How to Take Aim at Gun Violence

By Steve Tanner
Photo by David Moriya/Rogue Photo 

When the random massacre of dozens of concert-goers isn’t enough to prompt change in our nation’s porous gun laws, feeling powerless is understandable. But it’s simply not acceptable, particularly when you consider that more than half of all Americans support stricter gun laws, according to a recent Pew Research report. Another recently conducted Pew survey found that supporters of stricter gun laws are less likely to contact elected officials than gun owners, which means there’s still plenty of work to be done. 

Simply stated, we are not powerless. In addition to calling your state and federal representatives, you can check out the following list of prominent gun control advocacy organizations and get involved.   

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Moms Demand Action was founded by Shannon Watts, a concerned stay-at-home mother, in late 2012 in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Current campaigns include the following:

  • Educators Demand Action  a campaign opposing the gun lobby’s attempt at putting guns in schools and on college campuses
  • Pressure to implement background checks on all gun sales in Nevada
  • Opposition to the SHARE Act, a broad piece of federal legislation that would, among other provisions, legalize silencers, protect the use of lead ammunition by hunters, and open up more federal lands to hunting.
  • Opposition to the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would force all states to recognize concealed carry weapon permits from other states.

How to get involved:

Everytown for Gun Safety

Everytown was founded in 2014, combining Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action (see above) into a single organization. The group is co-chaired by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Current campaigns include the following (keep in mind that Everytown and Moms Demand Action work in concert with one another):

  • Pressure to implement universal background checks at the federal level
  • Phone drives to call federal Representatives and Senators about opposing the SHARE Act and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act

How to get involved:

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence 

First founded in 1974 as the National Council to Control Handguns, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence was renamed in 2001. James Brady, a cabinet member who was seriously injured during an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, led the organization from 1989 to 2012.

Current campaigns include the following:

How to get involved:

  • Call elected representatives, sign/organize petitions, volunteer at local Brady Campaign chapters
  • Donate to the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project

Violence Policy Center

Founded in 1988 by Newtown, Connecticut native Josh Sugarmann, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) employs research, education, advocacy, and collaboration with other organizations committed to curbing gun violence. 

The VPC suggests the five following ways concerned individuals can do to stop gun violence:

  1. Contact your federal and state lawmakers (directory at OpenStates.org and the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121) and voice your opposition to federal and state legislation that further erodes gun protections.
  2. Make a contribution to the Violence Policy Center. Or, create your own online fundraiser. Visit the Violence Policy Center’s pages on the crowdfunding sites Crowdrise and Razoo.
  3. Join a local gun violence prevention organization. Visit States United to Prevent Gun Violence, the national umbrella organization for state gun violence prevention organizations to find a group in your state.
  4. Write a letter to the editor in your local paper in support of gun violence prevention, or use social media. Visit the VPC’s Twitter feed or their Facebook page for tweets and postings detailing the facts about gun violence, as well as effective solutions.
  5. Host an evening of information and action to educate your friends and community about gun violence.

National Gun Victims Action Council

Elliot Fineman founded the National Gun Victims Action Council (NGVAC) in 2006 after his only son, Michael, was fatally shot by a mentally-ill man who, despite having been institutionalized twice, was legally able to buy the gun. One of the organization’s campaigns successfully convinced Starbucks to change its gun policy.

Current campaigns and initiatives include the following:

  • Sign a petition urging the President to declare the gun violence epidemic a National State of Emergency.
  • Check out the NGVAC’s Corporate Hypocrite of the Month and take appropriate action (boycotts, protests, letters, etc.).
  • Sign the Tell and Compel Pledge, which tells legislators you want strong, sane gun laws and pledge to withhold all financial support from corporations and states that do not support these protections.
  • Sign up to receive email updates from NGVAC.
  • Make a donation.

Remember, those who want saner gun protections such as universal background checks and bans on certain types of weapons are in the majority. Let’s use our voices accordingly.

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Steve Tanner worked as a journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 10 years, covering technology, business, and the culture of Silicon Valley, before pursuing a paralegal certification. He currently writes about the law for FindLaw.com and lives with his family in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Photo of protesters outside of NRA headquarters in July 2017 by David Moriya of Rogue Photo.  

Copyright © 500 Pens. October 2017.