Thompson’s gun violence forum set for Tuesday

2013-01-07T17:56:00Z 2013-01-07T17:58:14Z Thompson’s gun violence forum set for TuesdayPETER JENSEN Napa Valley Register
January 07, 2013 5:56 pm  • 

In preparing to chair a new congressional task force on gun violence, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, is touring his district in a series of town hall forums this week.

First up is one at the Napa City Hall at 7 p.m. Tuesday, offering residents the chance to have their voices heard in a debate that figures to loom large over Congress in 2013.

The forum will feature leaders of local law enforcement agencies, mental health service providers, school systems, and elected officials, including Napa Mayor Jill Techel, Napa Police Chief Richard Melton, Napa County Undersheriff Brian Banducci, Napa County Office of Education Superintendent Barbara Nemko, District Attorney Gary Lieberstein, Randy Snowden, director of the county Health and Human Services Agency, and Supervising Special Agents John Marsh and Black Graham from the California Department of Justice.

“I think a big part of it is listening to what others have to say,” Police Chief Melton said Monday. “It’s an important community issue; it’s an important national issue. It’s important that our community is participating.”

As the chair of a gun violence task force that Democrats in the House of Representatives organized after the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting in December, Thompson organized the forums to get community feedback — he’s also hosting one in Vallejo on Wednesday, and Santa Rosa on Thursday — that could influence the steps he and other lawmakers can take to reduce and prevent gun violence.

Thompson’s preferred means of doing this touches on a broad range of issues, from renewing a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, to coordinating a response from schools and mental health professionals on how to prevent mass shootings from happening, to curbing the media and entertainment industries’ promotion of gun violence.

He’s asking the Napa County Board of Supervisors to endorse these positions in a resolution; the board is scheduled to vote on that during its Tuesday morning meeting.

Techel said she hasn’t heard of a similar request to the Napa City Council, but believes the forum could provide a basis for a discussion of local ordinances involving guns. She notes that the issues surrounding school shootings extend far beyond guns, though.

“It’s a broader topic than just guns,” Techel said. “(Thompson) wants to hear from as many different people with as many different ideas as are out there. This is that opportunity.”

Melton said Tuesday night’s forum will be an opportunity for residents to offer their ideas and solutions to the issue to a lawmaker with a significant role in the debate.

He said he wants to ensure that local law-enforcement agencies’ perspectives are represented in discussions of gun violence, and was happy to participate in the forum when Thompson’s office asked.

“I think we’re integrated in this issue in a variety of ways,” Melton said.

Snowden said his most important role in the forum will be to listen, and to demonstrate the effectiveness that programs dedicated to behavioral and mental health, and substance abuse treatment and prevention, have in preventing and reducing violence.

“There are statistical correlates all over the place,” Snowden said. “We’re always interested in taking a look at what we’re doing.”

Snowden said he hopes the forum can look beyond the potential requirements of new laws, and focus on the community’s priorities in addressing gun violence.

“I think the most important thing is giving the community an opportunity to speak up,” Snowden said. “Our look at this is, we want to understand what the priorities of the community are. It’s less of what a law might or might not require.”

Nemko said she hopes to use the forum to inform the public of the measures local schools are taking in emergency preparedness, security, mental health treatment, keeping kids from using drugs or alcohol, and bullying.

That two-pronged approach of prevention and reaction is crucial to providing safety, and to ensuring school shootings don’t happen in Napa, she said.

“We don’t know exactly what causes a person to do that,” Nemko said of the motivations for school shootings. “There are enough things that we can do if we detect it early. The connection to one caring adult can make all the difference.”

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. cfskinner Staff
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    cfskinner - January 07, 2013 8:16 pm
    Monday's Napa Register, Section C, Page 5: A gun-toting photo from the latest Chainsaw Massacre movie...graphic and very telling. How dare celebrities propose gun control when that's how they rake in huge salaries? Oh, did I hear someone in the audience whisper the word "greed"? Hummm...
    I agree with Ms. Nemko. Yes, caring adults can make a big difference, but don't assume that taking kids to another violent movie or playing another violent video game qualifies as "mentoring." It's not only keeping track of students who feel isolated, it's keeping track of who/what is feeding their minds.
  2. Michigan Mommy
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    Michigan Mommy - January 07, 2013 8:54 pm
    Maybe Mike Thompson should hang up his guns.
  3. JustAnotherManicMonday
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    JustAnotherManicMonday - January 07, 2013 10:30 pm
    Bringing a video camera for you tube videos for social media? This will be an interesting topic nationally.
  4. gettingreal
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    gettingreal - January 07, 2013 10:38 pm
    Last years statistics showed that 80 times more people died from medical malpractice than from gun owners and their guns. This is not about saving lives, otherwise we would be having a medical malpractice forum Tuesday. At least you could focus on the insane criminals instead of blindly going after guns.
  5. glenroy
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    glenroy - January 08, 2013 5:36 am not a serious discussion, public or private.
    If it is a serious public forum the real effectives of gun ownership which equate directly to lower crime and murder rates across the board will be front and center in the discussion. Unfortunately facts and honestly isn’t Thompson’s strong point of late knowing full well obamacare would significantly increase healthcare cost he stood before his staged Town Hall and lied to everything there, most, to be fair to Thompson, preferred to his lies to the facts.
    Interesting what a community leader is wasn’t that long ago the movers and shakers who created the economic environment in any given community, faith leaders and community groups and club it's sitting bureaucrats who live off the public…at least in urban areas and Napa is certainly on that path.
  6. rocketman
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    rocketman - January 08, 2013 6:07 am
    Just saw a report from the Associated Press regarding the White House push for new gun control and assault weapons ban.

    What do they picture as the lead photo? An AK-47 fully automatic rifle that has been ban for 70 years!
  7. publiusa
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    publiusa - January 08, 2013 8:55 am
    In the 3 weeks since the December 14th shooting of children in Connecticutt, 115,384 innocent babies have been aborted in America! Not a single gun involved.
  8. napken
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    napken - January 08, 2013 9:25 am
    Wish I would have known this earlier- Tues. is my "Forum to reduce ALL violence, ALL accidents and ALL hurt feelings in the universe" night- darn the luck. Instead of just picking out one of many dangerous "tools of opportunity" likes guns, knifes, bullets, baseball bats etc. I am going after the source of the violence- violent thoughts. If we can ban all thoughts pertaining to doing violence- it can be stopped outright. No more need to single out guns and make yet another law to add to the already exhaustive list of tens of thousands of current gun laws that have yet to stop a madman bent on killing- hey, maybe a law that bans killings? Yes I know we already have some of those- I mean a NEW law that bans killings that is written in BOLD print AND underlined AND highlighted to show criminals that we are serious this time. Problem solved? If anyone wants to RSVP or bring cookies please do so. You may question the results of my meeting but it will have the same impact as yours!!
  9. Paul
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    Paul - January 08, 2013 11:41 am
    There is a glaring ommision of a group of people not included in tonights forum. Our communities faith leaders, pastors and clergy need to be an integral part of any attempt at understanding and working to resolve issues of violence in our community. Maybe Rep. Thompson has invited some faith leaders to the forum. Is there a connection between the increasing violence of our youth and the driving of God from the public arena while denigrating His value to our society? Something to think about. And publisa is very correct in pointing out the elephant in the room.
  10. LDBDS
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    LDBDS - January 08, 2013 12:20 pm
    Lets ban bic lighters for lighting cigarettes and causing cancer all over the world... Then we will ban forks for making Americans obese..or we will just keep pumping anti depressants and anti adhd meds into children at a young age until they snap and throw a home made bomb in a school because we won the war on guns!!! And save your anti abortion for somebody that cares..
  11. y2kcbr
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    y2kcbr - January 08, 2013 4:30 pm
    To start off, it was the worst thing to hear about those children and adults that lost their lives on Dec 14th due to that nut job. Its incomprehensible how someone would do that.

    In reviewing the story again and again, as so many of us have, one thing really stands out to me. He was denied the purchase of a shotgun at a local chain store. Meaning the background check WORKED. What didn't work is the guns were readily accessible to a crazy nut job. The very same day a nut job, on the other side of the world, went into a school and tried to knife an entire school. I believe 23 were wounded, w/ no fatalities.

    Make the laws a bit tighter, harder background checking should be initiated. CA has had a bad on more than 10 round magazines. When I take my AR-15 to the range, I have a 10 round magazine. Do I need more than this at the range? no way! So I believe in a National ban on more than 10 round magazines, with grandfather clause for existing magazines where the law applies
  12. widget1
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    widget1 - January 08, 2013 5:10 pm
    Thompsons and Feinstein's strategy is clear.

    Label everything they can with "assault" label.

    Assault weapons
    Assault magazines
    Assault ammo, etc.

    This will give them a clear path to restrict
    way more than what most people think of
    so called assault weapons and large

    Look at what Feinstein bill she is proposing.

    It suggests that up to 75% of all handguns currently
    in circulation would be banned, along with 50% of all long guns.

    Depending on its configuration, the AR-15 you already have would
    probably be treated like a machine gun. You would have to be fingerprinted,
    background checked by the FBI, and undergo a six-month license application
    process to keep it pay a $200 fee and when you die, the government will seize it
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