Lordy, there are so many facets to this gem of an issue. It’s hard to know where to start.
As Congress works to expand gun rights, many states are doing the heavy lifting of challenging the power of the NRA and putting in place some sensible restrictions to limit gun violence. Today’s Seattle Times editorial discusses what police should do with guns they have confiscated: sell them to raise funds for their departments, or melt them down. (Melt them down, IMHO!). Meanwhile, I want to share some links to the major national organizations that are advocating for restrictions on sales of guns, then make note of bills that are still active nationally or in the Washington legislature this session.
National organizations fighting gun violence are finding that their efforts are paying off at the state level despite frustrations on the national level. More than one of these could use some professional advice on designing websites. It’s still worth clicking these links to learn about the different ways they focus their efforts. Many groups have a non-political “education” arm (501.c.3) and a political action committee (501.c.4) explicitly for lobbying purposes. Follow them on social media, make some contributions, and try to get alerts on national and local legislation so you can contact your electeds in a timely manner.
Originally called Americans for Responsible Solutions, this is the organization started by Gabby Giffords (herself a victim of gun violence) and astronaut/husband Mark Kelly following the Sandy Hook debacle. I love its website with its links to information about a variety of issues plus a thorough description of laws for each state.
Everytown for Gun Safety
You might be familiar with Everytown’s Moms Demand Action army, their door-to-door campaigners for action at the state level across the nation. They also have a good website with some inspiring videos.
Newtown Action Alliance
I have two problems with the Newtown Action Alliance. First, I don’t love their website; second, I tear up every time I go to it. I’m still not over the Sandy Hook shootings. I ended my teaching career in first grade with kids who loved coming to school each day just as I loved welcoming them each morning. The news of a gunman massacring first graders has just stayed with me in a way that other mass killings have not. Still Newtown, which focuses a lot of its work on helping victims of gun violence is awesome.
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
Some of us are old enough to remember when Jim Brady was badly injured in the attempt to assassinate Ronald Reagan in the ’80s. The Brady Campaign is perhaps the oldest of the various national groups focused on gun violence. They support lawsuits against manufacturers and dealers of firearms with some success.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
CSGV is the brains behind the Gun Violence Restraining Order, a form of which has been passed in all three west coast states. The organization gathers research to support specific legislative efforts including suicide prevention, assault weapons bans, and gun use in domestic violence cases. This past year they have lobbied aggressively against the national concealed carry reciprocity law which has passed the House but is stalled in the Senate (let’s keep it that way).
Two other entities that are not lobbying organizations compile data on gun violence (VPC) and campaign contributions tallied by issues (Open Secrets). On the Violence Policy Center website, you’ll find links to a variety of interesting research reports. Open Secrets enables you to study spending by PACs and SuperPACs on issues, by election cycles, and by recipient.
I’ll be back soon with information on some specific bills at the national and state level. I read about another school shooting today, and I continue to be mystified by our ability to hear such news and go on to the next bit of news about new types of gardening gadgets or some such thing. How can this be?