GunSenseUs was founded as Gun Sense Chester County (GSCC) in March 2017, when the group developed a strategy, formed a Board of Directors and filed as a non profit 501(c)4 organization.
The group began with an email list of individuals who had been involved with the Chester County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence — a group formed following the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT.
Over the next 20 months the group grew and evolved — applying what it learned to developing future strategy.
During the fall of 2018, the Board of Directors made several important decisions:
- To change the group’s name to GunSenseUs (rhymes with “consensus”)
- To form a 501 c(3) affiliate group — the GunSenseUs Education Fund
- To develop a focused agenda for future group efforts
We relaunched what had been Gun Sense Chester County, the 501(c4) advocacy organization, under the GunSenseUs name in February 2019.
We also filed the GunSenseUs Education Fund with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We have also filed for a Letter of Determination affirming our 501(c)3 educational non-profit status with the Internal Revenue Service.
The mission of GunSenseUs is to foster community well-being by seeking common sense solutions that recognize ALL citizens’ rights and responsibilities in working to reduce gun violence and ensure safe gun ownership.
GunSenseUs recognizes there are many residents who enjoy gun ownership and use them for hunting and sporting purposes, as well as for personal protection. We also recognize that there are an unacceptably high number of gun violence injuries and deaths in the United States in the range of 10 times the amount of other developed countries in the world.
We see gun violence not as a political issue, but first and foremost and issue of community health and well-being.
We are not anti gun. We are not seeking to ban guns or confiscate guns. While we recognize the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the view that this creates rights for those who want to own guns, we believe those who choose not to own guns also have rights.
We work to educate citizens about current gun regulation and to promote a thoughtful conversation about the increased presence of guns in our society and what that means.
We support actions that keep guns from those who should not have them and activities that promote safe gun ownership and use.
We believe that through education, dialogue and common purpose, we can all work together to reduce the scourge of gun violence.
Building Consensus for Gun Sense
Did you know that surveys show there is substantial consensus between those who choose not to own guns, and those who do, as to several approaches to reducing gun violence? It’s true! For example, the Pew Research Center survey conducted in the spring of 2017 showed that over a majority of gun owners and non-gun owners all support:
- Background checks before ALL gun purchases (Universal Background Checks)
- If you are on the Federal “No Fly” List, You should not be able to purchase a gun
- There should be gun purchase restrictions on those with felony convictions and significant mental health disabilities
Quinnipiac University Polls (12/2017; 2/2018) also showed consensus on:
- Banning accessories that accelerate the rate of fire from semi-automatic weapons (e.g. “bump stocks”) — These have been banned under a Bureaus of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms regulation, effective March 2019
- Requiring a waiting period before a gun purchase is completed
Our goal is to bring together people with diverse experiences and viewpoints to be educated about gun violence and methods to address it, and to advocate for change in these areas of common ground.
(To read more examples of existing consensus, and learn how we identify consensus, click here: GSU_Consensus_2_19 )
Gun regulation occurs both at the state and federal level. Therefore, taking action requires knowing what legislation is being proposed, at what level of government, and the position of your specific elected officials.
As a group founded in Chester County, we offer robust information about the positions of Chester County elected officials, as well as local opportunities to attend meetings and volunteer to help. We hold educational meetings at least every other month.
As we continue to grow, we are offering information, tools and templates that support efforts in other areas of Pennsylvania.
Keep in mind, direct contact from each elected official’s local constituent is more effective than signing generic national petitions.
Activities and Events
GunSenseUs sponsors activities and events such as:
- Educational presentations
- Community outreach
- Meetings with elected officials
GunSenseUs collaborates with national, regional, state and local gun violence prevention groups where we share support consensus policies. While we do not agree on every issue, or have identical approaches, we are stronger together.
We welcome you to join us.
Need to contact us? Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org