This article as first published in JWeekly.
Julie Bernstein decided that it was finally time to speak publicly about how her father died.
So while in Washington, D.C., in March, she joined the National Council of Jewish Women’s lobbying effort for gun violence prevention. She knew sharing her personal story would help get the attention of staffers in the offices of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.
Bernstein decided to tell her story again on April 16 in Sacramento. In that instance, she gave testimony before a state Senate committee in support of a bill to prohibit the future sale, purchase, manufacture, importation or transfer in California of semi-automatic rifles that can accept detachable magazines.
“I had never spoken publicly about it, but I knew that telling a personal story is the most effective way of speaking to elected officials,” said Bernstein, a native of San Francisco and a Jewish community professional.
What Bernstein told the politicians was that her father, Jerry Bernstein, was murdered in 1991 by a business associate who had come to a meeting at his Noe Valley office with a gun. The man shot and killed Bernstein and another business associate before turning the gun on himself.
“I was 10 years old and a student at Brandeis Hillel Day School at the time,” recalled Bernstein, now 32. “It was a very public event. It happened at a time when it wasn’t common for people to settle differences by shooting each other. Today, unfortunately, it’s not so unusual.”
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.
Tags: California government, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, gun control legislation, gun violence prevention, Julie Bernstein, National Council of Jewish Women, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Sen. Darrell Steinberg, Sen. Dianne Feinstein