CeaseFirePA Executive Director Speaks to JSPAN Board


Last September, Sami Rahamim’s father was killed in a mass shooting in Minneapolis. Now, he’s doing everything he can to reduce gun violence and keep our communities safer.

He’s hoping his story will help inspire action from Congress — and from people like you.

Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFirePA, addressed the JSPAN Board of Directors at its February monthly meeting.

JSPAN Vice President Burt Siegel, who also chairs the organization’s Gun Control Policy Center, introduced the guest speaker. JSPAN is currently working in coalition with CeaseFirePA and other organizations to press our legislators to adopt better gun controls.

Goodman, an attorney, assumed the position of CeaseFirePA Executive Director in October 2012, after serving for three years as Deputy Director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts. During his introduction, Siegel referred to a recent piece in The Jewish Daily Forward reporting that the National Rifle Association had compiled a list of its “enemies,” and that the list “reads like a Jewish Who’s Who” and included individuals, organizations, media outlets and corporations that have provided support to anti-gun organizations, including the ADL, the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith and Hadassah.

More after the jump.
Goodman began her presentation with a brief overview of CeaseFirePA’s mission, but quickly focused on immediate policy prescriptions including what’s “doable.” She stressed the importance of contacting representatives at both state and federal levels. Goodman reported that Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane had recently announced that she had successfully negotiated and signed an agreement with the state of Florida to close the “Florida loophole,” which has allowed Pennsylvania gun owners to obtain nonresident permits from Florida to carry a concealed weapon in Pennsylvania.

Goodman also told the Board how important it is that the background check system for buying guns be improved. She stated that Pennsylvania is ahead of the curve in this regard because it is now sharing the names of people with a history of mental illness with the national background-check system that would prevent them from purchasing guns. However, she also noted that the state has failed to participate fully in the national background-check system. Goodman stated that it should also be mandatory that all lost and stolen guns be reported and that CeaseFirePA had been advocating for the passage of state legislation on lost-and-stolen guns for several years.

Goodman said that several pieces of legislation intended to reduce gun violence will be introduced shortly both in Washington and Harrisburg and that she would make sure that JSPAN is kept informed about these developments. She reminded the board that the vast majority of Americans support background checks and ways to limit easy access to firearms, and that it is important that JSPAN and other organizations as well as individuals tell elected officials to take steps to reduce gun violence.  

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