Our 2023 Annual Dinner, Saturday, October 21
We’d like to thank everyone who contributed to making our 2023 annual dinner, cohosted by Americans Against Gun Violence, a resounding success, including the many supporters who filled the banquet room to capacity and of course, our keynote speaker, Dr. Michael North of Scotland, who inspired us all with his address on the topic, “Gun Control in Great Britain after the 1996 Dunblane Primary School Mass Shooting: A Model for the United States.”
Dr. North lose his five year-old daughter, Sophie, in the 1996 mass shooting at the elementary school in Dunblane, Scotland, in which Sophie’s teacher and 15 of Sophie’s fellow students were also killed and 10 other students and three other teachers were wounded. In his keynote address, Dr. North described how the mass shooting was committed by a man who legally owned the handguns he used to carry out his horrific crime, and how Britain already had a ban on civilian ownership of automatic and semi-automatic long guns, including so-called “assault rifles.” Following the Dunblane Primary School mass shooting, Dr. North helped lead a successful campaign to completely ban civilian ownership of handguns in Great Britain within less than two years. There hasn’t been another school shooting in Britain since the handgun ban went into effect, and the rate of gun-related homicides in Britain is currently 1/100th the rate in the United States. Dr. North spoke about how he and other grieving Dunblane parents overcame seemingly unsurmountable obstacles to achieve the handgun ban, why they felt that nothing short of a complete ban on civilian handgun ownership would suffice in response to the Dunblane massacre, and why British gun control laws should serve as a model for gun control in the United States.
Dr. North also addressed the fraudulent claim by the U.S. gun lobby – a claim endorsed by a current majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices – that the Second Amendment “codified” into the U.S. Constitution a broad individual individual right to gun ownership that our country’s founders inherited from their English ancestors. In fact, the British people do not have – and never have had – such a right. Instead, the British people have the freedom to go about their daily lives without fear of becoming victims of wanton gun violence; their children have the freedom to go to school without fear of being gunned down in their classrooms; and British educators don’t have to include teaching their students where to hide in the case of an active shooter on campus as part of their educational curricula.
A video recording of Dr. North’s keynote address, along with introductory comments by PSR/Sacramento president Dr. Harry Wang and Americans Against Gun Violence president Dr. Bill Durston, is now available for online viewing.
In addition to speaking at the annual dinner in Sacramento on October 21, arrangements were made for Dr. North to speak at several other venues in California during the week after the annual dinner, including at California State University on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 25, and on the Capitol Public Radio Insight program on the morning of Thursday, October 26. We could not have known in advance that there would be another horrific mass shooting in our country – the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, in which 18 people were killed – in the interval between Dr. North’s talk at CSUS on Wednesday afternoon and his interview on Insight on Thursday morning, but given that we’ve taken no definitive action to prevent such tragedies, we were horrified, but not surprised, when the Lewiston mass shooting was reported. The interview with Dr. North on Insight is also available online and can be accessed by clicking on this link and then on the play button for the segment entitled, “How other countries reduce mass shootings.”