Locals urge POTUS to convene a Camp David gun summit

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Some of the more than 50 Laguna Beach residents urging President Biden to convene a Camp David gun summit. From left to right, Wayne Baglin, Cort Kloke, Patricia Twitty, Bob Mister, Susan Hough, Bob Jacob, Faye Baglin, Bob Borthwick, Al Oligino and Denny Freidenrich.

More than 50 Laguna Beach residents recently bought two full-page ads in the Indy to urge President Biden to convene a gun summit at Camp David. The group says they worry about the growing number of mass shootings taking place nearly every day in America.

Long-time community organizer Denny Freidenrich, whose idea was to contact the president directly said, “We are a nation awash with guns. ‘Thoughts and prayers’ haven’t prevented mass shootings from happening. I’m thankful so many friends here in town agree it’s time to rethink America’s strategy when it comes to ending what many are calling a gun violence pandemic.”

Even though nothing like this has happened in Laguna yet, the group worries that it could, citing examples such as the incident in Buffalo, New York, where ten were gunned down while grocery shopping last year among others.

“Or residents of Highland Park, Ill.,” Freidenrich said. Seven were shot during their annual Fourth of July parade a year ago. If that wasn’t enough, what about the countless number of parents in Sandy Hook, Conn., Parkland, Florida or Uvalde, Texas, who sent their children off to school in the morning, never to see them alive again at the end of the day.”

One of the first to help Freidenrich was Bob Mister. A former Army officer who served in Germany back in the 1960s.

“The cruel irony is that while the NRA and 2nd Amendment proponents have successfully lobbied federal lawmakers to take a ‘hands off’ approach to many gun safety measures, gunshots continue to ring out from military-style weapons like AR-15 rifles,” Mister said.  “I’m worried the same thing will happen when youngsters get their hands on the new JR-15 weapons.”

Another supporter, Faye Baglin, who is actively involved with Laguna’s Community Art Project, adds, “It’s clear to me that more and more shootings will continue to occur. I am in complete agreement with our proposed Camp David solution. The president needs to convene a summit on guns.”

Who do the group of concerned locals suggest attend the summit? According to the open letter they signed, they are urging President Biden to invite representatives from the National Rifle Assn., 2nd Amendment proponents, law enforcement officials, and grieving family members to stay at Camp David as long as it takes to find common ground on new, commonsense gun laws.

Jimmy Carter did the same in 1978 when he invited old warriors Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Menachem Begin of Israel to Camp David. Freidenrich said their discussions were long and difficult, but, in the end, the peace agreement they reached still is in effect today.

Co-signer, Susan Hough, who directs the local Walking for Water project at Laguna Beach High School said, “Fixing the complex problem of gun violence in America may not be simple but taking this first, essential step is.  On behalf of everyone who supports this effort, we simply cannot remain silent any longer.”

If you are interested in the group’s next steps, email Freidenrich at [email protected], or click on this link www.bit.ly/3OcFpqm.So far, more than 400 people across the country have signed their online petition.

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