Moms Demand Action—and they’re making it happen
Wendy Malloy would like you to take a hard look at some numbers:
96 That’s the number of Americans killed every day by gun violence.
50 That’s the number of women shot and killed every month by their current or former intimate partners.
25 The rate by which America’s gun homicide rate is higher than other high income countries.
And yet, Malloy, leader for the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense Tampa group, is hopeful.
“I do believe there has been a sea change,” says Malloy. “We’ve made progress in three years. We’re in every state house. We’ve become a counterweight to NRA and the gun lobby. We have passed laws in at least 25 states and Washington D.C. to help keep guns away from domestic abusers.”
Moms Demand Action was founded five years ago by an Indiana mother, Shannon Watts, in anguished response to the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut. The organization soon joined forces with Mayors Against Illegal Guns—today Everytown for Gun Safety—and with every subsequent highly-publicized mass shooting, the group has experienced an upsurge in membership. Today, membership hovers at 4 million, and the number of groups in Florida alone has doubled.
“We are sort of the fighting warriors on the ground,” says Malloy. “We are happy to have more people join us, and heartbroken for the reason. My greatest joy would be to have a day when we no longer have to exist.”
With a three-pronged strategy of education and awareness, safety and legislation, the group frames the debate in terms of gun violence as a public health crisis, and looks to hold candidates and leaders accountable.
“At any state house in the country, you will see us in our red shirts in support of good common sense legislation dealing with gun violence,” says Malloy. She’s relieved that for the “first time in decades, Florida has passed meaningful gun reform legislation. We support it with the exception of arming school personnel. We vehemently oppose that piece. Our intention is to go district to district to urge every school board to opt out.”
There’s one misconception that Malloy wants to dispel. Moms Demand Action is not against the second amendment. In fact, many members of the group own guns and some are members of the NRA. The group just wants common sense measures in place that dictate who can have a gun, how they are regulated and where they can carry firearms.
“Our solutions go hand in hand with the second amendment,” says Malloy. “This is not partisan. It’s a public health issue.”
How to get involved with Moms Demand Action:
Visit momsdemandaction.org or text READY 644-33 to stay in the loop about upcoming events, legislative items and calls to action.
Younger activists can join up with Students Demand Action, which is modeled after the adult organization and has access to the same tools and technology.
Follow Everytown for Gun Safety’s #throwthemout campaign which asks you to (1) pledge to vote for gun safety, (2) Follow the NRA money, (3) Register to vote and make sure your friends are too, and (4) Get candidates on the record about their record.
Check out “Our Lives, Our Votes”—a brand new initiative by Everytown, NextGen America and Giffords—that has pledged $1.5 million to register up to 50,000 Americans ages 18-19 for mid-term elections and even preregister 16 and 17-year-olds where it is legal. Florida is one of the 10 states targeted for the initiative.
Mark your Calendars:
June 2, 2018—Show your support of Gun Violence Awareness Day (it’s June 1st, but events will be happening all weekend nationwide) by wearing orange and heading to The Portico in downtown Tampa at 1pm for an afternoon of family-friendly events to raise awareness of gun violence. Look to Tampa’s skyline the night before: Several high-profile buildings will turn orange to show the city’s support for the cause.
In Largo, you can head to Largo Central Park at 10am for a family-friendly event called “Chalk it Up for Gun Violence”. Kids can ride the mini train and there will be an interactive chalf art project. The event will be held at picnic shelters 4 and 5 near the playgroud.