John Rosenthal: Don’t Be a Target

In 1998, John Rosenthal’s Stop Handgun Violence organization hung its first billboard over the Mass. Turnpike in Boston near Fenway Park with the phrase “Bullets Leave Holes” on it.
In 1998, John Rosenthal’s Stop Handgun Violence organization hung its first billboard over the Mass. Turnpike in Boston near Fenway Park with the phrase “Bullets Leave Holes” on it.

By Mary Markos

Published June 30, 2016, issue of June 30, 2016.

Ask John Rosenthal, a man famous for his 250-foot-long billboards promoting gun control, if gun laws are an infringement on the second amendment, and here’s what he’ll tell you. “I’m a gun owner. I support gun rights. I just don’t think that the founders ever intended people on suspected terrorist watch lists, criminals, and dangerously mentally ill people to be able to buy guns without a background check.”

Co-founder of Stop Handgun Violence and president of Meredith Management Corporation, last week Rosenthal announced the formation of a political action committee called “Don’t Be a Target,” to support the election of candidates for Congress who support gun control. Since he became an activist in the early 1990s, Rosenthal became prominent for his recently removed billboard which spent 20 years on the Mass. Pike promoting gun control and he successfully fought for passage of three different state gun laws in Massachusetts.

The results of their efforts, according to Rosenthal, successfully reduced gun deaths in Massachusetts by 60%. “Without banning anything other than assault weapons, large capacity ammunition magazines, the common denominator in every one of the thousand mass shootings that have happened since Sandy Hook,” said Rosenthal.

“We’ve proven the NRA’s worse nightmare – gun laws work to save lives,” said Rosenthal. In his mind, you don’t need to ban most guns to prevent most gun violence. He believes he has made urban industrial Massachusetts a model for gun violence prevention. “We have the lowest gun death rate in the country other than the rural isolated Hawaii,” added Rosenthal.

Now, says Rosenthal, it is necessary to push Congress to replicate those laws nationwide. “We need to vote common sense gun violence prevention supported elected officials in their place in order to save lives from preventable gun violence,” he added.

Rosenthal explains that the NRA and the gun lobby get the majority of their funding from Steven Feinberg, the director of Cerberus Capitol Management, a Wall Street investment firm. Rosenthal describes him as a Jewish American who funds the NRA more than any other person in the country. “He make guns available to terrorists and criminals to kill us,” said Rosenthal.

He added that Feinberg also owns gun companies such as Remington and Bushmaster that sell the AR15. “He is Jewish and the Jewish community should hold him accountable by boycotting his companies,” argued Rosenthal.

Rosenthal’s idea circumvents an anti-gun control argument – that new gun laws only take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. “This is making it harder for criminals, terrorists and the dangerously mentally ill from getting guns without protection.”



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