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  • Writer's pictureJim Bessman

Gays Against Guns and artist/activist Robin Bell collaborate in D.C. action naming gun violence vict

Gays Against Guns' "Human Beings" filmed by independent video journalist Sandi Bachom

According to Gun Violence Archive, there were 35,993 gun-violence fatalities as of 3:39 a.m., Dec. 1 this year in the U.S.—though that number increases by the minute.

Tomorrow night (Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. ET), at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., award-winning visual/projection artist and activist Robin Bell, in conjunction with Gays Against Guns (GAG), will present Lives Lost in 2019, a projection of all the victims’ names onto the building’s facade.

The event coincides with the day’s Supreme Court hearing involving gun rights---the first case it has heard on the issue in 10 years. The case concerns an attempt to roll back New York City’s strict restrictions on gun-carry outside the home.

The Newseum displays the First Amendment--which guarantees the freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, and the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”--in huge letters on its facade. The names of this year’s victims of gun violence will be projected onto that text—a mute testament to the magnitude of America’s gun epidemic that will require over two hours to accomplish.

Bell is based in the nation’s capital, and much of his work is likewise politically charged. He has projected “Pay Trump Bribes Here” on the Trump International Hotel, and “Brett Kavanaugh Is a Sexual Predator” on a federal courthouse. According to the artist, “By being silent we are being complacent.”

Gays Against Guns will continue this action the next morning (Dec. 3) at 9 a.m. with an appearance by their “Human Beings” at the U.S. Capitol Building and the nearby Russell Senate Office Building.

The GAG Human Beings are white-clad, veiled, silent figures, each carrying a placard showing a different victim of gun violence that is often theme-related. On Tuesday they’ll represent six victims killed this year in the District of Columbia, each by a perpetrator who easily obtained a firearm.

Gays Against Guns is an inclusive direct action group of LGBTQ+ people and their allies committed to nonviolently breaking the gun industry's “chain of death”--investors, manufacturers, the NRA, and politicians who block safer gun laws.

GAG’s actions this week in Washington are specifically directed at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose office is in the Russell Senate Office Building. McConnell has refused to bring House Resolutions 8 and 112, which were passed by the House in February and require background checks for people buying guns, to the Senate floor for a vote.

Polls have shown that Americans overwhelmingly support stricter gun control laws.

Robin Bell's projection art



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