If you feel powerless in stopping mass shootings, here is something you can do to get started now
After this past weekend’s pair of horrifying mass shootings, many Americans are currently feeling helpless, terrified, and wanting to take action. The problem is, they don’t know how.
Enter Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, “a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence,” with an urgent directive to get people going on demanding changes to our nation’s current (weak) gun laws.
Watts tweeted Saturday night after the deadly shooting at an El Paso Walmart that left 20 people dead and dozens more injured. Her message was simple — she shared a way to get directly connected to your state’s Senators so you can tell them you want them to act on gun background checks.
TAKE ACTION: The House of Representatives passed a bill to require background checks on all gun sales. Now, the Senate must act.
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) August 3, 2019
“TAKE ACTION: The House of Representatives passed a bill to require background checks on all gun sales,” she writes. “Now, the Senate must act. In honor of El Paso, text CHECKS to 644-33 to be connected with your Senators and tell them to act on background checks.”
Earlier this year, the Democratic-led House of Representatives passed more than one background check bill. The problem? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky won’t allow the Senate to vote on any of the bills.
That’s why Watts’ call to action is such a crucial one: it’s going to take a Senate vote for anything meaningful to happen in changing our background check laws. And as long as McConnell refuses to vote on anything the House passes when it comes to background checks, more deadly shootings will occur.
And while texting your Senators is a great start, Moms Demand has members on the ground, marching in Washington to demand better gun laws. The group was already in the city over the weekend for their Gun Sense University leadership training conference and decided to use their voices in response to the mass shooting in El Paso.
Amber Gustafson, a representative from Moms Demand Action, told The Washington Post about the group hearing news of the El Paso shooting during their conference and how “the tenor and tone of the whole room changed.” That’s when they decided to march.
— Ike Ejiochi (@IkeEjiochi) August 4, 2019
For their part, some politicians are speaking out for change and calling out McConnell specifically as the person who can actually do something.
El Paso, Dayton, one awful event after another. @SenateMajLdr McConnell must call the Senate back for an emergency session to put the House-passed universal background checks legislation on the Senate floor for debate and a vote immediately.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 4, 2019
Make no mistake, tomorrow the @NRA will go back to doing the dirty work of gun manufacturers and blocking progress at every turn. @SenateMajLdr must call us back into session to vote on the two background check bills that have already passed the House. pic.twitter.com/uaEmrdMRbY
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 5, 2019
This is a national crisis. Mitch McConnell needs to bring the Senate back from recess right now and hold votes on legislation to protect Americans from gun violence. Enough. We need to end this carnage now.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) August 4, 2019
They’re also asking people to contribute to causes that will result in action, including Moms Demand.
Thoughts and prayers aren't enough — we need action. Split a contribution today between @GiffordsCourage, @bradybuzz, and @MomsDemand who are actively working to end this public health emergency. https://t.co/khTUfYFsWD
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 4, 2019
This past weekend drove up the total number of 2019 mass shootings in America to 251. The year is only 217 days old. We have far more shootings this year than days in this year and the year is not even nearly over. No one should be ok with this — no one should accept feeling anxiety and panic in public spaces and being nervous to send their children to school. None of this is ok and unless we all scream and shout at the top of our lungs, exactly nothing will change. Texting that number and connecting to your senators is only the start — but it’s an incredibly meaningful start. When it’s become clear that our politicians aren’t getting it done, it’s time for citizens to speak out until we can live our lives without mapping exit strategies in every public place we go.
Because the biggest tragedy of all, is that we can prevent this. We can prevent all of this. We literally don’t have to live this way and joining Moms Demand is how you can make a difference.