San Francisco Activist Hopeful About New Gun Laws

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mindy Finklestein of San Francisco has become an anti-gun advocate ever since she was shot by a Neo Nazi in Los Angeles in 1999. She is planning a lie-in on Saturday in San Francsico against the use and sale of guns. Jean Elle reports. (Published Thursday, Dec 20, 2012)

    Mindy Finkelstein has physical and emotional scars from bullets shot at her more than a decade ago.

    She also has a heart filled with determination to change the nation's gun laws.  That's because a gunman shot Finkelstein and four others, including three 5-year-olds, at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles in 1999.

    She was a 16-year-old camp counselor when Buford O. Furrow - a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi on parole - fired 70 rounds at the center. It's a day she can't forget.

    "A lot of my campers were just 5 and 6 at the time, looking at me covered in blood as the noise continued outside," she said. She, along with four others were wounded that day. A postal worker was murdered. And Furrow was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Now Finklestein is 29 and is living in San Francisco, working with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. She says surviving comes with the responsibility to speak up for people who don't survive. She has been advocating for gun control for more than a decade.

    Friday's shooting in Newtown broke her heart and left her frustrated. But now with talk from lawmakers about considering changes like an assault weapons ban and stricter background checks she has new hope.
    She says listening to President Barack Obama talk about making it a priority was an emotional moment. "I had a smile and cried joyous tears this morning watching his speech," she said. "It hasn't happened in years. I'm hopeful."

    Finkelstein is organizing a lie-in Saturday at noon at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco, where 26 people are expected to lie on the ground to represent the victims of Newtown. She's hopeful change is coming but knows the fight is not over.  

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