Gun control: Are you one of the 'Million' Moms?
It hit me today hard when I heard the news of the shooting death of 15-year-old majorette Hadiya Pendleton. Just last week she was performing at the inauguration. Today, she's a casualty of gun violence; her death, in a park just a mile from President Obama's home in Chicago, was apparently random. She had no history of affiliation with gangs. (And we have to say that, which makes me sad, too.)
Sometimes it seems insensible: that stricter gun control laws have not been put into practice before now. One more repeat of "but criminals will get guns anyway!" and I'll throw something at the radio; according to experts I've heard tell, it's all about economics. If you make it hard enough (read: expensive enough) for criminals to obtain guns, gun violence will fall like a stone.
What can we do?
In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, a new group has sprung up: “Million Moms for Gun Control”. Million Moms just marched on Washington D.C. last Saturday to ask for reasonable updates to gun policy. The local Portland chapter is planning a family friendly rally on Feb. 9, 10 a.m. at City Hall. Information about the event and other ways you can help is on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OneMillionMomsForGunControlPortland
Ceasefire Oregon is another local group working to reduce access to guns. Ceasefire organizes gun turn-in events once or twice a year and they promote the ASK (Asking Saves Kids) campaign. ASK encourages parents to ask if there are firearms where their children play. On the legislative front, Ceasefire Oregon is planning a rally at the state Capitol on March 12 to ask for tighter gun laws*.
At the recent Family Forward Oregon discussion on gun violence, Sen. Ginny Burdick and Rep. Alyssa Keny-Guyer said 95% of the calls they get on this issue are pro-gun and they need to hear more from people who support gun safety if any of these laws are going to get considered. They said it is really important to call or email the Governor (503-378-3111), Senate President Peter Courtney, Speaker of the House Tina Kotek, and your legislators to let them know you support tighter gun safety laws.
The pro-gun groups will be having a rally at the Capitol every Thursday throughout the legislative session. Our lawmakers should hear from other voices, too: how can we address this more sensibly?
* Ceasefire Oregon's legislative agenda includes: ban assault weapons (similar to Sen. Feinstein's federal bill); ban ammunition magazines that hold more than ten bullets; prohibit concealed handguns in Oregon public schools K -12; require universal background checks; and hold gun owners responsible if minors access their weapons without parental permission.