Taking Action Against Gun Violence: I Attended a 'Moms Demand Action' Meeting

This past weekend, I went with my mom to the first meeting of our county chapter of “Moms Demand Action." Obviously, I’m no mom. But I went to go hear what the Moms do and to learn more about guns and gun laws in our country. One of the moms who leads the chapter, Felice Ockun, said that she first joined Moms in 2014 following the Sandy Hook shooting. Since the Parkland shooting, Moms has gained 75,000 new members. The meeting I attended had a pretty good turn out and a wide array of moms. Some of those with newborns and others with children in college, even a couple of dads were in attendance, and then there was me. Brett Sabo, the New Jersey state chapter leader, led off the meeting with a PowerPoint to educate us. 

I’d like to share a few things I took away from the meeting:

It’s not about getting rid of guns; it’s about being “armed with the facts.”

The majority of the meeting was informative. I, personally, didn’t know much prior to the meeting about the history and current gun legislation. The Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, and other advocacy organizations for gun safety aren’t proposing to get rid of guns entirely. Rather, they want to make our country a safer place and make guns more difficult to purchase.

While I’m from New Jersey, which is the third hardest state to get a gun in, there are clearly many other states that have very relaxed gun laws. We all know that southern states are very much okay with guns, to the point where you can walk around with a gun on your belt and no one will shudder. But, did you know that, in Vermont, a 16 year old can buy a gun? And people can buy a gun in Pennsylvania from a “private” seller without a background check. This is not okay! A huge point that Moms emphasized in the meeting was the need for background checks. Someone that buys a gun from a private seller without a background check can then bring their gun into a state where they would have had a much harder time getting their hands on a gun. 

This is not a bipartisan issue. This is not an NRA issue. This is a gun safety issue.

The thing about any issue that has to do with lawmaking is that it always somehow goes back to people’s party affiliation. Gun safety is not just a “Democrat” problem. This issue goes past party lines. The whole purpose of this is for all people in America to come together to make a change. It has nothing to do with one party over the other. While people that are very pro-gun are typically considered Republican, their safety is in as much danger as anyone else’s.

In the case of Moms, they work to unify mothers that are advocating for the safety of their children. Schools have become a hotspot for gun violence and these mothers have bravely taken it upon themselves to demand for action to be taken to insure the safety of their children. While I’m not a mom, I’m advocating for my own personal safety and the safety of this nation as a whole. 

Gun reciprocity.

A really powerful idea that Moms really advocates for is gun reciprocity. Living in New Jersey, you would think it not as necessary to become an activist on this subject when its one of the toughest states to purchase a gun in. Gun reciprocity is the idea that citizens in states like New Jersey are asking for even tougher gun laws in order to model for those states neighboring with weak gun laws. In particular this refers to Pennsylvania.

For those Muhlenberg students reading this, this has an effect on you! We are a very small and closed campus college, not far from a very urban area. That’s why gun reciprocity and joining advocacy organizations is so imperative. If we advocate for tougher gun laws, it could spark a demand in those in states with weak laws to improve them. 

I’m a member of the Moms Demand Action chapter in my County and a member of Students Demand Action. I’ve RSVP’d to join the march in downtown Allentown on Saturday, March 24th. For more information or to join the movement, check out the links below.