Tuesday, May 25, 1999

New group ringing in
safer attitudes on guns

By Pat Omandam


Nadine Onodera believes the way to curb gun violence in this country is to change the way people think about guns.

Onodera, whose son was murdered, shot at their Hawaii Kai home in December 1983, said today Americans need to force the gun industry to produce safer guns that are more child-proof.

"Once you change how people think, you can change how people behave," she said.

Onodera and a handful of other Hawaii residents today joined those in six other U.S. cities in a new national grassroots effort to help victims of gun violence and to prevent gun death and injury.

Organizers of the Bell Campaign say that as each chapter forms around the country, members will try to install a bell in a prominent public place, to ring annually for each person killed by firearms during the past year.

The campaign is modeled after Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The Bell Campaign began with the ringing of a bell three times: once for all the victims of gun homicide; once for gun suicide victims; and once for those killed in unintentional shootings.

"We're really going to be giving a voice for the victims of gun violence in the same way that MADD has done for victims of drunk driving," Onodera said.

She was to help launch the Honolulu campaign at 11 a.m. today at the Nagasaki Peace Bell on the Civic Center grounds. Also scheduled was Judy Mathias, a Honolulu resident whose 12-year-old grandson was shot and killed by a playmate in Arizona last year.

Honolulu has one of the lowest homicide rates in the country, and Onodera said the group wants to keep it that way. "Because of what's happened recently in our schools and the (Columbine and Heritage high school) shootings, people really want to do something like this."

The campaign began today also in San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Southern California, New York City and Washington, D.C. It is supported by a $4.3 million grant from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund.

Chapters will focus on community education, support for victims, local gun injuries and the local gun market. Members will advocate stricter oversight of the gun industry, including responsible limits on gun access and use.

The founding members started a national movement a year ago. Like those who started MADD, they are determined to prevent others from experiencing a similar loss. "We are parents, partners, siblings and friends who have lost someone we loved to guns," said Beckie Brown, past national president of MADD, in a news release today.

"We do this work as a memorial to them. We aren't going to go away until we've accomplished what we set out to do."


The Honolulu chapter of a growing movement that seeks to help reduce gun violence welcomes new members. Call Nadine Onodera at 234-4222.

E-mail to City Desk

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