This post has been updated
When we first wrote this post in 2015, Kristen and I had each gone to bed distraught, waking up no less unsettled after the news about two mass shootings in San Bernardino and Savannah — the 354th and 355th in the US in 2015 alone.
Today, November 6, 2017, the day after 26 people were murdered in a Texas church, and 36 days after more than 500 people were gunned down in Las Vegas, here we are again.
When these things happen — as they continue to do — we alternate between outrage and grief, wondering just kind of world we are raising our children in right now. Especially when in an average year, more than 17,000 US children a year are injured or killed as a result of guns, and nearly 115,000 Americans as a whole.
As far as we’re concerned, even one is one too many.
While this is not a political site per se, we have never shied away from sharing the causes, concerns and values that are dear to us personally. In fact, our values are what our network was founded on when Kristen and I first got together back in 2006.
And so, after much discussion, we decided we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about unnecessary gun violence today, and what we can do about it.
(Crying Dove image via unicorn baby, created to commemorate the children of Sandy Hook, used with permission.)
We’ve see so so many of our readers on social media sharing feelings of hopelessness, and asking just what can be done — if anything at all. And so we felt it was important to share a few organizations advocating for common sense changes to legislation.
When we say common sense changes, we’re talking about increasing background checks for purchases. Keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and those with a history of domestic abuse. Closing loopholes that currently allow individuals on the terrorist watch list to purchase guns. Looking at insurance for gun owners, and ammo regulation and limits.
And, taking a hard look at why civilians need unfettered access to military-style assault weapons.
We think these measures make good, common sense. A recent Pew Research Center poll about gun laws indicates that a vast majority of Americans support these initiatives as well. It’s not a partisan issue.
Even the AAP is getting involved in a letter to congress, calling firearm-associated death and disability now “a major public health threat to American children.”
So if you’re feeling hopeless, please don’t. Take look at the work of these organizations and find strength in a likeminded community. Not all of them may be right for you to support, but perhaps one is.
Organizations Doing Important Work
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence was started by Sarah Brady and the late James Brady, former press secretary to Ronald Reagan, who was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt on the President. Their aim is to cut US gun deaths in half in the next ten years, with specific campaign initiatives including educating responsible gun owners about safety at home, and holding “bad apple” dealers accountable for sales to straw purchasers and traffickers.
Giffords Courage (formerly Americans for Responsible Solutions) was notoriously founded by Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, retired Navy Captain and astronaut Mark Kelly. They work to reduce gun violence and support lawmakers who support responsible policies through national coalitions made up of an impressive list of veterans, law enforcement officers, faith leaders, educators, parents, and responsible gun owners.
Everytown for Gun Safety is a union of the bipartisan organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns (co-founded by former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino) plus Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a nonpartisan group mobilizing mothers at the community level. They’re a vocal presence on social media (as are @momsdemand) and have had enormous impact in the fight for gun reform in a short period of time.
Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence is a faith-based, interdenominational group supporting specific legislation to increase criminal background checks, eliminate high-capacity weapons, and criminalize gun trafficking on the federal level.
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is a national law center offering legal expertise and pro bono support to protect Second Amendment rights while still enacting for laws that will reduce death and injury from firearms. It was created in response to an assault weapon rampage that killed 8 at a San Francisco law firm in 1993.
MomsRising amplifies mothers’ and family voices on issues that affect families, including working toward common sense gun safety reform through legislation.
The Trace This is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism startup dedicated to shining a light on America’s gun violence crisis. They focus on the communities most impacted, report on possible fixes, and collaborate with other publications, creating content like this interactive map of gun violence.
The US Congress and Senate: This link takes you to the contact info for all federal, state, and local elected officials. These are all individuals who have sworn an oath to represent your interests and you have the right to tell them what those are.
This matters to us
We have military members, hunters and gun owners in our families too. We understand the complexity of the issue. We certainly don’t want to create contention in our comments.
But we care about kids and their wellbeing. Over the years, we’ve discussed everything from crib safety to food safety to car seat safety to ways to eliminate preventable childhood deaths from diseases like polio with vaccinations — for which so many of you showed your amazing support with donations and social shares.
We hope with those same big hearts of yours, you can also consider ways to eliminate preventable firearm deaths in this country.
We know that this is a site that many readers visit as a way to escape the horrible news of the day. Self-preservation is absolutely understandable; if you would rather look at our gift recommendations, play a game of Candy Crush, or binge watch Netflix, then by all means do what you have to do. But we certainly hope you’ll get back to fighting for a safer world for us all when you’re ready.
Thanks for understanding our need to share this today.
-Kristen + Liz