One Million Moms for Gun Control

The following report was sent to me after my previous post on the subject of ‘Gun Control’, where it originated I don’t know, but I do know it’s relevant towards the move to sanity in the United States so I decided to run with it and publish it in one of my posts.

Shannon Watts of Zionsville, Ind., did not want her 12-year-old son to hear about the Sandy Hook massacre. The memory of what had happened last summer after the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colo., was too raw.

The day after the Colorado shootings, her son Sam went to see “The Dark Knight Rises,” the same Batman movie that had been playing when James E. Holmes opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. Sam had what Ms. Watts described as a panic attack.

“He became obsessed with the idea that the person next to him had a gun,” she said, adding that he was soon afflicted with nervous tics and had a hard time sleeping. He has since seen a psychologist, she said.

Ms. Watts’s first response to word of the carnage at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn., was: “We can’t let Sam know.” Her second response was to start a grass-roots group, One Million Moms for Gun Control, to press for more effective firearms legislation and for what she called “a sensible interpretation of the Second Amendment.”

The group, working with newly formed chapters from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, plans to gather at 9:15 a.m. on Monday at Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn, march across the Brooklyn Bridge at 9:35 a.m. and hold a rally in City Hall Park at 10:30 a.m. Ms. Watts will speak, as will Jackie Rowe-Adams, a founder of Harlem Mothers SAVE, which assists parents whose children have been killed by gun violence.

“The time has come, just like in the 1980s when the time was right for Mothers Against Drunk Driving,” Ms. Watts said. “We need MADD for gun control.”

Ms. Watts, who said she was a corporate public-relations executive for 15 years and has been “a stay-at-home mom” for the last five, started the group with a Facebook page. By Saturday, more than 31,600 Facebook users had “liked” the group.

“There was no focus group testing,” she said. “I came up with the name off the top of my head. I had a feeling that every other mom in America had a similar idea. I just happened to create the page that they found.”

Since then, she said, the group has applied to the Internal Revenue Service for nonprofit tax status and has set up more than 70 chapters. But she said she was determined to use social media to counter the influence of the National Rifle Association and its success in lobbying to loosen or eliminate gun regulations.

“We had a whole tool created so moms can get online and e-mail and tweet their representatives, ‘We demand action now,’” she said. “We see this as very much a long-term effort on the state and federal levels to create stronger gun control laws that will protect our families.”

The group issued a statement on Wednesday applauding President Obama’s proposals to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and to widen background checks for gun buyers. The One Million Moms group also called for regulating and tracking ammunition and for limiting state concealed-weapons laws.

Ms. Watts, in a telephone interview, praised the gun control bill that the New York Legislature approved and that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law on Tuesday. The measure expanded the existing ban on assault weapons and limited magazine clips to 7 rounds of ammunition instead of 10.

She suggested that New York’s success in passing a gun-control bill should serve as an example for Congress. “The fact that Governor Cuomo was able to find common sense and common ground with a Republican-led State Senate shows it can be done,” she said.

She said the Sandy Hook shootings were “the tipping point” in the national dialogue on gun violence.

“When you see 6- and 7-year-old babies shot 11 times in a classroom, a place we consider a safe haven, that’s a tipping point,” she said. “The N.R.A. outlined how they saw the vision of America. That future is everyone is armed and the bad guys shoot it out with the good guys over our children’s heads. That’s not tenable, and it’s not the American way.”

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