The Shorewood Village Board took action against gun violence at their meeting Monday evening in front of a packed house of community members organized by Common Ground. The board adopted a resolution to “encourage leadership within the gun industry” to create safer guns and safer distribution channels. The resolution also calls for the village to test and evaluate “smart guns” and other emerging firearm technologies, as they become available, to encourage their acceptance.
With passage of this resolution, Shorewood joins a network of leaders from 123 jurisdictions nationwide, such as Los Angeles, Miami and Boston, and 7 in Wisconsin who are part of the “Do Not Stand Idly By” campaign. The local leaders who have already signed on to the campaign are: Mayor Barrett, County Executive Abele, DA Chisholm, Wauwatosa Mayor Ehley, South Milwaukee Mayor Brooks, Madison Mayor Soglin, and Wauwatosa Police Chief Weber.
Do Not Stand Idly By was initiated by the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the nation’s oldest and largest institution for professional organizing in the United States. Common Ground is Milwaukee’s local IAF affiliate and has been working locally on the campaign since 2015. It seeks to encourage life-saving innovation in the gun industry by leveraging municipal, state and national purchasing power of firearms.
“Forty percent of gun purchases every year are made with tax dollars: 25% from the US military and 15% from local and state law enforcement,” said Rob Ater, pastor at Immanuel Presbyterian Church and one of Common Ground’s leaders. “As a citizen who’s very concerned about gun violence in America, I want my tax dollars to be used in a positive way to put pressure on gun manufacturers to take responsibility for their products.”
Leaders of the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign hope to push gun companies to increase their focus and financials on developing smart technologies so that guns and their accessories might one day be usable only by those authorized to use them. They also hope that the industry will work with municipal leaders and law enforcement to identify “bad apple dealers,” the small percentage of gun dealers responsible for the majority of crime guns in America.
Dozens of Common Ground members packed the small Shorewood Village board room. “It’s really important for the people of Shorewood to feel like they’re doing something,” said Rod DePue, a Shorewood resident and the spearhead of this resolution. “The Parkland shooting wouldn’t have been prevented with smart guns, but suicides, gun thefts and child injuries certainly would. I’m proud of my Village Board for going on record supporting such action.”