For Immediate Release
Peter Hamm 202-289-5792 email@example.com
Eleven Years After Shooting Rampage, Loophole Still Allows Killers to Get Guns Without a Background Check
WASHINGTON - Eleven years ago today, at 11 o'clock in the
morning in sunny Granada Hills, California, a man who professed to
wanting to kill Jews brandished an Uzi assault rifle at the North Valley
Jewish Community Center and shot a five-year-old boy, two six-year-old
boys, a 16-year-old camp counselor and a 68-year-old receptionist. He
then fled and later killed a postal worker before surrendering.
Buford O. Furrow fired 70 shots at the JCC. He was a leader in the
Aryan Nation movement and had been in and out of jail and psychiatric
hospitals for a long time before his assault. He was eventually
convicted and sentenced to 110 years in prison with no chance of parole.
Furrow purchased guns from a so-called "private" seller at a gun
show in Washington State, and thus was not subjected to a Brady criminal
background check. Mindy Finkelstein, the camp counselor who was 16 when
she was shot at the JCC and still lives in California, says closing that
loophole is long overdue.
"My life changed forever on August 10, 1999, when as a 16-year-old
camp counselor, I was shot twice by a semi-automatic gun held by a
Neo-Nazi madman who had easy access to guns at gun shows," Finkelstein
said. "I am troubled that we have yet to close the loophole in
America's gun laws that give people like the man who shot me, a parolee
and criminally insane, easy access to guns.
"My best wishes go out to all the survivors of that shooting and to
the family of Joseph Santos Ileto, the man who lost his life shortly
after the shooter left the Jewish Community Center. We can do better in
this country than we are doing to combat gun
violence," Finkelstein added.
The incident drew television cameras that broadcast live, to a shocked
nation, scenes of JCC workers and police hurrying small children to
New Jersey resident Donna Dees-Thomases saw the news coverage that day
and was inspired to organize the Million Mom March, an event in
Washington, D.C. in May 2000 that drew the largest crowd ever assembled
to push for tougher gun laws.
"This was no daisy chain of happy, innocent children who were
blissfully unaware of the evil in the world, safe on the grounds of
their camp - this was a string of survivors being led away from a death
trap," Dees-Thomases wrote in her memoir, Looking for a Few Good Moms.
"And those children could have been mine."
The event gave birth to an organization with the same name, which
merged with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in 2001. Million
Mom March and Brady Campaign chapter activists nationwide have pressed
for stronger laws to keep dangerous people from having access to
dangerous guns. Closing the gun show loophole is one of the
organization's top goals.
As the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading
the fight to prevent gun violence, the Brady Campaign, with its
dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, works to enact and
enforce sensible gun laws, regulations and public policies. The Brady
Campaign is devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where
all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our
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The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and its legislative and grassroots affiliate, the Brady Campaign and its dedicated network of Million Mom March Chapters, is the nation's largest, non-partisan, grassroots organization leading the fight to prevent gun violence.
We are devoted to creating an America free from gun violence, where all Americans are safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities.