Several months have passed since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and, like many parents, I am reminded of those events nearly every day when I drop off my children at school.
While there is a clear need for improved mental health services and reduced access to violent media, my efforts are focused first and foremost on supporting gun control legislation. In full disclosure, this is not a decision that I have reached without careful consideration. I grew up on ranch in rural Colorado, and appreciate that guns are a part of life for many American families. In my experience, the majority of gun owners are law-abiding citizens who can be trusted with this responsibility. Although I do not feel the need to keep guns in my own home for self-protection, I respect the rights of those who do.
That being said, I am appalled by efforts of the gun lobby to block any and all gun control legislation. The rights of our children to be safe from harm in schools, malls, grocery stores and movie theaters must come before the “right” to own assault-style weapons that can inflict incredible damage within a matter of seconds.
I recently joined a new grassroots organization called One Million Moms for Gun Control started by an Indiana mother of five, Shannon Watts, in response to the Sandy Hook mass shooting. In a short period of time, the organization has expanded to 75 regional chapters with more than 55,000 supporters. We are asking our elected officials to:
* Ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds;
* Require background checks for all gun purchasers;
* Report the sale of large quantities of ammunition to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and
* Limit the scope of concealed weapons laws at the state level.
If you agree with these common-sense approaches to reducing gun violence, I urge you to join One Million Moms for Gun Control (dads, grandparents, and friends are welcome, too!), sign their petitions, email your elected officials in support of gun legislation, and perhaps most importantly, encourage others to do the same. Visit Onemillionmomforguncontrol.org.