Tag Archives: Background check

President Obama Speaks on Reducing Gun Violence

President Obama asks the American people to join him in calling on Congress to pass common-sense measures to reduce gun violence, including closing loopholes in the background check system to keep guns out of the hands criminals and others who should not have access to them. April 3, 2013.


If not now, When?


just another rant …

and a question for Bernie Sanders and his supporters … at what point will you all say enough is enough?

The months wear on but most have NOT forgotten Newtown …

They say there are more deaths from hand guns, yet another massacre has taken place … can we just ban automatic weapons

Tell your Democratic or Republican member of Congress that the time has come for #GunSafety #GunReform #UniversalBackgroundChecks

People on the far left say they are progressive but i missed that enthusiasm for trying to do something progress like wanting to make folks accountable,change or reform the archaic laws on the books regarding guns which should be updated to meet our 21st Century lives … where are they?

I am against handguns … period.  The incidents my family, friends even some co-workers have experienced have molded my attitude over the years, and a narrow escape or two of my own. The thought of a teacher being responsible for having or being forced to keep a handgun or anything larger in the classroom just does not make sense.

As more Americans watch, wait and wonder when Congress will take a stand on gun control, more say there is absolutely no reason a civilian should own or have access to an assault weapon. The fact is assault weapons, the standard infantry combat choice for most modern armies has no place in a civil society.  Police already have trouble protecting and serving our communities against illegal guns, legislation that broadly regulates the firearms industry and firearms owners let alone automatic weapons solely made and meant to kill people quickly.

At what point will our members of Congress, the firearm industry and owners stand up speak up or out over the current stalemate to move gun laws into the 21st Century. The NRA has been a thorn in all our sides, spending millions lobbying for gun rights while controlling votes in Congress. The Second Amendment, states: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”   I have to say, who doesn’t believe this amendment is in dire need of revaluation for the lives of our citizens.

In 1994, Congress added a background check system to strengthen our existing laws to keep guns out of the hands of felons, drug abusers, and the mentally ill. In 2004, Congress let the assault weapons ban expire. It is time to recognize and change the flaws in the background check system that have enabled folks to arrange hits, commit heinous crimes, violent deaths or massacres like Columbine, Virginia Tech, Arizona, Michigan, Washington state Colorado, Chicago , Texas, Santa Monica,DC,Illinois,Ohio,NY,San Bernardino, Missouri,Baltimore,Minnesota

If not now, when is a good question.

written 4/2013

U of WA to screen applicants for criminal records

University of Washington Officials and Admissions Department: Do not include criminal history record screenings on college applications

Quick Overview

Petition by

Huskies For Fairness

We oppose the idea of adding criminal background questions to the undergraduate admissions process, because:

Research shows criminal background checks do not reduce crime or make university campuses safer; in fact, college campuses are far safer than the general community.

Research demonstrates education is strongly correlated with a decrease in criminal activity and reduced recidivism (46% less likely to re-offend).

Excluding students with a criminal history from participating in postsecondary education not only increases chances of recidivism, but has serious implications for racial equity.

People of color have historically been and continue to be arrested, detained, and charged at significantly higher rates than the rest of the population, due to unjust policies and an inequitable/unfair criminal justice system. This policy would target and further marginalize applicants from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and students of color.

This policy would further increase institutional racism. Institutional racism occurs where an institution adopts a policy, practice, or procedure that, although it appears neutral, has a disproportionately negative impact on members of a racial or ethnic minority group (Randall, 2006).


Huskies for Fairness is a group of University of Washington (UW) students, faculty, staff and community members opposing the idea of adding criminal background questions to the undergraduate admissions process. The proposed policy by UW officials would potentially disqualify students with criminal histories of violent crimes or sex offenses from admission into UW, but the policy could also result in exclusion for ANY past criminal offense. While much discourse surrounding universal background checks for students aims to promote safety on campus,we know the impact of such policies does little to decrease violence on campus. Instead, this policy would further increase the number of obstacles preventing students of color, low-income, formerly incarcerated, immigrant, refugee, and nontraditional students from accessing a college education.

Education should be available to everyone so they may bring their creativity, innovation, talents, experience and authentic selves to the classroom and learning environment. Punitive and oppressive policies disproportionately targeting certain groups of students exclude valuable voices necessary for building a socially just and equitable campus. Huskies for Fairness urges you to support a truly SAFE campus by supporting actions that work toward ending racial disparities in our education system, and allow each of us to thrive and participate in our communities.

The facts about campus safety and recidivism

Proponents of this policy assume inquiry into university applicants’ criminal histories will “weed out” prospective students with criminal backgrounds and ultimately reduce criminal activity on campus; this is an unsupported and unjustified association. Research indicates these procedures do little to prevent campus crime (Center for Community Alternatives: Innovative Solutions for Justice, 2010). The only study that has investigated the direct correlation between criminal history screening of university applicants and incidences of campus crime found no statistically significant correlation (Olszewska, 2007).

On the contrary, research indicates university campuses are remarkably safer places compared to the greater community (Center for Community Alternatives: Innovative Solutions for Justice, 2010). The U.S. Department of Education (2001) reports, “students on the campuses of post-secondary institutions [are] significantly safer than the nation as a whole,” and “college students are 200 times less likely to be the victim of a homicide than their non-student counterparts” (p. 5). The few crimes that do occur are mostly perpetuated by off-campus strangers, most notably instances of rape and sexual assault which show no statistical differences between college students and non-students (Hart 2003; Baum & Klaus 2005). The WA state Department of Corrections conducted the Government Management, Accountability and Performance (GMAP) study , which showed 92% of the 3,570 sex offenders studied between July and December of 2005, committed no offenses after leaving prison for the community. Of the 289 who did re-offend, only eight committed sex offenses (GMAP, 2005).

Research also indicates education is strongly correlated with a decrease in criminal activity and reduced recidivism. As the Wesleyan Center For Prison Education (2011) indicates, “a comprehensive analysis of fourteen different studies, completed by the Institute for Higher Education Policy on behalf of the Department of Justice, revealed that prisoners who merely participated in postsecondary education while in prison were 46% less likely to recidivate than members of the general prison population.”

As criminal activity is shown to decrease with access to education, and safety to remain largely unaffected, requiring background checks for university admission undoubtedly raises concerns about racial equity and opportunities for higher education. Implementing this policy will likely hinder those with minor criminal records from applying to UW, regardless of how long ago a criminal incident occurred or its severity (Halperin & Garcia, 2011). In addition, requiring background checks may ultimately deprive students with a criminal records from admittance into UW. This barrier from participation in postsecondary education not only increases chances of recidivism, but has serious implications for racial equity.

Racial inequities in the criminal justice system

By excluding students with a criminal record from our campus community and learning environment, students of color and students from disadvantaged backgrounds are further subjected to the inherent discrimination imposed on them by the criminal justice system. People of color have historically been and continue to be arrested, detained, and charged at significantly higher rates than the rest of the population. In this striking reality, African Americans make up 15% of the youth population and account for 26% of the youth arrested – but of those arrested, African Americans make up 44% of those detained, 46% of those judicially waived to criminal court, and 58% of youth in prison (Halperin & Garcia, 2011).

The likelihood of incurring a criminal charge when encountering law enforcement is largely a function of race, socioeconomic status, and location, resulting in people of color and members of disadvantaged groups being more likely to have a criminal record. This is not because these individuals are more likely to have committed a crime, but because they are more likely to be targets of unjust policies and victims of an inequitable criminal justice system (Alexander, 2010; Garcia & Halperin, 2011).

Why say NO to this policy? Disproportional disciplinary actions in the classroom and in the criminal justice system sustain racial disparities in education.

The increased racial disproportionalities in UW enrollment we can expect to see as a result of this policy, will further compound an existing lack of racial equity in our education system. Both the education and criminal justice system enact discipline while using a racial lens of prejudice — by which a student’s racial background significantly alters the severity of  the disciplinary action.“The problem [of racism] is deep and pervasive. Suspension rates for black students are three times higher than rates for white students, from elementary to high school. One-fourth of black middle-schoolers have received short-term suspensions every year since 1996” (Nelson & Nguyen, 2013, p.1). While disciplinary recourse surges ahead for students of color, reading levels and high school graduation rates show they are falling behind.

Sign this petition and PLEASE, keep the conversation going.

Although this proposed policy may appear neutral, it would have a disproportionately negative impact on members of racial/ethnic minority groups and would thus contribute to institutional racism. Institutional racism is difficult to eliminate because it is so insidious and hidden from those who do not constantly struggle against oppressive and inequitable policies and practices. “Those of us who are white often don’t realize the unintended privileges we receive. We often get the ‘benefit of the doubt,’ or the trust and confidence of people who do not yet know us, or other benefits that are invisible to us as white folks” (Racial Equity in Seattle 2012-2014 Report, p. 2). Institutional racism occurs where “an institution adopts a policy, practice, or procedure that, although it appears neutral, has a disproportionately negative impact on members of a racial or ethnic minority group” (Randall, 2006).

A multitude of barriers already exist to obstruct students of color on the pathway to educational success. This additional obstacle to attaining higher education must be stopped. We urge you to not only sign this petition, but continue this critical conversation with your peers, friends, classmates, professors, and administrators in the classroom and beyond the university community.


Alexander, M. (2010). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: New Press.

Center for Community Alternatives: Innovative Solutions for Justice. (2010). The use of criminal history records in college admissions:Reconsidered. Retrieved from: http://www.communityalternatives.org/pdf/Reconsidered-criminal-hist-recs-in-college-admissions.pdf

Erisman and Contardo, (March, 2005). Learning to Reduce Recidivism: A 50 state Analysis of Postsecondary Correctional Education Policy. Washington, DC: The Institute for Higher Education Policy. Retrieved from: http://www.wesleyan.edu/cpe/documents/CPEFactSheet2011.pdf

Garcia, G., & Halperin, E., (2011). Criminal Background Checks Upon Acceptance to Medical School: The Wrong Policy at the Wrong Time. Academic Medicine, 86(7) 808 doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e31821e4176

Gunawan, Imana. (February 7, 2013). UW considers adding criminal background question to undergraduate application. The Daily of the University of Washington/ since 1891.

Nelson, J., & Nguyen, M., (April 4, 2013). Guest: Addressing racial disparity in Seattle school discipline. The Seattle Times. Retrieved from:http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2020712915_julienelsonmichaelnguyenopedxml.html

Olszewska, M. J. (2007). Undergraduate admission application as a campus crime mitigation Measure: Disclosure of applicants’ disciplinary background information and its relationship to campus crime. Unpublished Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Education, East Carolina University.

Race and Social Justice Initiative. (2012). Racial Equity in Seattle 2012-2014 Report. Retrieved from:http://www.seattle.gov/rsji/docs/RacialEquityinSeattleReport2012-14.pdf


a message from Gov Inslee

In 1994, I faced a difficult decision: do the right thing and cast the deciding vote for the Federal Assault Weapons Ban — likely losing my congressional re-election in the process — or take the politically easy route and vote against it.

I voted for it. And to this day I stand by my position supporting commonsense, responsible gun safety legislation.

Now in the state of Washington, we all have a chance to do the right thing by supporting I-594, an initiative requiring criminal background checks for gun purchases in our state.

Passing I-594 won’t be easy. Our opponents are rallying to try to stop us, even going so far as to declare December 15 — one year and one day after the Sandy Hook massacre that left 20 people dead — “Guns Save Lives Day” in an effort to build opposition to sensible gun reform laws.

Don’t let the gun lobby and the gun makers profit off the anniversary of one of the worst tragedies our nation has ever known. Sign the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s open letter today, and demand the gun lobbyists cancel their outrageous “Guns Save Lives Day.”

Look, we have plenty of responsible gun owners in Washington, and an overwhelming majority of them support criminal background checks because they’re responsible gun owners.

Not the sponsors of “Guns Save Lives Day.” There is nothing responsible about exploiting the death of innocent little children — even worse when it’s done to stop reforms that could prevent future tragedies. They should cancel this horrific excuse to celebrate guns, and stop spreading misinformation about responsible, reasonable reforms like I-594.

Join me and tell the gun lobby this is completely unacceptable. Sign the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s open letter now, and demand the gun lobbyists cancel “Guns Save Lives Day” now.

Responsible gun owners know there are sensible things we can do to keep guns out of the hands of people like Adam Lanza, and they’re eager to stop the next tragedy — not exploit the last one.

Thankfully, the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility is leading the charge to fight back against “Guns Save Lives Day” — spearheading efforts to educate Washingtonians about I-594 and why it’s the right thing to do for Washington and our kids. I’m proud to join them, and I hope you’ll help out, too.

Sign the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s open letter today, and help them fight back against “Guns Save Lives Day.” now.

Thanks for your support.

Very truly yours,

Jay Inslee

It’s in the numbers


It’s all about numbers.


Elections may seem complicated, but they’re really just a simple math problem. We know 80% of Washington voters support making our state safer by extending criminal background checks to all gun purchases. We’re going to need 50% + 1 of the votes next year for something called I-594.

Slam dunk, right?

Not so fast. We also know our opponents will do everything they can to scare and confuse voters.

To make criminal background checks a reality, we need to reach out to millions of voters to let them know what I-594 will do — and to defeat the scare tactics and misinformation the gun lobby will use to intimidate folks into voting against a measure that even gun owners overwhelmingly support.

That takes a lot of work, a lot of planning, and a lot of support from thousands of committed people just like you.

Thanks to the generous support of more than 2,500 donors we are in good shape — but to keep on track, we need 594 more to stand up for a safer Washi‌ngton by Novem‌ber 22.

We’ve set a goal of recruiting 594 donors by November 22 — click here to contribute $3, and help ensure that we have the resources to make Washington safer!

594 donors by 11/22/2013 to help us get 1,600,000 votes in 2014.

Those are the kind of numbers we’re dealing with — and we need your help to get there.

Thanks in advance!

Zach Silk
WA Alliance for Gun Responsibility