Concealed Carry would mean that all states would be forced to accept the lowest gun safety standards in the country. And no one is talking about it.

It is time that we understand – and make sure everyone we know understands – what HR 38 / Senate Bill 446 – Concealed Carry will mean for New York.

NY awards concealed carry permission only to citizens with justifiable need who are not a danger to themselves or others, and can demonstrate a high level of knowledge of firearm use and safety. Our laws recognize and protect us from the potential threat of dangerous and violent people carrying concealed guns. This is one reason why NY has such a low incidence of gun deaths and injuries per capita. If the NRA – with the tens of millions of dollars they have spent to do so — succeeds in getting the Senate to pass Zeldin’s Concealed Carry Bill it would put domestic abusers and people convicted of violent crimes with hidden weapons on the streets of our towns — Patchogue, Bellport, Montauk, Smithtown, etc. I want Zeldin to tell me how this will make it more safe for me and my child to walk those streets, to go to school, to go to work. Tell me how!

And when you tell me, I will tell you this. You are lying to our faces. More guns, more concealed weapons, and looser gun laws will not make us safer. Until you stop serving the NRA over your constituents, until you stop selling our children’s lives to gun manufacturers, we are all single issue voters. And I ask all of you to tell everyone you know, about what HR 38 / Senate Bill 446 – Concealed Carry will do to NY and why it is
keeping you up at night. Here’s what else is keeping me up at night! We learned this week that there is incontrovertible evidence that the US is under attack from a foreign adversary. What most defense experts are calling the worst attack on our country since 9/11.

We know that Russia penetrated the systems of our major political parties, tampered with our voting machines, discouraged voting with fake information and media campaigns built on lies, that they rounded up support for Trump and are sowing disinformation and confusion about the harm he is inflicting upon us every day. We know that Russia helped sway public opinion to push Al Franken out of office. That they are acting to control social discourse after the Parkland shooting last week. America
needs to wake up. We are at war.

And the president said nothing. He attacks the FBI and goes golfing. He spends NO TIME thinking about how to protect us from the very real threat that Russia will decide in 2018, who runs our government. Russia, is clearly exercising control over the people they have handpicked for the job. Why are Trump and Zeldin doing nothing? Why won’t Trump institute sanctions (H.R. 3364) that were passed by a huge margin 419-3 in the House?

Why is that ok with Zeldin? Is it because the GOP & Zeldin know that they can only stay in power with Russia’s help? Well I’m sorry. That’s too bad. If you can only keep your jobs with Russian help, you’re out. This is OUR country. Not Russia’s.

The people in Washington running the Republican party are dirty. They give tax cuts to the rich and spend millions of dollars to fly first class, and in the same breath take away veterans healthcare, children’s healthcare, food for the poor. They are dirty and corrupt from the inside out. Lying to the FBI, money laundering, tax evasion, defrauding consumers, bank fraud, exploiting their office for personal gain.

Before we even get to collusion with a foreign adversary, if even half of the things these people are accused of are true, Republican leadership in Washington should be in jail. And if they were black they would be.

Every day in this country feels more and more like a national version of the godfather.  Here’s what we know. 130 white house staff didn’t have security clearance as of Nov of 2017. The people with the highest levels of security access in the country, have been deemed by our FBI to be unfit for that access. Unfit means that – for whatever reason – be it domestic abuse or foreign debts or lying repeatedly on disclosure forms – our top law enforcement has said that giving these people access puts our lives in danger.

This is not hyberbole. Our government is burning. It is being run by people who are beholden, literally, financially and probably more, to a foreign adversary, and special interests, like the NRA, that is controlled by companies who sell guns and, it turns out, has its own ties to Russia.

What has happened, and is happening, in our government is so insane that we can’t admit it. Because no one knows what to do in the face of this all being true.

What does Donald Trump do? He goes golfing. And what does Lee Zeldin do? He defends him. And worse. Zeldin is actively working to derail the Russia investigation and to attack people who have devoted their lives to protecting our country. A proud member of Devin Nunes #CoverUpCaucus, Zeldin is doing far worse than nothing. Just this morning on Twitter, Zeldin continues his constant and desperate scramble to undermine the efforts of those who are trying to understand what happened and protect us from attack.

And all of these people – Trump, Zeldin, Devin Nunes – every person who holds elected office – has taken an oath to “protect and defend our constitution.” And they won’t even try. A basic dereliction of duty to perform their basic oath of office.

So we are all single issue voters! If Zeldin cannot take basic steps to protect us from threats – both foreign and domestic – he is worse than useless, he is doing us great harm. He is endangering our children, our rule of law, our constitution, and our basic rights as Americans. Zeldin, we are all single issue voters. If you cannot put basic gun safety measures in place, you need to step aside. If you fail to recognize and respond to Russia’s attacks, you need to step aside. You need to step aside and make room for someone who will do their job to protect us and to protect our constitution.

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Put Our Safety First

Tuesday Feb 20th, 3 PM:  Rally in Patchogue at  Lee Zeldin’s Patchogue Office
Put Our Safety First – Protect the Russia Investigation/ Gun Reform Now!
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Zeldin’s voting record on guns:

“Mr. Zeldin has accepted $14,850 from the NRA since his first congressional run, the most of any sitting NY representative, and has earned NRA’s  A rating” Editorial, East Hampton Star, 10/05/17

  • Co-sponsored Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which compels states with strict concealed carry requirements to allow individuals from states with no or lax permit requirements to carry a concealed weapon. (H.R. 38) Opposed by police commissioners and District Attorneys across the country. (12/6/2017)
  • Voted in favor of H.R. 3354, which among other harmful provisions prohibits federal funding of CDC research on gun violence. (9/14/17)
  • Voted to end federal checks that prevented 167,000+ veterans deemed “mentally incompetent” from owning or buying firearms. H.R.1181 (3/16/2017)
  • Voted to prohibit bans of firearms in airports and other public transportation facilities. Griffith Amendment to H.R.2406 (2/26/2016)
  • Voted to restrict the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms from regulating the sale of ammunition for semi-automatic weapons. H.R.2578 (6/1/2015)
The rally in Patchogue at  Lee Zeldin’s Patchogue Office was attended by 400-500 people, with Newsday and other press outlets present.  Here are some pictures. Videos on Facebook:











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Zeldin Kissing the Ring of Sheldon Adelson


Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, a famously private figure, has given few hints about his plans for the midterms. | Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images


From Perry Gershon:

I saw this over the weekend in Politico:

And then I read the first sentence and felt sick to my stomach:

“Republicans made their annual sojourn to the lavish Venetian hotel here in Las Vegas this weekend to kiss the ring of a benefactor they need more than ever: casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.”

Guess who was right there with them, hoping for a little dirty Vegas money? Congressman Lee Zeldin.

No wonder America and Long Island are so energized to take our country back.

I want to put everyday Americans and the middle class first. Fight for affordable, truly universal health care (Medicare for all). Protect the environment and fight climate change. Create family wage jobs. Ensure equal rights for allAmericans. And end the racism, sexism, and xenophobia coming out of Washington.

Sound better than the current bull being shoveled by Zeldin and Donald Trump?

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In the Crosshairs

Published as Letter to the Editor in Feb. 8 edition of The East Hampton Star

His Responsibility

East Hampton

February 5, 2018

Dear David,

Comey, McCabe, Mueller — three lifelong Republicans whom President Trump often praised until doing their jobs put them in his crosshairs. Only one is left.

Robert Mueller’s investigation must continue. If it does not, we are no better than the dictatorships we used to hold in contempt, before we elected a president who is enamored with autocratic leaders.

Lee Zeldin could be a voice of reason and call for Mr. Mueller to be able to do his job unimpeded. But on this matter he is silent, ignoring his responsibility to his constituents and this country. Remember that in November.



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