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Son of slain Accent Signage owner gives Capitol Hill call for more gun control

Sami Rahamim
MinnPost photo by Devin Henry
Sami Rahamim: "Whether gun violence enters your life in a mass shooting or a single-victim murder, the pain is no greater and no less."

WASHINGTON — Sami Rahamim became a gun control spokesman in the worst way possible.

When Rahamim, a 17-year-old high school student, heard about the shooting at his father’s Accent Signage last fall, he sent him an email telling him to be careful. His father, Reuven Rahamim, was shot and killed, and never responded.

Rahamim is Rep. Keith Ellison’s guest for tonight’s State of the Union, one of dozens of gun violence victims and relatives in town to help liberal lawmakers deliver a message: Pass gun control legislation this session and don’t let another shooting like that at Accent Signage, or Sandy Hook Elementary Shool, take place.

At a Tuesday press conference, flanked by survivors, activists and lawmakers, Rahamim said he was happy with the set of gun control proposals pitched by President Obama and others. Now, he said, it’s time to follow through and pass something.

“As the president has said, if we can even save one life from the death of gun violence, we have an obligation to try,” Rahamim said. “However I believe if we pass the Fixed Gun Checks Act, ban assault weapons effectively and limit high-capacity magazines, we will save many more than just one life.”

It was the message of the day, that in the realm of gun control, something is better than nothing.

The group, gathered by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, held up photographs and shared personal stories of violence to illustrate what new gun control laws could theoretically prevent.

Emily Nottingham, the mother of U.S. House staffer Gabe Zimmerman killed in the Tucson shooting that badly injured Rep. Gabby Giffords, gushed about her son’s love of D.C.; Lynn McDonnell, whose daughter Grace was killed at Sandy Hook, talked about her budding artistic talent; Cleopatra Pendleton, the mother of the Chicago girl killed weeks after marching in last month’s inauguration parade, fought back tears and called on Congress to move on gun control.

“No one should feel the way we do, and I’m appealing to the Congress,” Pendleton said. “You guys signed up for the job. Do something.”

The Rahamims have become a bit of a symbol for gun control in Minnesota. Sami Rahamim took part in a roundtable with President Obama during his visit to Minneapolis last week. His sister, Miya, attended gun control events on Capitol Hill with Mayor R.T. Rybak in January.

Rahamim said personal stories like the ones told Monday could help sway lawmakers who might be disinclined to back tougher gun laws.

“Gun violence in the United States is a much bigger problem than the shooting that killed my father,” he said. “It’s a much bigger problem than Virginia Tech, it’s bigger than Aurora, it’s bigger than Tucson and it’s bigger than Newtown. Whether gun violence enters your life in a mass shooting or a single-victim murder, the pain is no greater and no less.”

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com.

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Comments (7)

You can't argue with the victims

The gun banners parade the gun violence victims across the stage, knowing full well gun control opponents have enough decency to be reluctant about arguing with people in grief. But we need to stand up to these shameful tactics of attempting to disarm law abiding citizens by exploiting people's grief. The 2nd Amendment wasn't intended to protect hunting or skeet shooting, it was intended to allow the people, the same people with 1st Amendment rights to free speech, to defend themselves against an oppressive government. It is becoming more apparent this is why the gun banners fear us, the people who are increasingly opposed to the socialist direction our nation is being led. Tyranny will stoop to any level to promote its agenda, and using victims in their irrational grief is despicable.

Ginny

No, the 2nd amendment was not passed so that citizens could protect themselves against a tyrannical government. The reference to the well regulated militia refers to a compromise made between slave-owning states and non-slave owning states. The "militia" allowed Southern states to set up militia to patrol slave quarters on a regular basis, make sure no one was missing, and to track slaves who tried to escape. The 2nd amendment was not set up to protect us from our government.
"Irrational grief" is a despicable phrase. These men and women are saying their right to life and their children's right to life and safety trumps your so called "right" for ANYONE, including terrorists and madmen, to own guns.
And no, Hitler did not take away guns from the people after he took power. He eliminated and loosened gun controls that the Weimar republic had instituted. There was never any real attempt to undo Hitler. He won the popular vote. People liked him.
Nor did China take away guns after the Revolution. The Communist Party and Mao armed the people against the country. . . .
In the revolutionary era the people were armed, people carried their guns into work. Some carried them out into the fields as they did agricultural work. Communist China didn’t ban people from having guns they were the ones that gave them out.
There are sources for these statements. What are yours?

Ginny

I think Johnson's comment is telling. How dare we say the right to life, for us and for our children, is trumped by the right of a gunowner to have any kind of weapon he or she likes? There seem to be no other rights these people hold so high. I thought the Constitution said something about the general welfare. So, is the general welfare protected by people having assault rifles?
This discussion clearly reveals how these people think.

Gun violence

I acknowledge Eric Johnson's point that the emotional appeal through the grief of survivors doesn't necessarily allow a reasoned argument about firearms in the U.S. But perhaps we need it to make us pay attention: more Americans have died through domestic gun-related incidents than in our wars...huh. We live in a country where we have lawful recourse against policies which we perceive to be "tyrannical." Guns are not the answer to discontent. Ask the family in St. Paul which just lost a child. Ask the employees of Accent Signage.

Eric Johnson's post

Hey minnpost, I find it hard to believe that Eric Johnson's post passed the smell test.

For one, "using victims in their irrational grief is despicable." What? Survivors of murder victims have irrational grief? What sort of grief is acceptable to EJ, anyway?

"The 2nd Amendment wasn't intended to protect hunting or skeet shooting". No, it was intended as a sop to Southern States to maintain their slave patrols; as the Slave States didn't want their Militia taken from them to "execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions"!

The socialist direction our nation is being led? Tyranny will stoop to any level to promote its agenda?

EJ, you are looking in the wrong place, and at the wrong perp. Start thinking about the economic crash of '07/08, who caused it (unregulated Wall Street), and who ended up paying for it (you and me)!

Treatment for Mentally Ill

Every mass shooting in past several years was done by someone who was mentally ill, The two guys who shot the girl in Chicago had been arrested the year before for shooting someone and were placed on probation, they also were gang members and not old enough to buy a gun legally in the first place.The shooting at Accent was a employer incited incident. If they had an EAP in place or contacted someone with experience terminating employees like Engledinger, there wouldn't have been a shooting. Companies terminate people like Engledinger everyday, but most have the common sense to have the proper procedures in place. Sound harsh, it is, I have been doing that type of work since I retired from law enforcement. We don't need gun control we need people control. We have progressed to the point where we have decided that the mentally ill cannot have there rights violated at any cost. The cost is mass shootings.

Ginny

The discussion about reason and rationality as the main part of thinking and decision making is just wrong. No decisions are ever made by reason alone. Emotions always jump in first--way ahead of reason and thinking. Now we can see the neurological connections on camera.
Personal evaluations are a good idea. So is removing guns from ready access so that just about anyone can get one.
Rights to own guns are not unlimited and do not trump our right to life.