A Mom on a Mission to Reform Gun Laws
Shannon Watts is determined to use the power of her one voice to save the lives of millions of others. As the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, Shannon is fighting to change laws and change minds. No matter where you stand on the issue of gun reform, it’s worth taking one moment to hear what she has to say. She shared her perspective this week with Maria Shriver and The Sunday Paper below.
1. When you learned about the horrible tragedy in Las Vegas, what was your initial response? What action have you taken in the days since?
I was absolutely heartbroken for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting and for their families who are now enduring unimaginable grief. But I want to be clear about something: we don’t have to live this way. There are actionable steps we are taking right now to oppose dangerous and irresponsible legislation like the Republican-sponsored bills to legalize silencers, as part of the “SHARE Act” and to reduce concealed carry standards across the country as part of “Concealed Carry Reciprocity.”
We are calling on lawmakers to vote in favor of improving our nation’s gun laws at the state and federal levels, and rest assured, our network of 4 million supporters and 60,000 volunteers will be holding those elected officials accountable for their votes in upcoming elections.
2. Why are you so devoted to this issue? What is your biggest priority today in putting an end to gun violence?
As a nation, we are leaders of the free world economically, militarily, and socially – and yet, Americans are 25x more likely to be murdered by a gun than people in other developed nations. I am sick and tired of the unchecked gun lobby using fear-mongering and race-baiting tactics to increase their profits – at the expense of American lives – all under the guise of protecting the second amendment. No American should have to face the threat of gun violence in a school, church, or at an outdoor concert. No American should have to face the threat of gun violence, period. The American people deserve better. It’s time to defeat the NRA’s reckless policies and call on our leaders to implement gun safety laws the American people support and deserve.
3. For people who want to help, what do you recommend that they do starting today?
Let’s start talking about the issue of gun violence more openly and urgently. While so many lawmakers are beholden to the gun lobby’s dangerous agenda of guns everywhere, no questions asked, the American people are not. We urge citizens to call their members of Congress, join us in rejecting the NRA’s radical agenda by texting ‘REJECT’ to 644-33, and support commonsense gun laws that will save lives.
93 Americans are shot and killed every day and Monday’s events in Las Vegas marks the eighth mass shooting in 2017 and the 164th mass shooting since January 1, 2009. The bottom line is that we the people have the power to change the status quo. I urge you not to sit on the sidelines – there is a place for you in this movement.
For more about Shannon’s organization, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, go here.