Tuesday, December 8 was the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder by a gunman.
Initiated by and featuring Safer Country’s Executive Director Paul Friedman, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s “Red, Blue and Brady” held a podcast discussion about new gun violence prevention temporary protection order laws and how such a law could have saved John Lennon’s life.
The show also features Brady Campaign President Kris Brown and Michael Epstein, the director of the documentary John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky, which may be seen on Netflix.
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Kris Brown ■ As President of Brady, Kris Brown combines a lifelong background in policy, law, and grassroots activism with considerable strategic management expertise to help forge the direction of the organization’s programs and ensure the successful impact of its national and field assets. A veteran of gun violence prevention work, Ms. Brown started her career on Capitol Hill working for Rep. Jim Moran, advocating for the bill that would eventually become the groundbreaking Brady Bill requiring background checks on federally licensed gun sales. Ms. Brown has also served as the Chief Legal Officer to a publicly traded company based in Switzerland and as a lawyer practicing at the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges. She lives in Arlington, VA, with her two teenage daughters.
Michael Epstein ■ Michael Epstein is an Academy Award-nominated documentary producer, director and writer whose work has been awarded two George Foster Peabody Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, a Writers Guild Award, a Clio, as well as numerous other distinctions. His films have screened in dozens of international film festivals, and been broadcast throughout the world. He wrote and directed the 2010 documentary LennoNYC, as well as the 2018 documentary John and Yoko: Above Us Only Sky, which detailed not just the recording of the famous Imagine album, but the relationship Lennon had with his family, friends, and chosen city. [Special Note: Michael is a new member of Safer Country’s Advisory Committee.]
Paul Friedman ■ Paul Friedman is the founder and Executive Director of Safer Country, a gun violence prevention non-profit focused on keeping guns out of unsafe hands. He is inspired by the memory of his great aunt, Elizabeth Shulkin, who was shot and killed in Florida on December 1, 1981. Prior to Safer Country, Paul served as Executive Director of the Virginia Tech Victims (VTV) Family Outreach Foundation, during which time he worked with the City of Alexandria and Virginia Tech’s local graduate schools to create a tree grove in Chinquapin Park to honor the victims and survivors of the April 16, 2007 massacre. Paul graduated with a B.A. in Politics from Brandeis University and a J.D. from New York Law School. Recently, he was elected to serve as the Alternate Delegate from Virginia’s 8th Congressional District for Joe Biden for President to the Democratic National Convention, which was originally to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Karl Rhoads ■ Karl Rhoads has served in the Hawaii State Senate since 2016 representing Downtown, Chinatown and the Nuuanu valley. From 2006 – 2016, he served in the Hawaii State House of Representatives. Rhoads is currently the chair of the Judiciary Committee. He received his law degree from George Washington University, his masters in Soviet and East European Studies from the University of London and his BA from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
Kelly Sampson ■ With a background in litigation, human capital consulting, and diversity and inclusion, Kelly brings a variety of experiences to the Brady Team. In particular, Kelly works to prevent gun violence through cultivating a committed, informed, and effective pro bono attorney network, marshaling Brady’s unique legal expertise to educate the courts on gun violence related cases, and making the connection between gun violence prevention and racial justice. In 2016, Kelly and Jon Lowy co-authored The Right Not To Be Shot: Public Safety, Private Guns, and the Constellation of Constitutional Liberties, published in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Policy. Originally from Detroit, Kelly is especially interested in addressing gun violence’s disproportionate impact on the Black community. Kelly earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan and a J.D from Columbia Law school.
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