It's sad the number of times that we've all sat in front of the TV watching the aftermath of the mass shooting de jour. My heart is broken after the events in Las Vegas earlier this week, just as it was after Orlando, Charleston, Newtown or one of the other over 1,500 shootings in the past 5 years. I don't want to live in a world where that's the norm, and I sure as heck don't want my son to grow up in a world where I'm afraid to take him to a concert, the mall and even school. And it's not just about mass shootings, it's gun safety in general - suicides, domestic violence and accidental injuries can all be reduced with common sense gun laws. I'm not talking about taking everybody's guns away, but I am talking about back-ground checks, I'm talking about keeping guns out of schools, I'm talking about gun reform and gun sense. Even though 93% of voters want to see universal background checks, the NRA has deep pockets and done all they can to prevent passage of virtually any common sense law. Keep reading to see how you can do your part to prevent another tragedy.
1 - DONATE TO A GUN REFORM (GVP) GROUP
Gun reform groups are working hard. They need your help.
Here are a few groups that are doing good work:
- The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence
- States United To Prevent Gun Violence -
- SUPGV is an umbrella organization for many statespecific organizations doing amazing work. Donate to them directly or find one of their State chapters and donate to the state chapter where you live.
- Coalition to Stop Gun Violence - CSGV
- Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
- Americans for Responsible Solutions - Gabby Giffords Organization
Bonus ! Make sure you sign up for Amazon Smile so that a portion of every purchase you make goes to the GVP organization you support!
2 - CALL YOUR MEMBER OF CONGRESS
After meeting directly with your representative in person, making a phone call is the single most effective thing that you can do today.
Find out who represents you in Congress by clicking here.
Once you call, let them know that you are a constituent, that you vote for candidates that make gun reform a priority and that you expect to see them take strong action on common sense gun reforms like Universal Background Checks.
3 - WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR LOCAL PAPER
It is easy. Find your local paper, learn how to send a "letter to the editor", and then send it.
Here is a good article on how to write a great LTE.
4 - FACEBOOK YOUR REPRESENTATIVES
Find your representative on facebook and send them a message. It is easy.
For example: Dear Representative, I am your constituent and I vote. I am horrified about the gun violence epidemic in America and want action now. Specifically I want to see legislation supporting Universal Background Checks on all gun sales.
5 - TWEET YOUR REPRESENTATIVES
Find your representative on twitter and send them a tweet. It is easy.
Don't know how to find their twitter name? Click here.
For example: "Dear @POTUS enough gun violence in America ! We need Universal Background Checks now ! #GunSense"
6 - LEARN MORE ABOUT THE GUN ISSUE IN AMERICA
The NRA has a ton of money and they have spent decades spending that money setting the terms of the discussion and the debate in America. It is not hard, however, to learn the facts about gun violence and gun ownership in America and what you can do to stop it.
Here are some helpful resources:
- The Brady Campaign on background checks.
- The Gun Violence Archive
- Armed With Reason
- Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America
- The Trace
7 - JOIN A LOCAL GUN REFORM GROUP
There are national groups with local chapters and there are state specific groups that you can join. Or you can join both.
Get involved! Meet people like yourself that are interested in this issue.
National groups with local chapters:
- The Brady Campaign. Click here to find a local chapter.
- Moms Demand Action. Click here to find a local chapter.
Local Groups at the state level:
- States United to Prevent Gun Violence in America. Click here to find a local state chapter.
8 - JOIN A LOCAL GUN REFORM EVENT
Don't want to join a group or donate? Want to get your feet wet and meet people involved? Then find a local event that you feel comfortable participating in.
All the major groups have local chapters, or you can find a state group. See number 7 for links!
For example, if you are in DC area there is a monthly event at the NRA Headquarters. You can find out more here.
9 - ASK
ASK, "IS THERE A GUN IN THE HOME WHERE MY CHILD PLAYS?"
ASK = Asking Saves Kids
When you visit a friend's home you ask about pool covers and let them know about known allergies, right?
Now, make sure that you ask if there is a gun in the home. If there is, ask if it is locked away from the kids and if the ammo is kept in a separate place.
More on this important and life saving program at the ASK website.
10 - DONATE TO POLITICIANS, WHO ADVOCATE FOR COMMONSENSE GUN REFORMS
Guess what? Politicians care about two things: 1) votes and 2) money. Make sure you donate to those candidates that support common sense gun reforms and let them know why you are giving them money. Donate at every level. Federal, State and Local.
Any amount can have an impact. Seriously.
11 A - CONTACT YOUR STATE AND LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES
After you have figured out who your Federal reps are, take a moment to learn who represents you at the state level. Just like at the Federal level, you will have a state representative and a state senator.
- Find out who they are. Use this website to help.
- Call them up and let them know you are a constituent, that you expect strong gun reforms to protect American lives, that you vote and that you expect action.
- Email them.
- Post to their facebook page.
- Tweet to them!
11 B - LEARN ABOUT FEDERAL GUN LAWS
Gun rights advocates spend all day on one issue: guns. They have a talking point that goes something like this: "Gun control laws? We don't need any NEW laws, we just need to enforce all the laws that we already have on the books!"
You better bet that they know every single law that is on the books, better than most law enforcement officers (sometimes).
Here are some resources:
12 - LEARN ABOUT STATE GUN LAWS
Just like we stated in #11 above, Gun folks love to know the law and each state has their own very specific gun laws. Depending on the state you live in, it is important to understand the local laws that impact the sale and use of guns.
- The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has a great state database as well.
13 - IF YOU HAVE GUNS IN THE HOME, LEARN ABOUT PREVENTING CHILD ACCESS TO GUNS IN THE HOME
Did you know that more than two million American children live in homes with unsecured guns? It’s a fact that should concern every single parent—especially because, according to a recent report from Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety, at least 100 children were killed in unintentional shootings between December 2012 and December 2013. Learn more from Moms Demand Action here.
14 - BE SMART
S Secure guns in homes and vehicles.
M Model responsible behavior.
A Ask about unsecured guns in other homes.
R Recognize the risks of teen suicide.
T Tell your peers to be SMART.
15 - ASK YOUR LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS ABOUT THEIR GUN POLICIES AND DEMAND THAT THEY PUBLISH THEM
It is important for your local community organizations to have a gun policy. Ask your local:
- Faith communities
- Public spaces
16 - JOIN A CAMPAIGN TO GET COMPANIES TO BAN GUNS IN THEIR STORES
Join a campaign to encourage corporations to ban the civilian carry of guns in stores. For example, Moms Demand Action is working on getting Kroger to stop allowing guns in their stores.
Campaign page here.
17 - JOIN A LOCAL VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE
What did we say politicians really care about ? 1) Votes and 2) Money.
What do only 30 % of Americans do in off year (non presidential election) elections?
Join an organization that works to register voters who care about gun reform.
18 - REGISTER TO VOTE AND THEN VOTE, REALLY VOTE!
The NRA has 5 million members and when the NRA tells them who to vote for guess who the members for vote?
NRA sponsored and NRA rated candidates.
The NRA has the power to go to politicians and give them what they want. 1) Money and 2) votes.
Make sure you register to vote !
- US Government website on voting
19 - HOLD A PUBLIC VIGIL FOR GUN VIOLENCE VICTIMS
Heartfelt and public displays of grief for the victims and their families are important. When the next (and there will be a next) horrific gun murder occurs in your community volunteer to organize or be part of a public vigil.
20 - POST INFORMATION AND FACTS ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA SO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY CAN LEARN MORE
Don't go all facebook crazy about gun reform, but do spend some time spreading the new found knowledge that you have now that you KNOW THE FACTS ! Everytown has a great learning center here.
- Did you know that 88 people die every day from guns in America?
- Did you know that 33,000 people die every year because of guns?
- Did know know that 2/3 of those 33,000 are people who kill themselves? And that suicide via a gun is almost 100% effective?
- Did you know that the NRA stopped all federal research into gun violence at the CDC?
21 - BLOCK THE GUN "TROLLS" ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Block, report, ban -- do whatever it takes so that you don't waste your precious time attempting to "reason" with gun nuts who believe things like the murder of 26 at Sandy Hook was a "false flag" operation by the Obama administration designed to allow the government to confiscate guns from Americans.
Don't spend a second with them.
22 - VOLUNTEER FOR POLITICIANS THAT SUPPORT GUN REFORMS
Not a big wig with a ton of money?
Volunteer for the candidate(s) that believe what you believe in.
Know what? You can actually get to meet the candidate (over pizza) and talk to them, 1 on 1, about your views on guns.
They will listen.
23 - SPEAK AT YOUR HOUSE OF WORSHIP OR COMMUNITY GROUP ABOUT GUN REFORM
Offer to speak to your community. Start a conversation.
24 - BUY SOME AWESOME GUN REFORM "WEAR" AND SHOW IT OFF AT COMMUNITY EVENTS
There are some great shirts you can buy now from some of the organizations listed at the top of the page. I personally love my "Wear Orange" from Everytown.
PS: Don't forget to take a change of clothes if you are met with hostile crowds of gun nuts.
25 - READ A GOOD BOOK ABOUT GUNS AND THEN SUGGEST THAT YOUR BOOK CLUB READ IT
Got any good ideas? Buy a book, read it, get your book club to discuss it. Take action.
I would suggest any book by Mike Weisser. Click here to find some at Amazon.com !
26 - REGISTER FOR THE BRADY ANNUAL GUN PREVENTION SUMMIT IN DC
Check out the Brady website for the latest on this event.
27 - TELL CABELA’S: #NOCHECKNOSALE
Via Moms Demand Action:
An NRA-backed amendment to the 1993 Brady Bill created a loophole that—over the last five years—has allowed more than 15,000 gun sales to dangerous people because a background check could not be completed within the three-day period required by the law. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently revealed that the Charleston shooter obtained a gun despite an incomplete background check due to this loophole in the law.
Some retailers, like Wal-Mart, have instituted policies to prohibit the sale of a gun to a customer who hasn’t actually passed a completed background check. We are calling on gun retailers–starting with Cabela’s–to put public safety first. More than 100,000 have already called on Cabela’s to adopt a NoCheck, NoSale policy. Make sure Cabela’s gets the message: sign our petition today.
28 - PLEDGE TO SUPPORT ONLY CANDIDATES WHO WILL FIGHT TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE
The responsibility of enacting common-sense gun laws in the United States lies with us all.
Most Americans care about the issue of gun violence. We are deeply affected by the coverage of gun-related tragedies we see in the media, and by the tragedies that strike closer to home, affecting acquaintances, friends, and even family.
But how many of us are making the issue of gun reform a priority when we head to the polls to cast votes for candidates for elected office?
How many of us have voted for a candidate who was good on many of the issues that matter to us, but terrible on guns? And yet we gave him/her a free pass.
No more. With 32,000+ Americans dying each and every year from gun violence, there can be no more free passes.
Gun reform is in our hands. View the PSAs below and then sign the pledge on the making it clear you will support only candidates who will fight to reduce gun violence.
30 - SIGN THE PETITION FOR SAFE GUN STORAGE
At least 1.5 million children in the U.S. are living in homes with unlocked and loaded guns. Every day at least 6 children under 18 are injured in an unintentional shooting and every three days a child dies.
This is unacceptable.
Safe storage laws intended to make firearms less accessible to young children and teenagers prevent unintentional shooting deaths as well as teen suicides. Yet only 28 states have child access prevention laws. Some are so weak they merely prohibit an adult from directly providing a firearm to a minor.
Sign the petition to ask for action on this issue.
31 - ON CAMPUS? JOIN THE CAMPAIGN TO KEEP GUNS OFF CAMPUS
About: A national campaign to ensure that college campuses remain a place to learn rather than a place to be shot.
32 - SHOP WITH AMAZON? MAKE SURE THAT YOU SIGN UP FOR AMAZON SMILE AND DONATE TO A GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION (GVP) ORGANIZATION
What: Learn more about Amazon smile here and sign up your favorite GVP org !
33 - JOIN ONE OF THE NEW GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE SHAKING THINGS UP
What: There are a number of new groups that have sprung up in recent years that are more aggressive than traditional GVP organizations. If you are interested in some serious protesting, try some of these groups.
- The Betsy Riot: From their website...
1. a diversity-embracing, body-positive, sex-positive, historically aware person who has fucking had enough of gun culture and the death and terror it inflicts on America
2. a nonviolent act of civil disobedience against guns
Gays Against Guns: "Gays Against Guns NY is an inclusive group of LGBTQ people and their allies committed to nonviolently breaking the gun industry's chain of death--investors, manufacturers, the NRA and other lobby groups, and their puppets in Congress that block good gun laws."
Cocks Not Glocks: "Guns in classrooms are just as appropriate as dildos in classrooms. The normalization of gun culture has put too many guns in too many poorly trained hands in our public spaces. We're here to show you how ridiculous it would look if everyone in society "carried" something."
One Pulse for America: "Founded by acclaimed actor and LGBTQ rights activist George Takei in response to the mass shooting at The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016, One Pulse For America is an online community dedicated to closing the "Passion Gap" with pro-gun activists by encouraging gun violence prevention advocates to take action on a daily basis. We use social media to bring strategic pressure on legislators and other decision-makers by amplifying support for gun violence prevention efforts at the national, state and local level. Our goal is to change social norms surrounding guns in the United States and obtain life-saving reforms that will end America's epidemic of gun violence."
Guns Down America: "Guns Down is a bolder, broader movement calling for dramatically fewer guns in America, and for making them dramatically harder to get. We aim to provide Americans with information and advocacy tools to build support for limiting the availability of guns in America though social media and on-the-ground activism. This is a broader, more inclusive coalition that will bring in activists from the LGBT community, people of color, millennials, immigrants, and others to solve our nation's gun crisis."
Sharing the hard work I found here.